Top Contenders and Open Championship Analysis

The Open Championship gets underway Thursday at Scotland’s Royal Troon with the best golfers in the world competing for the Claret Jug.

Some background on the course:

  • Each of the last six editions of the British Open at Troon have been won by an American golfer.
  • The course has taken a lot of rain this year, and more is expected in the coming days, meaning a soft surface with few bounces.
  • Todd Hamilton, an impossible longshot, beat Ernie Els in a playoff when the Championship was last at Troon in 2004.

Let’s look at some of the top contenders this year and find some value.


2016 Open Championship Favorites

Dustin Johnson: 8/1

U.S. Open winner Dustin Johnson had come very close at majors prior to finally capturing his first title last month. His ball striking was breathtaking, and he backed up the win at Oakmont with a victory at the WGC-Bridgestone. Four of his seven British Open appearances have resulted in top-15 finishes, including a runner up in 2011. His big-hitting game is nicely suited to links-style golf.

Jason Day: 8/1

Number one in the world by a significant margin, Day has been incredibly consistent this year. His third-place finish at Bridgestone was the fourth top-ten in his last five tournaments. He has a tour-leading three wins this season, and has been in the top-ten in five straight majors. But his British Open results aren’t great. Last year was his first competitive finish in five tries, when he came fourth.

Rory McIlroy: 19/2

Winner of the Open Championship two years ago, McIlroy missed last year’s tournament with an injury. Like Day, he hasn’t been particularly good at the Open Championship, though. Just one of his other six efforts was competitive.

While it doesn’t feel like he has been great this year, he won in Dubai in May, finished third at the French Open two weeks ago, and before back-to-back 71’s at the U.S. Open had been consistently among the top-ten. At the age of 27, he has won four major titles, and there are likely more on the horizon.

Jordan Spieth: 21/2

Spieth burst on the stage last year, winning the Masters and U.S. Open while finishing fourth at the Open Championship and second at the PGA. This year has been a much different story. The seemingly unshakable youngster blew the Masters, coughing up what appeared to be a secure lead on the back nine of the final round; he was out of contention on Sunday at the U.S. Open.

Adam Scott: 21/1

Scott has won just one major title, the 2013 Masters, but his last four tries at the Open Championship have resulted in a second, third, fifth, and tenth. He got off to a great start this year winning in late February and early March, but then slumped, recovering to finish 18th at the U.S. Open and tenth at the WGC-Bridgestone.

Analysis

While the four low odds in the field are all justified, the price on Scott is enticing. He has consistently been excellent in this tournament, and is the value pick to raise the Claret Jug.


(Photo credit: Craig ONeal (cropped v. of Adam Scott) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)