“Putting wins golf tournaments, [along with] chipping, bunker play, shots from 100 yards in”, added the 81-year-old South African. “It’s kind of like the flavour of the week – whoever wins that week, everyone wants to talk about, but you go to the tournament next week and no one wants to talk about who won last week”.
That’s not so far behind joint favourites Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson, all on 14/1, but it was enough to cause McIlroy to pause for thought when informed of the betting patterns.
The 41-year-old said it was “hoping for a lot” for him to emulate Padraig Harrington in winning back-to-back Open titles at Royal Birkdale, but his attitude had improved slightly by the time of his pre-championship press conference. Before that, he was proving he is the best player in the world with six top-10 results, including victories in the Genesis Open, the WGC-Mexico Championship and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Sergio Garcia, the No. 5 player in the world, has two career runner-up finishes at The Open Championship.
Now McIlroy comes to The Open out of form, having missed the cut at his last two events in Ireland and Scotland, and realistic about his chances for the week ahead. With that in mind, let’s jump into the 10 dark horses to win The Open Championship.
“Once you win one, obviously that’s off your shoulder”. And while the stats don’t show that he’s been great in terms of driving accuracy, he has been as of late coming off of the U.S. Open. He’s twice finished second at the British Open, and all signs point to him being in contention at Royal Birkdale. He also placed ninth in 2012. “And his coach, I love the way he thinks and teaches, so Rory could come back like that”, Player emphasised with a click of his fingers.
“A lot of the younger guys are physically gifted, but they don’t have the experience with links golf”.
Thomas Pieters is another dark horse this weekend.
The latest odds for The Open What happened a year ago? Rory McIlroy won at 17 under in 2014 at Royal Liverpool, Zach Johnson was at 15 under the next year at St. Andrews and Henrik Stenson set a tournament record of 20-under 264 last year at Royal Troon – including an electric final-round 63.
The 146th playing of The Open Championship now has a scheduled field of 156 of the best golfers in the world.
“There’s been a couple of injuries the last couple of years, and that sort of stopped me in my tracks”. Spieth is fourth in the FedExCup standings and also No. 3 in the world. I lipped out for eagle on 14 to go to seven under for the round and then finished four under.