Widely regarded by many golf aficionados as the greatest Major in the game, St Andrews will set the scene for the 150th Open Championship, and it promises to be a special week.
Xander Schauffele heads to The Open Championship in a rich vein of form after landing the Scottish Open last weekend to claim his third successive title, but a Major title eludes him.
Despite its picturesque setting, the Old Course is a traditional seaside links-style course that will throw up plenty of challenges for the field. In particular, the 17th hole known as the Road Hole, is brutally difficult, and often plays above par. At stake, there is the fabled Claret Jug, which the winner will trouser. To put the prestige of The Open Championship into some context, we have divulged some interesting stats for you to chew over:
- St Andrews has hosted The Open Championship more than any other venue (29).
- The Old Course has extended over the years, and for the 129th Open, it played 7,297 yards. However, it is only 350 yards more than a century ago.
- Scores have lowered over the years, and only two players have broken the 65 strokes barrier at St Andrews – Rory McIlroy in 2010 (63) and Marc Leishman (64) in 2015.
- The 12 post-war champions of St Andrews hold an astonishing 67 Major titles between them.
The Open Championship always makes compelling viewing for golf fans, and you can expect to see the most reputable online betting sites handling plenty of wagers throughout the tournament. Ahead of the first tee, we have whetted your appetite with a few tips for you to sink your teeth into.
Jordan Spieth to etch his name into St Andrews folklore
Five years ago, Jordan Spieth was named Champion Golfer of the Year, and he is arguably one of the finest exponents of links golf. Typically, St Andrews boasts wide fairways, but the rough is pretty daunting and there are some massive sand bunkers to contend with.
However, a cursory glance at Spieth’s stats show he has been very productive while crossing the Atlantic. Since 2015, the 28-year-old has gained on average more than two-and-a-half-strokes on links courses, and he has also hit more greens in regulation (4%) than the rest of the field. His credentials are unquestioned, and while he will have to display patience to master the Old Course, there’s no reason why he can’t tame it and add a second Open Championship to his growing list of Major titles.
Currently, Spieth is trading at a tempting looking +1800 with BetMGM to triumph this week, which may be worth investigating further.
Xander Schauffele to come up short
Considering he has already bagged seven PGA Tour titles in his impressive career, it is perhaps surprising that Xander Schauffele is yet to win one of golf’s biggest prizes. The American has been on a roll of late, and after claiming the Scottish Open, he won’t be fazed by the beast that is St Andrews. He already has a raft of top-25 finishes to his name in Majors, and at the US Open last month, he came home in T14.
Schauffele is usually well supported, and there are no obvious chinks in his armour. However, perhaps his recent exploits may take its toll. Nevertheless, if you like the look of the place market, then BetMGM is advertising odds of +140 for Schauffele to finish in the top 10 which could provide some value.
Rory McIlroy to go low
For a player of Rory McIlroy’s caliber, the fact he hasn’t won a Major since 2014 is a rather eye-watering stat. The Ulsterman has struggled to string together four consistent rounds of golf together, which has proved to be his shortcoming. But McIlroy, as we have seen can go low as proved by the stunning 63 he carded at St Andrews in the first round 12 years ago. St Andrews offers a few decent birdie opportunities, including the iconic 18th which boasts the famous Swilcan Bridge that has been passed over by many an Open champion over the years.
And if you like a good special, then McIlroy is available at +2000 with Unibet to shoot the best 18-hole round score of the tournament.