Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Open season finding winner, but Graeme and Padraig best of Irish

Tiger Woods

Finding the winner of a golfing major is becoming as easy as winning the lottery. Fifteen different winners in the last 15 events is testament to that and only three were in the world's top 10.

The last 10 have been won by players not having taken a major before and bookmakers go 1/2 that it's the same outcome in the Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes when the Claret Jug is raised on Sunday evening. Equally, punters can have 6/4 that a previous winner is successful.

One who has to be left out of the picture is the drifting 10/1 favourite Tiger Woods. Despite having won three Opens, he's putting out the wrong vibes by complaining about the conditions and like Rory McIlroy, is not a lover of links courses. It's now 17 majors since Tiger last won and with an unfavourable weather forecast, neither his nor Rory's prospects appear bright.

It would be some story if Darren Clarke was to win for a second time. He was 250/1 last year and is 125/1 this time as he bids to follow Padraig Harrington's double glory in 2007-08. But there are likely to be few takers and the best of the Irish may be Harrington (25/1) or Graeme McDowell (33/1).

The recent Scottish Open winner Indian Jeev Milkha Singh (100/1), who beat Franceso Molinari in a play-off, is indicative of just how hard it can be in the face of the in-depth talent in the game. However, that was Singh's fourth European Tour win, so maybe it was a case of being under estimated

Which all makes predicting The Open winner, very much a guessing game.

World number one Luke Donald, despite having a poor final round at Castle Stuart, is quoted at 22/1, as is number two McIlroy, while third-ranked Lee Westwood is second top fancy on 20s.

Westwood, Donald, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose are among the major ‘maidens’ more than capable of winning and, at 33/1, Rose may just bloom on this occasion. Those who believe the Claret Jug will cross the Atlantic, can have 6/4 on a US winner.

Paddy Power stands alone in offering each-way terms of 1/4 the odds the first seven, all others either sticking to a quarter the first five or the first six.

Punters may have better joy looking at the match bets and Francesco Molinari appeals at evens to beat Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood (5/6) to do better than McIlroy and Rose (10/11) for victory over Garcia.

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