In recent years, golf’s favorites — like Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy — have been in the mix, and taking home major championships as predicted.
But a recent trend has seen Sergio Garcia (a surprise Masters winner after so many failed major attempts) and Brooks Koepka reign as title-winners in the face of longshot odds.
In the U.K. at Royal Birkedale, the 146th playing of the Open Championship will againt test players’ ability to keep the ball in play and be creative around the greens.
Birkdale is a long track, in keeping with long major championship courses at just over 7,100 yards. However the swirling and inconsistent winds could change the length on a day-to-day basis. The most recent of 10 times the Open was held at Birkdale, Padraig Harrington won the crown back in 2008. Last year’s defending champion Henrik Stenson will be in action again, as will Phil Mickelson, who dramatically nearly pulled off a remarkable win himself in one of the better Open Championships in recent memory in 2016.
Although not considered among Britain’s elite courses, it has a flat fairway and can be a tough test if the weather isn’t cooperative. Harringson’s win came thanks to a +3 score on a then par 70 slate. The par is now at 72, which could cause lower scores to follow in 2017,
The $1.8 million first prize and Claret Jug is favored to go to McIlroy, with 10-1 odds according to Vegas insider. Only three other golfers have better than a 20-1 shot at winning, with Johnson, Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth all drawing 12-1 odds.
The Open tees off on NBC Thursday, July 20 and runs through Sunday’s final round.