After the excitement of the US Open, where home favourite Brooks Koepka became the seventh consecutive first time major winner, attention now switches to the build up to the Open Championship, or British Open as it is commonly known, at Royal Birkdale. With Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson having created one of the best sporting moments of 2016 last time around, it promises to be yet another showstopper in England, with the tournament often producing shocks and incredible shot-making in equal measure.
Royal Birkdale will host its tenth British Open this year, and for the first time since back in 2008, when Padraig Harrington won his second Open Championship. The course features some of the smallest fairways around, along with vast sand dunes around the greens, meaning that accuracy off the tee is a must. With a par of 70, the 7,156-yard venue is certain to test the abilities of the world’s finest players, with scores expected to be much closer to par than at the US Open last week.
After the some of the world’s leading names, including Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, all struggled at the US Open, we may well see a backlash at Royal Birkdale, with McIlroy especially in need of a good performance. Having dominated at the back end of 2016, as well as winning the US Open last year, Johnson is unsurprisingly being well-backed, with his game seemingly well suited to the course in England.
However, a whole host of European contenders will look to overcome the rest of the field, including defending champion Stenson, along with the likes of Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey. Elsewhere, having risen to number two in the world rankings, Japanese youngster Hideki Matsuyama will look to win his first major, having finished as runner up to Koepka at the US Open.
Top Betting Tips
After his US Open win, Koepka can be backed at 25/1 to make it consecutive major wins at Ladbrokes, with compatriot, and world number one, Dustin Johnson, as short as 8/1 with the same bookmakers. However, for those predicting an eight-consecutive first-time major winner, the likes of Thomas Pieters, Rickie Fowler and Paul Casey may well be worth a look, with the trio backed at 33/1, 18/1 and 40/1 respectively at major bookmakers Betway. Meanwhile, for punters backing Rory McIlroy to produce a fantastic comeback, William Hill have the Northern Irishman as the 9/1 joint favourite, alongside Johnson.