The third Major of the 2011 men’s professional golf season gets underway this Thursday with the first round of the 140th Open Championship from Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Kent. While all the Majors feature an international field, the Open Championship is the one golf tournament that is truly comprised of all the best golfers in the world.
The following is a look at a couple of players to watch this week along with their current odds to win the Claret Jug as provided by Bodog.com.
The obvious favorite this week at 13/2 is Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland. After letting a green jacket slip through his fingers with a final round meltdown in The Masters this past April, he put all his demons to rest in one of the most dominating performance in the history of the game; a record-breaking eight stroke victory in the US Open at Congressional Country Club in mid-June.
It was his first Major career victory in what most people believes will be just one of many more to come. The fact that he was able to put the disappointment at Augusta so quickly behind and go wire-to-wire at Congressional speaks volumes about this 22 year-olds’ ability under pressure. Despite the overall quality of the field, the only way McIlroy loses this week is if he beats himself.
Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are the second favorites to win The Open at 11/1. Donald is currently the No.1 ranked player in the World and third on the PGA Money List this season with over $3.5 million in earnings. More importantly for this tournament, he is coming off a victory in the Barclay’s Scottish Open, which was his third tournament win of the season. His best finish in the Open was tied for fifth in 2009 at Turnberry, as he is still searching for his first career Major. If McIlroy stumbles this week, Donald is a solid play at 11/1.
Westwood is also known as one of the best golfers in the world to never win a Major. The second ranked player in the world has come painfully close over the years especially in this tournament. In 2009 he missed out on a three-way playoff and finished third after dropping a shot on the final hole. Last year at the Old Course in St. Andrews, he finished in second-place, but was seven shots in back of the winner; Louis Oosthuizen. This season he finished tied for 11th at Augusta and tied for third in the US Open.
The odds really drop off from here as Martin Kaymer, the 2010 PGA Champion, is the fourth favorite at 22/1. The German briefly held the No. 1 ranking this season but has struggled in the first two Majors this season; missing the cut in the Masters and finishing 39th at Congressional. He lost to Donald earlier in the year in the finals of the Accenture Match Play Championships and was 19th in what is often thought of as golf’s fifth Major; The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
If you are looking to take a flyer on someone this week, one player to consider is K.J. Choi at 33/1. He has not played particularly well in the Open in the past, but he has a knack for hanging around the top of the leaderboard in big tournaments. He missed the cut in last year’s Open, but comes into this week’s event in solid form with a victory in The Players Championship in May and a second-place finish two weeks ago in the AT&T National.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.