The 2015 Open Championship will be the 144th playing of the illustrious golf tournament. The oldest of the four golf majors, the Open Championship has been won by the greatest names in golf, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
The 2015 Open will be staged at the Old Course, St Andrews and it will be the 29th time the tournament has been staged there.
The defending champion, Rory McIlroy will be missing from the field due to injury, meaning that the favourite going in to the tournament is Jordan Spieth. Having won both the Masters and US Open, in addition to the John Deere Classic last weekend, Spieth has every right to feel confident ahead of the Open Championship. One look at Spieth’s statistics this year and it’s easy to see why the American is at the top of the game right now. Ranked first for scoring average, second for total strokes gained, third for birdie average and third for tee to green strokes gained on the PGA Tour, Spieth is as consistent as they come.
However, it’s worth considering that the previous five winners of the Open, all played a links event the week before and Spieth has not. In addition to this, Spieth has only ever played one previous round at St Andrews, which was four years ago and at 8/1 with William Hill, there is not much value there.
So with the absence of McIlroy, who else could contend at St Andrews this week? Having finished in the top five of all four majors in 2014 and Winner of the Scottish Open last week, Rickie Fowler has played himself in to contention. Well accustomed to the links courses of the UK, Fowler is available at 20/1 with William Hill to win the 2015 Open Championship.
Of the European contenders, Henrik Stenson, at 25/1 with Ladbrokes, has come close to winning this event more than once in the past. If the weather is bad on the first couple of days, Stenson could find himself at the top of the leaderboard and with 14 par 4′s on the course, this will play in to the Swede’s hands. Stenson’s Ryder Cup team-mate, Martin Kaymer, finished fourth at the Open de France recently and has previous form at St Andrews, having won the Dunhill Links tournament in 2010. Kaymer finished seventh the last time the Open was played on the Old Course and at 40/1 with Ladbrokes, represents decent value.
We can’t finish this discussion, without mentioning Louis Oosthuizen and Tiger Woods. Oosthuizen won the Open Championship at St Andrews in 2010 and has performed well in the two major tournaments played in 2015. The South African is available at 25/1 with William Hill. As for Tiger Woods, the American showed at the Greenbrier Classic that he still has the ability to play a good round of golf. Having won the Open Championship at St Andrews twice, Woods will have a good feeling about the place but even at odds of 40/1 with Bet365, surely the Claret Jug is out reach for the former world number one this year?
Rickie Fowler 20/1 (William Hill)
Henrik Stenson 25/1 (Ladbrokes)
Martin Kaymer 40/1 (Ladbrokes)