After being canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19, the 2021 British Open is all set to tee off at Royal St. George’s Golf Course in Sandwich, Kent on July 15th and will run till the 18th. The year’s third major takes place on a different links-style course each year and the weather can often be a determining factor when it comes to golfers’ performances.
This is the first open to be held at Royal St. George’s in 10 years and the prize pool is set at $11 million. It’s a par-70, 7,204-yard course which was built in 1887 and Shane Lowry will enter the tournament as the defending champion after winning it in 2019.
It’s the oldest of the four Major golf tournaments as the first event was held back in October, 1860 at Scotland’s Prestwick Golf Club. Currently, there are nine different courses used on a rotating basis for the British Open with five of them being in Scotland and four in England. The winner takes home The Golf Champion Trophy, which is commonly known as The Claret Jug.
The field of 156 golfers consists of most of the world’s top pros and amateurs and it will be cut to the lowest 70 scorers and ties after the first 36 holes. In the event the tournament is tied after 72 holes, there will be a four-hole aggregate playoff held after the final round has been completed.
Long-shots and underdogs often upset the favorites at the British Open as the favorite or second favorite has won it just once since 2007. The average odds of the tournament’s winner are approximately 62/1, which is more than double the average for the U.S. Open and The Masters.
For instance, Darren Clarke was 125/1 to win it in 2011 at Royal St George’s and Ben Curtis was approximately 300/1 when he won the event there in 2003. Maturity often counts for quite a bit at the British Open as the average age of the winner since 2011 as been 35.7. In addition, just five golfers in their 40’s have won a Major over that span of time and four of those four of those won the British Open.
Also, the last nine British Open champions had all played in tournament at least four times before winning it and had all posted at least one top-10 finish in the event before capturing it. Only 30-per-cent of previous British Open winners have hailed from America and just three of the last 10; Phil Mickelson in 2013, Zach Johnson in 2015 and Jordan Spieth in 2017. More than 55 per cent of previous winners have hailed from Europe.
Defending the title is relatively hard though as the British Open has been successfully defended just 21 times in 148 tournaments. Fourteen of those came in or before 1950 while 10 of those defenses took place before 1900. Since 1960, just five golfers have managed to retain the trophy and only two of them have managed it since the year 2000. The last man to do it was Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008 while Tiger Woods won it in 2005 and 2006.
Golfers with three top-10 finishes in the past five British Open Championships
Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy
Golfers with at least two top-20 finishes in the last three British Opens
Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Tony Finau, Erik van Rooyen, Francesco Molinari, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Charley Hoffman and Alex Noren.
The current top-11 Bet365 odds for the British Open are as follows:
Jon Rahm 8/1, Brooks Koepka 18/1, Rory McIlroy 18/1, Xander Schauffele 18/1, Jordan Spieth 18/1, Justin Thomas 18/1, Dustin Johnson 20/1, Viktor Hovland 30/1, Louis Oosthhuizen 33/1, Bryson DeChambeau 33/1 and Tyrell Hatton at 33/1.
The six longest-shots to capture the tournament are Ben Hutchinson, Abel Gallegos and Daniel Croft at 2500/1 with Ricardo Celia, Nicholas Poppleton and Connor Worsdall at 2000/1.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the golfers
Jon Rahm 8/1
Number-one ranked Jon Rahm of Spain won the recent U.S. Open and is favored to win his second straight major at the British Open. He’s been in fantastic form this season even though he had to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament due to a positive Covid-19 test while leading the field after three rounds. Rahm is a great links player and has proven he can handle windy conditions in the past with excellent performances at the 2017 Irish Open at Portstewart and in 2019 in Lahinch. He’s currently ranked top-5 for tee to green and strokes gained off the tee this year but has never finished in the top-10 in a British Open.
Jordan Spieth 18/1
American Jordan Spieth has been very consistent this year with three top-10 finishes in his last six tournaments and his worst finish being tied for 30th at the PGA Championship. He did miss the cut in January at the Farmers Insurance open but has made the cut in each of his 12 starts since then with a win, seven top-10 finishes and 10 in the top-20. Spieth is hoping to win his fourth major at Royal St. George’s and is competing in his eighth British Open. He’s never missed the cut in the previous seven and has a win and two top-10 finishes in the past five events, triumphing in 2017.
Xander Schauffele 18/1
American Xander Schauffele enjoyed his best-ever finish in a major at the British Open three years ago as he tied for second place, just two strokes behind champion Francesco Molinari. He’s been playing well this PGA Tour season with a trio of second-place finishes and seven in the top-10. Schauffele currently owns the second-best scoring average on the tour at 69.770 as he’s averaged 4.38 birdies per round. He also ranks in the top-25 when it comes to strokes gained off the tee at .421, strokes gained putting at .602 and strokes gained approaching the green at .654.
Bryson DeChambeau 33/1
Bryson DeChambeau of America has been in fine form this season after capturing the 2020 U.S. Open along with the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. He’s an eight-time PGA Tour champion who’s been averaging more then 320 yards per drive to currently top the tour. He also ranks top-15 in strokes gained tee to green, scoring average and birdie average. On the down side, DeChambeau’s been hitting under 55 percent of fairways from the tee so far this this season and this has resulted in finishing out of the top-25 in five of his past seven tournaments.
Branden Grace 66/1
Branden Grace of South Africa has made the cut in 11 of his last 12 tournaments and won the Puerto Rico open in February. He led all golfers tee to green at the recent U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in June and finished in a seventh-place tie overall with five other players, including Rory McIlroy. Grace has quite a bit of links experience which also includes a victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2014. Grace has proven to be up to the challenge on difficult golf courses and in inclement weather conditions over the past 10 years and also shot the lowest British Open Championship/Major single round in golf history when he shot a 62 in during the third round in 2017 at Royal Birkdale.
Bettors can also make several other British Open wagers at bet365 such as the nationality of the winner, match-ups, winning margin, top finishes, group betting, hole in one and if there will be a playoff etc. Live in-play betting will also be available once the action tees off.