Who is going to come out on top at Royal Liverpool and become Champion Golfer of the Year? Steve Carroll makes his picks to win The Open
It’s the oldest major championship and, in the eyes of many, the best. The Claret Jug, the title of Champion Golfer of the Year, and the knowledge you’ve joined the legends of the game is part of what makes The Open so special.
The 151st renewal takes centre stage at Royal Liverpool in the final of this year’s big four championships, and we’ve been hitting the form books to see who will come out on top.
So who will write their name into golf immortality? Scroll down for our 2023 Open betting tips.
The Open 2023 betting tips and preview
Venue: Royal Liverpool, Wirral, Merseyside
Date: July 20 to 23, 2023
Course stats: Par 71; 7,383 yards
Course summary: A brawny golf course, Hoylake will boast the longest back 9 in Open history and a new hole in the short par 3 17th, Little Eye. 71 yards longer than in 2014, and with a reduced par from 72 to 71, members will be hoping for the wind to blow to allow Hoylake to really bear its teeth.
Defending champion: Cameron Smith (-20)
The Open 2023 betting tips
Rory McIlroy @ 15/2
I’ve picked the favourite. How daring of me. But while it may be a straightforward choice it also feels compelling. Yes, it’s been nine years since he last won a major, but he’s getting closer and closer and, eventually, he’s going to get it done.
Forget the Masters – I think Augusta’s just in his head now – and consider his last three major performances. He did nothing wrong at the 150th Open at St Andrews. Perhaps if you were hyper-critical, he played a bit sensibly in the final round but it’s hard to cope with someone throwing five straight birdies at you as Cameron Smith did.
He was well in the frame at the PGA Championship, finishing tied-seventh, and we all know what happened on the last day at LA Country Club. That’s compelling major form and now he’s returning to the scene of one of his greatest triumphs.
The course has altered a little since then, particularly with the new par 3 and the expanded 18th, but Rory’s going to be one of the few players in the field that can legitimately handle a 611-yard par 5.
There was a lot of talk about a browned-off, dry, dusty Open but the recent pictures I’ve seen of the course have it looking a fair bit greener. There is bits of rain forecast throughout the week and, again, anything that makes the course play a bit longer plays into McIlroy’s hands.
Hoylake was becalmed in 2014. There’s a bit more wind forecast this time, particularly on the final day, and it will be interesting to see how Rory copes with that and if he’s once again in the frame. I always feel his high ball flight does not suit gusty links conditions, though events at Renaissance suggest he has found a way to get it done.
But with a win, two runners up, and eight top 10s in 13 PGA Tour starts, and DP World Tour wins in Dubai and Scotland on the CV this year, his form is undoubtedly fantastic. It’s the expectations we set for McIlroy that hinders our judgement, not how he’s actually performing week-to-week.
I’d be surprised if he wasn’t in the frame.
Rickie Fowler @ 22/1
It looks like I’m going down 2014 memory lane here (if only Sergio was in the field and I could have the full set) but Rickie Fowler’s back in the kind of form that allowed him to almost hunt down Rory last time at Hoylake.
That was the year the American finished top five in all the big four events and it’s well known he enjoys links conditions – having been a former winner of the Scottish Open.
A good week at Renaissance would merely carry on the momentum of the last few months, capped by that emotional victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
His form all season on the PGA Tour has been most encouraging. A win, a runner up, eight top 10s and 15 top 25 finishes in 20 starts – with just two cuts missed – is the model of top-drawer consistency.
Second in total driving efficiency, eighth in strokes gained total in tee-to-green, seventh in approach the green, there’s a lot to like about his game and his overall accuracy ahead of a return to Hoylake.
Taylor Gooch each-way @ 80/1
Your view on this will depend on how you look at LIV Golf form. For those of you who think it’s an exhibition circuit, you won’t be interested.
But if you think winning is a habit then 80/1 (and he’s as big as 100 in some places) could be a massive price on a guy who’s won three times this year and is pressing US skipper Zach Johnson for a Ryder Cup pick.
In on the back of his FedEx Cup performances last year, the 31-year-old’s Open form is solid if not spectacular. He was tied 33rd at Royal St George’s, and tied 34th at St Andrews last year.
You surely won’t find a player higher in confidence, though. His performances over the last 12 to 18 months have been top drawer, and I think he’s under-rated.
Best of the rest
Min Woo Lee’s won a Scottish Open, and a Victoria Open on a pretty linksy track at 13th Beach. Tied for fifth at LA Country Club at the US Open, and with solid displays at both the Travelers Championship and the British Masters, he’ll have plenty of supporters at prices from 40 to 66/1.
Keegan Bradley, off the back of winning the Travelers, doesn’t have much Open form of which to speak. But in the middle of the last decade, he did put a run together of three top 20s in four years – and one of those was at Hoylake (tied 19th). He’s as big as 100/1 for a guy who won just a few weeks ago.
It’s Denny McCarthy’s Open debut and who knows how he’ll take to Hoylake. What we do know is that he was tied sixth and seventh in his last two starts, lost the Memorial Tournament in a playoff to Viktor Hovland, and finished tied 20th in the US Open.
Links doubts or not, he is surely a better player than the 100/1 up to 150/1 you can get on him in some places. It’s worth an each-way pound, isn’t it?
What do you think? Who could come away from Royal Liverpool with the Claret Jug, and who’s going to have a good week? Let me know with a tweet.
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