Open Championship Preview : Jon Rahm Can Rewrite Spanish Golfing History
Event Venue: Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Thursday July 20th at 6.30am. Live on Sky Sports.See Stats
The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale has a history of a young Spanish golfer making a huge impact on the golfing world. For Severiano Ballesteros in 1976 we have Jon Rahm who has the talent to contend for the most prestigious title in the sport. Ballesteros was a relatively unknown 19-year-old when he took the Open by storm 41 years ago and his compatriot could do the same this time. You can back Rahm and any other player using a bookmaker golf free bet.
Ballesteros won the Open three times but very few people backed him to lift the Claret Jug in 1976. Johnny Miller won the tournament but the young golfer from Spain finished tied second with Jack Nicklaus after rounds of 69,69, 73 and 74. Miller won a first prize of £7,500 but the 2017 Open champion will pick up more than a million quid. Rahm could be the player being presented with the Claret Jug and announced as the Champion Golfer of the Year and so can be your Open bet.
There is a kind of family history tree of Spanish golfers who have played the sport at the highest level. Ballesteros inspired Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia was the next superstar from Spain to come off the production line. All three are major champions and Rahm (18/1 with bet365) is a future major champion and it could happen at Birkdale this year. At the other end of the experience spectrum Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els will be playing in their 99th major and both are past Open champions.
Royal Birkdale has a par of 70, made up of two nines of 34 and 36. There is the normal number of short holes and par 4s but only two par 5s. The longest holes on the course are the 15th and 17th so there could be some late swings and movement up and down the leaderboard. In 1976 Ballesteros led Miller by two shots after 54 holes but finished six shots adrift after the champion played his fourth round in 66 shots. Miller was the best player in the world then but Ballesteros was the new star.
Birkdale is typical of a links course in that on a still day the par is vulnerable. The main defence is the wind which blows off the Irish Sea and the long term forecast for the Southport area is for some strong breezes during the championship. At the last Birkdale Open in 2008 Padraig Harrington (50/1 with Ladbrokes) won with a score of three over. Ten years earlier level par got the job done for Mark O’Meara. Ian Baker Finch’s winning score was 8 under in 1991 and Tom Watson was the champion at 9 under in 1983.
The course was much the same each year but wind affected the scores in the last two Opens at Royal Birkdale. Something around 2 under par could be the winning score this time on a course that puts a premium on accuracy over distance. The key skills for good scoring are driving accuracy, greens in regulation and GIR putting. Players who can hit low iron shots and control the ball under the wind have a huge advantage and Garcia is one of the best iron players in the sport. He is currently 20/1 with William Hill.
The player formerly known as El Nino is no longer the best player to have never won a major and Hideki Matsuyama has taken that mantle. The number two player in the world rankings is knocking on the door in majors and has a game suited to Birkdale. He cannot be opposed in the top Rest of the World market and can make the payout places especially with bookmakers settling each way bets to eighth place. Garcia won the Masters Tournament and has the game to contend in the Open again.
However, the Open champion is more likely to be another Spanish golfer at the start of his career. One doubt would be Rahm’s ability to play links golf but that was put to bed convincingly in the Irish Open played on a classic links course. He won the tournament buy six shots after two rounds of 65 and 67 for a winning score of 24 under. That’s brilliant links form in the context of the Open and Rahm is tipped to win his first major at Birkdale in the championship that matters most.
JON RAHM has a great deal in his favour and can win the Open Championship.
Special Markets For The Open Championship
One of the most intriguing betting markets for the Open Championship is the winning score but bookmakers are often cautious about offering odds because the weather is such a major factor. Conditions were brutal when Royal Birkdale last staged the event in 2008 and Padraig Harington was the champion with a winning score of three over. The forecast for this week in the Southport area suggests there could be some strong breezes so even par could be good enough to win the most prestigious title in golf.
A market that is closely related to the winning score is the margin of victory. Harrington won by four shots in 2008 but there was a playoff to decide the previous Birkdale Open in 1998. Bad weather leads to higher scoring and a more bunched leaderboard. There is no standout player this year which suggests there won’t be a decisive winner so backing a winning margin of one shot at 9/4 with BetVictor is the best options in this market.
As befits the best golf tournament in the world punters have a wide selection of betting markets to consider. Place terms have been enhanced and Skybet are settling each way bets on the top 10 players. Other bookmakers are offering top 10 markets which in effect is place only betting and Francesco Molinari looks overpriced at 10/1 with Ladbrokes for a top 10 finish. He excels on courses that put a premium on accuracy over distance and Birkdale is in that category.
Hideki Matsuyama is a standing dish in the Top Asian player market and he is the man to back again. He is currently at a career high of number two in the world rankings and finished joint second in the US Open in June. Matsuyama looks like a major champion in waiting and it could happen this week but in any case he must be backed to record the highest finish of the contingent from Asia. Adam Scott is the player to have on your side when betting in the Top Australian market.
Jon Rahm is our main tip to win the Open so must be considered in the Top Continental Europe player which does not include Britain and Ireland, just like the EU in the future! Sergio Garcia (10/3 with Paddy Power) is a good saver to finish highest of the players from Europe, excluding British and Irish contenders. These bets point to Europe being the winning region which you can back at Evens with Boylesports.
At the time of writing bet365 are the only leading bookmakers offering odds for players to miss the cut. These odds are related to the outright betting because the outsiders are more likely not to qualify for the weekend than the market leaders. Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson look vulnerable and there could be some value in backing them to miss the cut. Poor weather can affect confidence quickly and its then difficult to make up any lost shots and the two former champions could suffer over the first 36 holes and then have a free weekend.
RORY MCILROY is out of form and could miss the cut and not play over the weekend.
- Royal Birkdale is 7,156 yards in length with a par of 70 and only two par 5s.
- Since 2000 nine players from the United States have won the Open.
- Nick Faldo was the last English winner in 1992.
- The average winning score over the last ten years is 9 under.
- There have been four playoffs this century and two wins by 1 shot.
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Today's banker double is Aberdeen (v Motherwell) and Villarreal (v Espanyol) at over 7/4 with bet365.
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