Thanks to Rory McIlroy’s absence, Jordan Spieth arrives in Scotland for this week’s Open Championship as the undisputed 6/1 favourite.
Even if the Northern Irishman, who is ruled out of the tournament through injury, was able to take his place, Spieth could make a compelling case to lead the market anyway.
As the young American bids to win both his and the year’s third major, news.ladbrokes brings you the five things you really need to know for the St Andrews tournament:
1) Russell Knox replaces McIlroy in the field, but not the betting
McIlroy’s misfortune of picking up an ankle injury during a social game of football just weeks before the Open is to Knox’s benefit.
The world number one and defending champion will be replaced by Knox, an Open debutant and seven-year pro, in all but price, as Ladbrokes make him a 200/1 shot to win the Claret Jug.
The 30-year-old warmed up in style for his first assault on the tournament, finishing in a tie for 10th at last week’s Scottish Open.
2) Watch the weather forecast as much as the golf
There was perhaps no better example of the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of St Andrews than in the opening two rounds of the 2010 competition, the last time the Open was held there.
In favourable conditions, McIlroy shot a barnstorming nine-under-par 63 in the opening round, but followed up with a horrific 80 in the eye of a second-round storm.
The forecast for the first two rounds of this year’s edition suggests morning players will get the benefit of conditions, with late afternoon rain expected on both days.
3) Tom Watson will make an unceremonious Open farewell
No doubt the decorated American will draw a fair crowd as he embarks on his last ever Open Championship. However, a repeat of his 2009 fairytale, when he finished as runner-up, shouldn’t be expected.
The 1000/1 shot has not cracked the top 20 in the tournament since that finish and has a results line of Cut, T41 and T55 in the last three editions at St Andrews.
4) Rickie Fowler is using Phil Mickelson as inspiration
Last week Fowler got into the links-golf spirit by winning the Scottish Open by one stroke. Afterwards he pointed to the example Mickelson set two years earlier, when he followed up his own Scottish Open triumph with success at the Open.
As 16/1 third-favourite in the betting, Fowler definitely stands a chance of following in Lefty’s footsteps, while two top-five finishes in the last four years in the tournament does his case no harm.
5) Length and accuracy off the tee is vital
In the last three editions of the St Andrews-based Open, the winner has combined both devastating distances off the peg with laser-guided precision.
Louis Oosthuizen in 2010 and Tiger Woods in both 2005 and 2000 finished inside the top 10 for each discipline during their successful week, making the need to find a golfer proficient in both areas vital for 2015.
20/1 chance Henrik Stenson is the only man in the field to rank in the top 30 for each category on either tour.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.