2019 British Open Championship, Betting Odds, and Prediction
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
The 2019 Open Championship, aka the “British Open” or simply the “Open”, is set to tee off with the worlds greatest golfers vying for the legendary title and possession of the Claret Jug trophy for one year. The top tier of the favorites list is packed with big-name pro golfers starting with Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka who are the only two players coming in under the +1000 mark.
McIlroy enters play at +800 while Koepka follows at +900 according to odds from Intertops. McIlroy, of Northern Ireland where the Open is being played, has two victories in 2019 with the PLAYERS Championship and the Canadian Open. He’s currently ranked No. 3 on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) list. Koepka also has two wins this season – the PGA Championship and the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Currently, Koepka holds the No. 1 OWGR spot.
There is good news in case you’re wondering about the one year that the winner is allowed to keep the trophy. According to the tradition of the Open, the winner must return the Claret Jug prior to the next Open. But they are awarded a copy. Here’s a look at the top-five favored players who now have copies of the Claret Jug entering the opening round of the Open with odds and current OWGR ranking.
Course Could Come into Play
The famed links of Royal Portrush is the host to this years Open and as usual with this event, the course will be a factor more than ever when compared to PGA events in the states. The course is near the sea, open to the elements, features a variety of grasses and plenty of rolling hills and mounds. Royal Portrush was laid out in the 1920s by Harry Colt and hosted the Open in 1951 It originally played around 6,800 yards as a par 72 but by the time the site hosted the 2012 Irish Open was just at 7,000 yards playing par 70. Now the course, for the Open, is set as a par 71 at 7,340 yards.
The two opening rounds will test players from the states from the outset but many have been in Ireland for a week or more getting in as many practice rounds as possible. Since the Open Championship is played at different venues every year it’s hard to look at statistics from previous tournaments. But, that’s the same variable found when looking at the US Open. Here are the past five winners of the Open Championship.
Predicting the Open Championship
One thing is certain, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka are the favorites for a reason. McIlroy is from the area and has a wonderful history with the course. Fourteen years ago he famously shot a 61 at the course during qualifying rounds for the North of Ireland Championship shattering the course record. And, Koepka’s caddy, Rickey Elliott, knows Royal Portrush like the back of his hand as it’s his hometown course.
How history and a caddy with plenty of knowledge about the course play into the actual tournament is hard to determine. But it has to help. What probably helps the two players the most is that they are both playing extremely well in 2019 and have not shown too many weak spots in their games this season.
An obvious player to keep an eye on is Tiger Woods who has played a very light schedule since winning the Masters earlier in the year. His practice rounds in Ireland have not been spectacular but also showed no real trouble spots. He has been seen practicing with two styles of Scotty Cameron putters this week indicating he’s still working on what he wants in his bag. But that’s normal, the only reason it’s all over Golf media its because is Tiger Woods.
The Open Championship will probably come down to golf basics. Good shots off the tee, hitting landing areas, nailing approach shots, and avoiding too many missed puts. The only luck that may come into play is if a shot lands behind one of the humps in the rolling terrain or in front so that it can roll for extra yardage.
As for the greens and putting, word is that the greens at Royal Portrush are playing slow. The golfer that masters the greens the earliest may have the advantage. If that’s the case then Rory McIlroy may be at a disadvantage. According to current stats posted by the PGA, he’s ranked No. 42 in the putting category at .318 percent overall. But he should not be worried too much as Koepka comes in at T95 on the list.