Fans return to the eastern coast of England for the playing of the 149th Open Championship after last year’s tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions. Royal St. George’s Golf Club plays host to its 15th Open Championship and first since 2011. The four-day, 72-hole event is the final major of the season and begins on Thursday and concludes on Sunday.
Shane Lowry is the defending champion after a six-shot victory over Tommy Fleetwood two years ago. The last time the Open Championship was played here, another longshot golfer emerged as the victor. Darren Clarke won his first and only major championship in 2011, holding off Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.
Bettors wanting to get in on the action before players tee off early Thursday morning should visit the BetUS sportsbook and place your wagers.
Rahm Headlines Betting Favorites, Explains Swing
The current U.S. Open champion is a heavy online betting favorite to take home his second major title in as many tries. While Rahm slipped back to No. 2 in the OWGR after a seventh-place finish last week at the Scottish Open, golf fans know this guy has been at the top of his game over the previous few months.
Rahm has finished in the top-10 in over 60% of his starts this year, including five T5s or better. The 26-year old is first on Tour in both scoring average and Strokes Gained: Total. While the recent play and statistics point to Rahm as an obvious favorite, he has yet to post a top-10 finish at the Open.
Rahm went into detail during Tuesday’s press conference explaining his unique swing. “I have certain unique parts and certain physical limitations that let me swing the way I swing,” Rahm said.
Brooks Koepka (+1600), Xander Schauffele (+1800), Jordan Speith (+1800), Justin Thomas (+2000), Rory McIlroy (+2000), and Dustin Johnson (+2200) round out the list of top betting favorites for golf picks.
List Grows to 17 of Tournament Withdrawals
Players have voiced their displeasure with the R&A’s tight restrictions for players and their travel parties this year. This, along with the upcoming Olympics, has led to an unusually high number of withdrawals from the prestigious event.
Seven of the top-75 players in the world have withdrawn from the tournament due to different factors. The 2015 Open Champion Zach Johnson was the most recent big game that had to pull out of the tournament after a positive COVID test Sunday following the John Deere Classic. Johnson joins Masters champion Hideki Masuyama and two-time major winner, Bubba Watson, as players that have recently tested positive for the virus.
Other notable names not making the trip to England include Kevin Na (travel requirements), Ryan Moore (back injury), Danny Lee (undisclosed), Sungjae Im (Olympics), Si Woo Kim (Olympics), Matthew Wolfe (undisclosed), and Cameron Davis (visa).
Highlighted Groups on Day 1 and 2
While many notable players are missing this year’s Open Championship, most of golf’s big names remain in the field, and a handful of them will be playing together over the first two days of the tournament.
Jordan Spieth/Bryson DeChambeau/Brendan Grace – 4:25 am ET
Two of the betting favorites and one darkhorse pick in Brendan Grace. All three players have PGA Tour victories this season. This will be the second tournament for DeChambeau playing without former caddie Tim Tucker.
Shane Lowry/Jon Rahm/Louis Oosthuizen – 4:58 am ET
Two Open champions, including the defense and the most recent major champion, paired together. Oosthuizen was in the driver’s seat at the U.S. Open before a late drive out of bounds opened the door for Rahm. Lowry could be the first back-to-back champion since Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008.
Justin Thomas/Tommy Fleetwood/Adam Scott – 10:10 am ET
Three of the world’s best golfers with only a combined two majors. Neither of these guys are coming into Royal St. George’s in top form, but it’s hard to point to another grouping with more talent than this one.
Dustin Johnson/Will Zalatoris/Justin Rose – 5:20 am ET
Johnson and Rose are major winners still searching for an Open Championship victory. Zalatoris has three top-10 finishes in five major appearances in his young career.