Previews and pre-event analysis from Golf Betting System's PGA Tour and European Tour coverage
To read Steve Bamford's The Open Championship Tips for 2014 click here. Follow Steve on twitter: @bamfordgolf
The Open Championship needs no introduction as the Claret Jug is the most iconic piece of silverware in the golfing world; recognisable by billions of people around the globe. The oldest of the 4 Major Championships, The Open, or British Open as our friends across the Atlantic refer to it, is the most famous golf title in the world; challenged only by The Masters. Played at a number of links courses around the coast of the United Kingdom, 2014 sees the 143rd Open Championship being hosted at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake. Read Paul Williams' Open Championship tips for 2014 click here
Tournament Facts & Scheduling
The Open Championship is always played in July and is traditionally the third Major Championship of the golf season. It's a title that every professional golfer aspires to win with the recent roll of honour including Tiger Woods (x3), Ernie Els (x2), Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington (x2). But although the biggest players in golf have had success at The Open in recent times, shock wins are part and parcel of what's described as the most specialised Major. The nature of links golf throws up surprises and Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen and Stewart Cink have all won at Royal St Georges, St Andrews and Turnberry since 2009 at huge triple-digit odds.
Open Championship Course Details Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, The Wirral, Merseyside. Designer: Harry Colt, with Martin Hawtree renovation 2010; Course Type: Links Coastal; Par: 72 Length: 7,312 yards; Bunkers: 82 Fairways: Bentgrass with Poa annua; Rough: Bentgrass with Ryegrass/Fescue; Greens: 5,500 sq.ft average featuring Bentgrass Stimpmeter: 10.5ft Open Scoring Avg 2012: 71.98 Ranked 5 of 49 courses for difficulty on the 2012 PGA Tour 2013: 74.48 Ranked 2 of 43 courses in 2013 for difficulty.
Previous Champions: 2013: Phil Mickelson; 2012: Ernie Els; 2011: Darren Clarke; 2010: Louis Oosthuizen; 2009: Stewart Cink; 2008: Padraig Harrington.
Winners Scores: 2013: -3/281; 2012: -7/273; 2011: -5/275; 2010: -16/272; 2009: -2/272; 2008: -+3/283
Winners Prices: 2013: Mickelson - 20/1 2012: Els - 45/1 2011: Clarke - 200/1 2010: Oosthuizen - 250/1 2009: Cink - 135/1
Pre-Tournament Key Summary
There is absolutely no doubt that the Open Championship and links golf in general requires very specialised skills and experience. Talking of experience 6 of the last 7 Open Champions were 35 years of age or above when they lifted the Claret Jug; the exception being Louis Oosthuizen who grew up with links style golf at Mossel Bay on the South African coast. Direct top level experience of the Open Championship cannot be overlooked either. Since the turn of the century; only Ben Curtis (2003), Todd Hamilton (2004) and the aforementioned Oosthuizen (2010) have lifted the Claret Jug without previously finishing within the Top 20 of a previous Open Championship.
A grasp of technical golf is vital for success at any Open and it's worth noting that Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els both went into their Open campaigns just after landing Top 10 finishes in the prior U.S. Open. Links golf can be a real grind, especially if weather conditions are gnarly, so look for players who can mix it on tougher assignments.
Below we track the results of Golf Betting System European Tour tipster Paul Williams who has been producing weekly tips since 2009. You can also follow him on Twitter @GolfBetting.