The Open - Royal Birkdale
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We come in here of the back of a great week on the PGA Tour, with Bryson DeChambeau winning for the Blog at 66/1 and then 80/1 for the place on Wesley Bryan so lets see if we can keep that moving this week.
So to The Open, we head to Royal Birkdale, traditionally one of the toughest courses used for the Open, you'll see from the stats below there has been some interesting scoring in 2008
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- Royal Birkdale, Southport
- Prize money $10.25m (this year it is calculated in dollars for the first time!) /li>
- PAR 70
- 7156 yards
- Out 34
- In 36
- 7156 yards
- 4 x PAR 3 holes
- 12 x PAR 4 holes
- Shortest hole is No.7 which is a PAR 3 playing 177 yards
- Longest hole is No. 15 which is a PAR 5 playing 544 yards
- Water features : None
- Last held here in 2008 (previous to that 1998, 1991, 1983, 1976, 1971, 1965, 1961 & 1954)
- The event is always played on a Links Course based around 9 courses in the UK
- Defending Champion : Henrik Stenson
- Three of the last 4 winners have won in the 5 weeks prior to The Open
- Winner in 2008 : Padriag Harrington (runner up Ian Poulter!)
- 2008 Lowest Score : Camilo Villegas 65
- 2008 Cut : +9 (!)
- Oldest of the 4 Majors
- First held in 1860
- In 1860 it was 3 rounds of 12 holes
- Fact : 1871 The event was cancelled as there was no trophy available .
- Held here 9 times in its history
- If there is a playoff it takes place over 4 holes and if no winner then goes to sudden death.
Winners here at Royal Birkdale
- 1954 - Peter Thompson £750
- 1961 - Arnold Palmer £1,400
- 1965 - Peter Thomas £1,750
- 1971 - Lee Trevino £5,500
- 1976 - Johnny Millen £7,500
- 1983 - Tom Watson £40,000
- 1991 - Ian Baker-Finch £90,000
- 1998 - Mark O'Mera £300,000
- 2008 - Padraig Harrington £750,000
How Do The Players Qualify
- The field for the Open is 156, and golfers gain a place in a number of ways. Most of the field is made up of leading players who are given exemptions. Further places are given to players who are successful in The Open Qualifying Series and in Final Qualifying. Any remaining places, and places made available because qualified players are not competing, are made available to the highest ranked players in the Official World Golf Ranking.
- There are currently 26 exemption categories. Among the more significant are:
- The top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking. This category means that no member of the current elite of world golf will be excluded.
- The top 30 in the previous season's European Tour Race to Dubai and the PGA Tour FedEx Cup. Most of these players will also be in the World top 50.
- All previous Open Champions who will be age 60 or under on the final day of the tournament. Each year a number of past champions choose not to compete.
- All players who have won one of the other three majors in the previous five years.
- The top 10 from the previous year's Open Championship.
- The winners of The Amateur Championship and the U.S. Amateur (provided the winners maintain their amateur status prior to the tournament).
- International qualifying is through the "Open Qualifying Series" which consists of ten events played outside the United Kingdom. A pre-allocated number of places are made available at these events (from 1 to 4) which are given to the leading players in those events who are not, at that point, qualified for the Open, provided they finish in a high-enough position. A total of 32 places are available.
- Local qualifying was the traditional way for non-exempt players to win a place at The Open. In recent years it has comprised a number of "Regional Qualifying" competitions around Britain and Ireland with successful competitors, joined by those players exempt from regional qualifying, playing four 36-hole "Final Qualifying" tournaments. There are 12 places available through Final Qualifying, three at each of the four venues.
Weather ForecastToo early to confirm but check back early in the week for an update.
- Nicest of the 4 days, 21 degrees, wind just shy of 20mph. Sunny with cloudy intervals.
- Rain all day, temps of 17 degrees, and wind upto 15mph.
- Similar to Friday, temps of 18 degrees rain of most of the day. wind up to 18 mph
- Rain clears early afternoon with sunny intervals there after, temps of 18 degrees and wind at 13 mph
My SelectionsIf you take the trends seriously you need to be considering Koepka, Rahm, Fleetwood, Spieth, Schaufelle and Stanley to name but a few of those that have won in the past 5 weeks.
How seriously do I take that, well I am interested in a couple of them based more on the form in recent weeks in general, Rahm for his performance in Ireland a few weeks ago, and Fleetwood who has been sensational this season.
There is one player I will be watching closely in Scotland this week prior to The Open is Chris Wood when the event was held here in 2008 he won the Silver Jug which is awarded to the highest finishing amateur. He was T5 co-incidentially. He has struggled with injury (wrist) in past weeks but if he come through unscathed he could be up for consideration as a selection.
I am going to have one early play, and I take that based on the fact if he has a good week in Scotland this week then his price will shell.
Early Bets - Alex Noren 40/1 Bet365 Alex is a decent player around the Links courses, we have seen that when he won the Scottish Open in 2016, and as I write this he is -2 after R1 this year. He has won 5 events on this side of the pond inside the last 12 months (10 in his career) a feat that cannot even matched by the current world No.1 Dustin Johnson. So the fact it remains in Europe is a positive. He tickes the boxes for having won in the last 5 weeks which is a tend I highlighted in my blog.
He has 3 top 10's (inc a win) a 15th and 1 MC in the past 5. The win was in a strong field in the BMW PGA so a good R2/3/4 in Scotland would see this price disappear.
Early Bets - Ross Fisher : 100/1 Ladbrokes Delighted to see Ladbrokes still giving 100/1 here, I watched Ross in the first round at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open today ( I am posting this tip Thur 13th July). His form coming into this event was already good, and today's -3 in R1 is another flag for me of good form on Links courses not to mention the home support. The form he showed in a really strong field at the WGC Mexico to finish T3 has stuck with me. His form in the event itself makes me a little nervous, but his form coming in in the past few months has seen a vast number of top 10 finishes, his last 10 pieces of come (oldest to newest) reads : 3rd, 8th, 41st, 3rd, 6th, mc, 9th, 22nd, MC and 7th.
At the price a really nice ew contender.
I will also put some further tips up post Scottish Open..
Outright Tournament WinnersTommy Fleetwood 25/1 (various Markets)The first thing we have to do is get past his tournament form in this 3 MC's in a row. HOWEVER and its a big however he has never played in the event here, but again don't let that put you off. He is a local lad, from Southport and has played this course numerous times. As a lead into this there have been a series of warm up events played over Links courses, and the one he played he was 10th in the Irish Open which had followed some further good form on the European Tour, winning one of the French Open Rolex event in another strong field.
V.solid EW chances.
Outsiders???Two I like based on recent form around links courses, first up is Andrew Dodt (400/1 with Betfred). He was in contention for 3 rounds at The Scottish Open, only letting himself down in R4 but that perhaps nicely from a betting perspective managed to perhaps his real value and when I saw that he was 400/1 i was very interested. He has played two links events in the last 2 weeks with a 4th in the Irish Open and then 20th in The Scottish Open which is very solid links form and belies the prices on offer.
The other I like for similar reasons is Ryan Fox (250/1 Betfred) he like Andrew Dodt has some really solid form on links courses in recent weeks. T4 in both the Irish and Scottish Open in the last two weeks is as solid as they come and that acompanies so good historical form over the Challenge and Australian Tours in recent years.
OtherI will be having some insurance top 20 bets for a couple that I think could go well and also some Top Nations bets which I have put below :
Top 20 :Chris Wood 4/1
Andrew Dodt 10/1
Ryan Fox 11/2
Top European : EW (1/4 odds top 4)Ross Fisher 28/1
Top American : EW (1/4 odds top 4)Wesley Bryan 66/1
Julian Suri 125/1
Zander Schauffele 66/1