With no golfing action until the New Year, it’s time for an ante-post look at another of next year’s Majors – The Open Championship.
The 2016 Open Championship will take place at Royal Troon, which has hosted 8 previous Opens, 7 of which have been played after the Second World War.
The winners of the first four of those came as no surprise with Bobby Locke (1950), Arnold Palmer (1962), Tom Weiskoph (1973) and Tom Watson (1982) being among the best of their generation. However, the three winners that followed bucked that trend with Mark Calcavecchia (1989), Justin Leonard (1997) and Todd Hamilton (2004) claiming their only major win.
There’s certainly been no identikit winner of the event with Calcavecchia a hit it – find it – and hit it again kind of golfer, whilst Leonard was deadly with the putter, and Hamilton was just a journeyman who got up and down from everywhere by means of rescue club, a method which many professionals have used since.
If I’m honest I think this could well be Jordan’s Spieth’s open, though he’ll have to buck the trend of golfers who’ve won 2 majors in a season not winning one the following year. I think the winner will have to scrap, and no one scraps better than Spieth. You just can’t back him at 7/1 now though, and he’ll have to have a hell of a season leading up to the event to go off shorter than his current price.
However, there does look to be 4 players who might offer some value now, and who’s prices may shorten significantly if they play well prior to the event.
Phil Mickelson 1 point each-way @ 50/1 (Various) ¼ odds 5 places
Phil the Thrill may be getting a little long in the tooth, but he may yet have a final hurrah in him. He’d love that to be the US Open (the only major he’s yet to win), but another Claret Jug wouldn’t go a miss either. He was third here in 2004, the first time he had ever shown-up on the Leaderboard at the Open, and it could be he just thrives on Troon’s emphasis on shot-making.
Brandt Snedeker 1 point each-way @ 80/1 (Various) ¼ odds 5 places
Snedeker knows he’s at the age he really needs to be winning a major at if he’s ever likely to win one, and he’s very much in the mould of ace-putter Leonard. He went close at Lytham 4 years ago, and it may be that Butch Harmon can coach an Open out of him.
Matthew Fitzpatrick 1 point each-way @ 66/1 (Various) ¼ odds 5 places
The young Englishman may never have the power to compete against the likes of McIlroy and Day in some of the big events, but an open in the wind with bouncy fairways would even the playing field in his favour. Accurate off the tee, he can chip and putt with the best of them and, he looks sure to be pushing for a Ryder Cup spot come next September.
David Lingmerth 1 point each-way @ 250/1 (Paddy Power) ¼ odds 5 places
The America-based Swede hasn’t really caught the eye of the bookies, but his win at Memorial last season shows he’s got what it takes. Accurate off the tee when on form, he also showed-up well for a long way at this year’s Open at St Andrews, and could easily go off much shorter than 250/1 if he registers another win.