After picking Lucal Glover for the US Open, I thought it only fair that this time I put my neck on the line and publish my picks for this week's Open Championship.
The winner should be Tiger. Sorry. But he's unbackable at 12/5. On Paddy Power the second favourite is 22-1 so if you can pick a winner that's not named Eldrick than you're on to a good one.
As I always do, I'll go with five. If one of them comes in, mine’s a Guinness.
First up at Turnberry, the weather is King. This is a micro-climate given it’s proximity to the sea so there’s little point in checking area forecasts. For the record, local folklore is that the wind is at it’s highest when the tide is too so for calm conditions (I’ve looked this up) you want to be on course from apx. 9:30-2:30 each day. The wind should be more calm on Thursday, so I’m focussing on players who will get the best of things on the Friday, which will be key this week.
Padraig Harrington, David Duval, Kenny Perry, Soren Hansen, Paul McGinley, Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan are all among the players who fall into this category. On the Thursday, there’s Tiger Woods, Robert Rock, Camilo Villegas, McDowell, Sean O’Hair.
These players have a huge advantage – in the recent US Open, 12 of the top 13 finishers were lucky enough to be given a nice draw and were out on the calmest day, Friday.
You can make cases for so many of these...
Hunter Mahan: hasn’t missed a cut all year, is striking the ball well.
Padraig Harrington: two-time defending champion is quietly confident having returned to form in recent weeks.
Sean O’Hair: 6 top tens in 15 starts.
Greame McDowell: Grew up on a links course.
Camilo Villegas: one day he will win a major. I’m not sure that’s this weekend.
David Duval: He can putt, he’s won this before, and Bethpage gave him confidence.
Soren Hansen: 3 top 10’s in his last four outings.
Rory McIlroy: a future star.
I’m going to go with the following (quoting Betfair prices)
Hunter Mahan @ 34
Graeme McDowell @ 85
Soren Hansen @ 140
David Duval @ 150
Padraig Harrington @46
I’ll also pick one more, extra long-shot special (now known as the Lucas Glover award)
Paul McGinley @ 510
Best of luck. Tips are given for free, but taken at your own risk.