British Open 2017

July 17, 2017

2017 British Open Preview

All is in readiness for the 2017 Open Championship to be played at the Royal Birkdale Golf Course in Southport, England. The Open, as it is affectionately known, is arguably the most intriguing of the majors, not only due to the unpredictability of links golf, but also due to the weather conditions that can exert major influence over throughout the tournament. The 2017 British Open will be no exception with consistent winds of 25kmh forecast each day’s play.

18th Hole at Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Royal Birkdale, whilst a fine links golf course, is different to most other courses on the British Open rota. The holes at Birkdale tend to play in between the dunes, as opposed to over and across them. As a result, the holes often play through valleys, with the fairways tending to be quite flat. The greens are also on the benign side for a links golf course. It is these two characteristics of the Birkdale course that leads many pundits to declare that the course is one of the fairest of all the British Open courses, and potentially provides US golfers less familiar with the links game more of a chance.

The weather didn’t quite blow as hard as predicted during last year’s British Open, it was however still a factor. Whilst there is no real rain forecast for the 2017 Open, the wind is predicted to hover around the 25kmh mark. So despite the Royal Birkdale course potentially suiting American golfers more so, the wind is likely to negate that advantage and will likely bring the tried-and-trued experienced links golfers to the fore.

On paper it might seem an impossible task to try and predict a winner from a field of 150 players, especially when you throw in the vagaries of links golf and forecast weather conditions; however, there are significant trends that help to identify the British Open winner.

Look at previous Open records

Perhaps the most pertinent of all statistics is that 11 of the past 12 Open winners have previously finished in the top 6 in the event. Of these 11, 8 had finished in the top 3. This indicates that we should be looking for players that have performed at the Open in previous years. The official Open website provides the past performance record of all players teeing it up at Royal Birkdale this week and is a great source of information.

Scottish Open lead in

Since the Scottish Open venue moved from the parkland layout of Loch Lomond to more suitable links courses, 6 of the past 7 winners have played in the traditional lead up event to The Open. Although a relatively small sample size, this trend is simply too strong to ignore.

Age of the winner

Whilst age should be no barrier to perform well at the event, there is a significant recent trend towards older players winning the British Open. Eight of the past 10 winners were aged 35 or over. This suggests that to win on the less-commonly played links terrain takes a level of experience and familiarity only acquired after playing many Open tournaments. Indeed, last time The Open was played at Royal Birkdale, a 53 year-old, Greg Norman, led the field with 9 holes to play.

Tips & selections

  • Adam Scott - $26
  • Sergio Garcia - $19
  • Rickie Fowler - $17
  • Ian Poulter - $67

Using these significant trends, it is now easier to look to identify the winner. Incredibly, there were only a handful of US players in the field at last week’s Scottish Open. Of the US contingent there, only Rickie Fowler looks the most appealing. Fowler finished 2nd in the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool. Whilst, he is well under the 35-year barrier, his 2017 form and previous links performances make him a serious contender this week.

Adam Scott, is the player that ticks all of the boxes. He is 39 years old, played in the traditional lead up event, and has four top 5 finishes at The Open including a heart-breaking 2nd in 2013 at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Not only is he our tip this week he is at remarkably good odds of $26 with Bet365.

Ian Poulter is another who played in the Scottish Open last week. He ticks the age box, and like Scott, has also experienced a gut-wrenching 2nd at the Open before, in fact, it was at the Royal Birkdale course back in 2008. Poulter also boasts a 3rd at the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield.

After waiting so long to notch his maiden major victory at the 2017 US Masters, it wouldn’t surprise to see Sergio Garcia take out the Open as well, after all the monkey is finally off his back. Garcia is a fine shot-maker and exponent of links golf, and boasts a remarkable record at the Open. He has finished in the top 5 on no less than 5 occasions, and finished inside the top 10 an additional 5 times. Included amongst these results are 2 second-place finishes. Just like London buses that arrive in two’s after a long wait, we believe Garcia is a great chance this week, despite not teeing it up the Dundonald Links course last week.

Despite the trends providing pointers towards several contenders, betting on a golf event is not easy. There are many players that could potentially win. It’s worth considering using a portion of a sign up bonus, like the one issued by Ladbrokes to limit any potential losses.