British Open betting tips & predictions – the 146th British Open Championship returns to Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. It will be the 10th Open Championship played at Royal Birkdale having first hosted the tournament in 1954.
The club was simply known as Birkdale until 1951 when King George VI bestowed the royal charter on the club. The British Open Championship at Royal Birkdale is regarded as one of the best tests of links golf and widely recognised for its fairness.
Royal Birkdale has also hosted other marquee tournaments including the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup, Curtis Cup and the Ladies British Open Championship.
The course has produced many memorable moments including Arnold Palmer’s shot from a blackberry bush at the 16th hole in 1961. A plaque now sits to commemorate the feat that contributed to his first British Open victory.
Peter Thompson won the first and last of his five Claret Jugs at Royal Birkdale in 1954 and 1965 respectively. Padraig Harrington won on the last occasion the tournament was held at Royal Birkdale in 2008.
Situated in the North West coast of England, Royal Birkdale is one of the world’s best links. Fairways weave through impressive sand dunes that tower over the course. The dunes are one of the layout’s greatest assets giving the holes and greens great definition. The fairways for the most part are laid out in the valleys between the dunes.
Royal Birkdale is a Par 70 that can stretch to 7,156 yards from the Championship tees. By British Open standards, the layout has tight fairways requiring accurate ball-striking. Prior to the 1998 British Open, the greens were re-built and have a reputation of being extremely difficult to read.
Even when the wind is not blowing that strongly it is a course that produces a stiff challenge. However, when the wind gets up Royal Birkdale becomes a monster and breaking par becomes extremely challenging.
In 2008 Padraig Harrington won on a score of +3 which was four strokes better than Ian Poulter in second place. That year, +14 was enough to finish inside the Top 20. Camillo Villgegas shot the low round that year, a -5 (65) in the second round. He finished T39 on a score of +16 (296). In 1998 Mark O’Meara beat American Brian Watts in a playoff after both posted level par 280 totals.
Mother Nature will have her role to play on the outcome of the tournament so it is important to key an eye on the forecast.
The course sets the tone from the start with one of the most demanding opening holes on the British Open rota. It is a 445 yard Par 4 and it was the second hardest hole in each of the last two British Open Championship in 1998 and 2008.
Very few consecutive holes play in the same direction forcing play in to opposing wind directions or crosswinds. The key to playing Royal Birkdale is to hold a score for the outward nine. There are scoring opportunities on the inward nine, particularly with the two Par 5’s coming at No.15 and No.17. In 2008, Padraig Harrington was -8 for the two Par 5’s. View Padraig Harrington’s full scorecard for the 2008 British Open.
Patience will be key this week. Players will need to take their medicine after wayward shots and deal with whatever presents. More importantly, it will be imperative to capitalise on scoring opportunities when they arise. An ability to play in the wind is a must this week. Invariably greens will be missed so players will need to scramble well and have a better than average week with the flat-stick.
Royal Birkdale is a course that suits a player with superior ball-striking skills and in particular those who drive the ball long and well from the tee. This week is all about minimising unforced errors and capitalising on scoring opportunities when they present.
Like with all the Majors, it is worth holding back some wager money to have a bet in running after 36 or even 54 holes are completed.
Dustin Johnson 16/1, Jordan Spieth 16/1 and Rickie Fowler 16/1 are the Bookmakers favourites for this week’s British Open
British Open Betting Tips 2017