The golf world will be turning to Northern Ireland this week for the 148th Open Championship. All the world’s best will attempt the conquer Royal Portrush, a typical links-style course full of undulating fairways, devastating rough, raised greens, and potentially strong winds.
Rory McIlroy at 8/1 is the current favorite to win in his home country. He’s followed closely by four-time major champion Brooks Koepka at 10/1. The next tier features Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, and Tiger Woods, all at 14/1.
Following them is the best of the rest; a group that is highlighted by Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and defending champion Francesco Molinari.
Before giving our pick to win, there are a few things to consider when placing your bets or putting together your DFS lineups. In regards to the course, with the near-penal rough that surrounds almost every fairway, accuracy off the tee and approach will be important stats to look at. Chances are, a player who is always having to recover from a bad tee shot won’t fair as well this week.
In addition, bogey-avoidance should be looked at. Last year, Molinari won his first Open Championship thanks to a bogey-free final round of 69, overcoming both the surging field and the strong winds. If wind and/or rain is a big factor, the golfer who does the best job to limit mistakes under the conditions will fare very well.
Finally, there are recent trends that give an idea of what type of player wins the Open. First, seven of the last 10 champs were 35 or older at the time of winning. Next, nine of the last 10 winners had all finished within the top-10 at least once in this particular major. And lastly, eight of the last 10 players to win the Open were ranked inside the top-50 of the Official World Golf Rankings, or OWGR. By looking at this recent history, you can feel somewhat confident that an experienced player with a good track record in this tournament and a high world ranking should come out on top.
With all those things being said, here are the players with intriguing odds worth considering.
Rory McIlroy – 8/1
Sometimes the obvious choice is the best choice. Perhaps the pressure of playing in his home country will get to him a little bit. Or perhaps other golfers will simply play better. But the 2014 Open champion dominates this major, with top-five finishes in each of the last four years. And his performance at Royal Portrush? A record-low round of 61 that he shot as a 16-year-old. You should feel confident in Rory to be in contention come Sunday.
Justin Rose – 22/1
Rose is someone who, like McIlroy, enjoys flying across the pond and playing close to home. He finished T2 last year at Carnoustie with other top-10 finishes in year’s past. While he hasn’t played a lot this year, he’s been very good when he has, recently finishing third at last month’s U.S. Open. Rose fits the mold of the experienced golfer who could take down Royal Portrush.
Justin Thomas – 30/1
It seems that for whatever reason, JT is now forgotten about when you think of the elite golfers on the PGA Tour. Perhaps it was his wrist injury that ailed him for much of the year, but that seems to be a thing of the past. Now Thomas doesn’t have a great record at the Open Championship, but he did have an excellent outing at the Scottish Open last week. Since returning from injury, he has gained strokes off the tee and on approaches, and he is a hot putter away from being a top contender this week.
Matt Kuchar – 33/1
If you are set on following the stats and trends listed earlier in the article, it’s safe to say you’ll be drawn to Kuchar. His dynamic 2019 is thanks in large part to top-10 ranks in SG: approach and scrambling. He’s an accurate, experienced player who has three top-10s at the Open Championship. And at 33/1, it’s the exact type of player and odds we’re looking for when deciding who to roll with this week. Needless to say, we’re high on Kuchar.
Bryson DeChambeau – 45/1
DeChambeau is the sixth-best golfer in the world according to the OWGR, and yet he’s only 45/1. Meanwhile, the five players ahead of him are all 22/1 or better. Now granted, he has only played in two Open Championships and disappointed in both. But his recent form, which includes a T8 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and T2 at the 3M Open, indicate that the Mad Scientist may be a sneaky play. You’re not going to find these low of odds for this good a player often.
Marc Leishman – 65/1
In a loaded field, plenty of intriguing options remain in the group of players 65/1 or lower. One of them is Leishman, who has five top-10 finishes in majors. Three of those have come in the Open, as he’s one of the players who excels in windy conditions. If he is able to avoid some bogey trouble, Leishman could be a guy who finds himself in contention come Sunday.
Thanks to a strong field, there are tons of options outside of the Rory-Koepka-DJ group. On DraftKings, Rose is $9900, nearly $2K less than McIlroy. Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar, two players who flourish in the Open, are only $8800 and $8700, respectively. That’s why we recommend fading the top-tier guys and building a balanced lineup.
Using some of the players we’ve mentioned above, here’s a sample lineup of guys who could all win the entire tournament:
$9200 Bryson DeChambeau
$9100 Justin Thomas
$8700 Matt Kuchar
$7700 Marc Leishman
$7700 Ian Poulter
$7500 Rafael Cabrera-Bello
So many good choices are available, but only one can win. We’re going with someone who has experience, success in the Open, excellent form and is long-overdue for their first major. Matt Kuchar is the pick to win the 2019 Open Championship.