The Open Championship is held annually during the third weekend in July at courses located in the United Kingdom and is the oldest golf tournament in the world. The first Open Championship was played in 1860 and it has been held near-continuously since, with periodic disruptions due to World Wars and the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament is an official European Tour event and is jointly sanctioned by the PGA Tour and is operated by the Royal & Ancient (R&A), which along with the USGA is responsible for maintaining the global rules of golf.
As a major championship, betting odds for The Open Championship are available far in advance of the tournament, sometimes as soon as the completion of the prior year’s event. The early future Golf Odds are generally restricted to a bet on the player who will win the tournament, with a number of others becoming available as the actual date of the tournament approaches.
The 150th Open Championship will take place in 2022 at St. Andrews on the Old Course, generally considered the birthplace of the game, for a record 30th time, with the 2023 event held for the 13th time at Royal Liverpool. The Open Championship is played at a different venue each year, with ten courses usually comprising the rota (short for rotation) with other courses occasionally included at the discretion of the R&A and the global nature of the event makes it more of a world Championship Open.
The majority of the layouts in the rota are links courses, defined as being located near a coast with the topography dominated by sand dunes or other natural terrain which was used without much change to the original environment. A links course requires a type of shot making not generally associated with the modern game where players hit high shots that rely on spin to stop the ball on the putting surface.
Fairways are defined by humps that occurred naturally over which the course was designed, creating unpredictable bounces that put players in positions that they may not be prepared for. There isn’t usually much rough just off the fairways, but beyond that players can expect high native grasses that are left to grow without any intervention by the groundskeepers.
Playing links courses requires experience and creativity, along with the ability to hit shots with a lower trajectory that take advantage of the natural undulations of the course, as well as being patient enough to deal with the unexpected outcomes as a result of what are many times out of the control of the player. Another factor in The Open Championship is the weather, which in many cases can put part of the field at a disadvantage relative to other players, especially since thunderstorms are rare which means that play is rarely suspended except for severe winds that make it difficult for balls to come to rest on the greens.
Because of the often windy conditions, the green speeds at The Open Championship are generally much slower than what Tour players see on a weekly basis, especially in the United States. Instead of speeds of 12 or 13 on the stimpmeter at PGA and European Tour events, the greens on a links course or other rota layouts could be as slow as nine or ten, requiring a big adjustment for many players, especially those with limited experience in The Open Championship.