2008 British Open Betting Preview
by Trevor Whenham - 07/04/2008
Who's going to win the British Open? That's easy. It's a major, so Tiger will put together two uninspiring days Thursday and Friday, make a move Saturday, and be the lone man standing Sunday. No Sweat. Oh wait, the golf world changed, didn't it? Handicapping majors now involves thinking. Damn.
Joking aside, the absence of Tiger is a big story for golf handicappers here. Tiger won the Open in 2005 and 2006, and he was right in the mix last year, ending up tied for 12th. He's been in the top 12 eight of the last 10 years, and he has three wins over that span. His absence not only leaves room for others on the top of the leaderboard, but he won't be there to intimidate players away from playing their best.
So without him, who wins? Not to be difficult, but it is wide open. Here's our 2008 British Open betting preview, with odds from Sportsbook.com.
Sergio Garcia (10/1) - The Spaniard is, somewhat surprisingly, the favorite. It's refreshing to see no players in single digits at this point after accepting 3/1 or so favoritism for years. I don't have a lot of faith in seeing my money again if I throw it on Garcia, but his favoritism makes some sense. Sooner or later, one would think, he is going to win a major. It would seem like the Open is the most likely spot to do so. Garcia missed the cut in 2004, but that was the only time since 2001 that he didn't end up in the top 10. Last year he lost a four-hole playoff to Padraig Harrington. He's playing well this year, with an impressive win in the Players Championship. In this new golf world he makes good sense.
Padraig Harrington (15/1) - The defending champion will get a lot of support. After all, he won here last year, and he was top five in the Masters this spring. I'm not eager to buy in at this price, though. He has three top five results in this tournament in his career, but he has also missed the cut three times, including the two times he played before his win. He's a more than capable golfer, but I think that his inconsistency coupled with the unfamiliar pressure of being a defending champion on the biggest stage is enough to make him a bad bet at this price.
Phil Mickelson (12/1) - Some people seem to assume that the PGA belongs to Phil if he wants it now that Tiger is on the sidelines. That may be the case, but I think he's a sucker bet here. For some reason, Phil is not at the best when he crosses the ocean. While he has been outside the top 10 just once in the last 10 tries, he has just one top 10 result in the Open in 15 tries. Last year he missed the cut, and the two previous years he played all four rounds but was totally irrelevant. He's had a good year this year, but not good enough to make him worth more than a passing look at this price in my eyes.
Justin Rose (20/1) - He'll have all the support he could possibly want since he is the top ranked British player, and the second highest ranked European. He's more than just a hometown face, though. He was the top money earner on the European Tour last year, and he didn't finish worse than 12th in the four majors last year. He hasn't been as strong this year, but he is a golfer that is too good not to make a breakthrough at some point. At this price it might be worth taking a shot that this will be the year.
Adam Scott (25/1) - Getting the fourth-ranked golfer in the world at a price like this is always worth a look. Scott hasn't been particularly solid in his last six majors, finishing higher than 25th just once, and missing the cut once. Before that, though, he had a third in the PGA and an eighth in the Open. He's had a very good year this year, with a win on both the PGA and the European Tour. That form, coupled with his obvious skill, would lead you to believe, at the very least, that he isn't overpriced. The same basic argument can be made for fellow Aussie Geoff Ogilvy, who is ranked one spot higher in the world rankings, and he is at the same value-laden price.
Camilo Villegas (80/1) - You always have to have a longshot in your stable because you'll look like a genius if you are right. In this wide-open field I like Villegas. He has never played the Open before, but he is coming off his first top-10 finish in a major at the U.S. Open. I don't put a lot of merit in Skins golf, but he followed up the strong U.S. Open showing by going to the Telus Skins Game in Canada and winning it over a far more experienced, intimidating field - Couples, Norman, Montgomerie, and Canadian hero Mike Weir. That shows that he is playing with a pile of confidence, and that could carry over here. Worth a shot, anyway.