There's only two weeks until the Open Championship at Royal Lytham St Annes, but much can change in that time. Those players winning tournaments or even contending strongly over the next fortnight will likely see their odds shorten markedly, so rather than risk missing the boat, it makes sense to back long-range fancies now. Here's four contenders who are likelier to shorten rather than drift, and are recommended as immediate bets.
[b]Rickie Fowler @ 50.0[/b]
Rickie has been my leading fancy for this major ever since finishing fifth last year at Sandwich. Considering his inexperience of majors, especially in treacherous British weather, his performance was nothing short of superb. Fowler is obviously a natural when it comes to coping with fierce winds, which can normally be relied...
Does any other sporting event have a more apt name? The Open Championship is just that and if you fancy someone at 1000.0 - go for it. Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington have won two apiece over the last eight years but check out the other four winners!
Louis Oosthuizen trotted up by seven shots last year after going into the event as a huge outsider - trading at over 600.0. 2004 winner Todd Hamilton was much the same price, 2009 champ Stewart Cink traded at over 300.0 and at the last Open Championship staged at Royal St George's in 2003, Ben Curtis went off at the maximum odds of 1000.0!
Open by name, open by nature.
Having said all that, 11 of the 13 winners at this venue have been truly great players and those that followed Curtis home included Tiger Woods, Davis Love III and...
[i]Hi Paul. If we're talking about the Open we can't start by discussing anybody but Rory McIlroy, can we?
I know. There's a massive expectation now on him, and to be honest I think he's been over-hyped in the last month. He is an extraordinary young man, and he does have the talent to be as good as Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, but he is nowhere near that yet. He still has a lot to prove, and I think in Rory's interests, and everybody's interests, it would be good if everybody stood back from putting this crown on his head and just let him get on with it.
[i]He wasn't with you at Castle Stuart. Colin Montgomerie said he should have played another tournament before The Open. What's your take?[/i]
I don't know, I've not talked enough with him. I know he's played well the last...
[u][b]Don't be deterred from backing rank outsiders
[/b][/u]While all four majors have produced shock winners in recent times, as the sport has become more competitive, none of the other three compares to the Open Championship, which has seen rank outsiders win five of the last 12 renewals. Betfair wasn't around when Paul Lawrie won at Carnoustie in 1999, but he would surely have been matched at the same maximum 1000.0 odds as Ben Curtis in 2003. Todd Hamilton in 2004 and Louis Oosthuizen last year were both available at over 600.0 before the off. By comparison at a mere 320.0, 2009 champ Stewart Cink was obvious.
Interestingly, during that period, there were no 'middle ranking' winners. Champions were either extremely hard to pick, or extremely obvious. The seven 'non-outsider' winners...