The 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes promises to be a fantastic spectacle of links golf – and a tournament that should live up to its name.
Bookmakers are betting 9/1 the field, with Tiger Woods the favourite after his three victories on the PGA Tour in America this year.
But there is a strong British and Irish challenge lining up against the former world No 1 with Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell all hoping to emulate last year’s winner Darren Clarke.
Here are the top 5 bets for the 2012 Open Championship:
1) Nick Watney each-way @ 90/1 with Stan James (paying 7 places)
The American has been enduring a difficult season but there are definite signs in his results that he is about to bounce back to his best. Has performed well in three of the four Opens he has contested and looks great value to be in the mix come Sunday.
The US Ryder Cup team captain has not been distracted too much by his duties for the biennial showpiece and his form is holding up well. Finished an excellent ninth last year at Royal St George’s and the 48-year-old could again enjoy a fine Open.
3) Tom Watson top senior @ 10/3 with Sky Bet
Sky Bet have taken a chance by pushing out the five-time Open champion’s price in this market. Although Watson is unlikely to repeat his 2009 heroics, he generally finds a way of making the cut and that could be enough to master his five rivals.
4) Fredrik Jacobson top Scandinavian @ 5/1 with Sky Bet
The Swede has been nibbled at in the outright market already and it’s easy to see why as he knows his way around a links course. Finished sixth at Royal St George’s in 2003 and in the top 20 in two of the last three Opens, plus recent results are encouraging.
5) K J Choi top Korean @ 5/4 with Sky Bet
This has not been a vintage season by Choi’s standards but his form is coming back judging by recent displays. Finished eighth around a desperately tricky Carnoustie course in 2007 and should be too strong for his three compatriots, who seem out of sorts at present.