Next year’s Open Championship is hosted by St Andrews, the home of golf, and a venue that since 1970 has a produced a prestigious roll of honour that reads: Jack Nicklaus (1970), Jack Nicklaus (1978), Seve Ballesteros (1984), Nick Faldo (1990), John Daly (1995), Tiger Woods (2000), Tiger Woods (2005) and Louis Oosthuisen (2010).
It’s a roll of honour that suggests class will prevail, and only Oosthuisen wasn’t winning at least his second major when lifting the Claret Jug.
If Rory McIlroy can retain the form he produced in the second half of the 2014 season, a spell which saw him win four tournaments including two majors, he will be very hard to beat, and the 5/1 currently available may be long gone. However, backing 5/1 shots ante-post isn’t my idea of value and I’m putting forward four players at varying odds whose prices I expect to be shorter come July.
Rickie Fowler2 points each-way @ 28/1 Coral
The 26-year-old amazingly managed to finish in the top-5 in all four majors last season, and was desperately unlucky not to win one. His runner-up spot at Hoylake behind Rory McIlroy was also the second time he had collected the each-way money in the Open, and was 14th on his Open debut at St Andrews in 2010. What was really amazing about that debut performance was he opened with a 79 before shooting the lowest rounds, 2, 3 and 4 total.
Martin Kaymer 1.5 points each-way @ 40/1 Victor Chandler
The 2014 US Open Champion has now won two of his last 17 majors, and looks massively over-priced at 40/1 for an event which is played on a course which he openly admits his is favourite anywhere in the world. 7th in the 2010 Open after a disappointing last round, he has both won a Dunhill Links and lost one in a play-off. He also fits the identikit winner as a multiple major winner.
Louis Oosthuisen 1.5 points each-way @ 60/1 bet365
The 2010 Champion shot a winning score of 16 under-par; the lowest four round total for an Open Champion at St Andrews. Two behind McIlroy after day one, he took the lead on day two and stormed to victory by an amazing 7-shots. Plagued by injury since, the South African has not achieved what many predicted but, having won two events twice already, he looks massively over-priced to repeat his 2010 victory.
Brandon Grace 0.5 points each-way @ 200/1 Coral
One for those who like triple-figure odds, the 26-year-old South African announced himself on the European Tour in 2012 by posting four victories which culminated with a win in the Dunhill Links. Surprisingly, he didn’t add to that tally until winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa just three weeks ago. However, he did finish runner-up to Phil Mickleson in the 2013 Scottish Open and has a progressive Open record finishing: 77/64/36.