After failing to land a Major championship since his 2009 ‘annus horribilis’, Tiger Woods makes way for Nike stablemate Rory McIlroy at the top of the betting for the Open, and while neither superstar holds massive appeal at their double-figure odds, their respective countries do.
With the last 14 winners of Britain’s Major coming from either the island of Ireland, South Africa or the US, we’ve plucked one value contender from each for you to consider at Royal Liverpool.
The 2010 US Open champion stormed into a one-shot lead the last time this event was held in Hoylake back in 2006, before failing to press home his advantage with a second-round 73 and eventually falling back into the pack.
McDowell has finished in the Open’s top 25 four times over the past nine years, with his best result coming in 2012 when coming joint-fifth at Royal Lytham.
The 34-year-old looks much better value than fellow Ulster man and 10/1 favourite McIlroy, who has finished out of the top 20 for the last three years and missed the cut in 2013.
No reigning Masters champion has managed to add the Open to his yearly haul since Tiger Woods in 2005, but Gerry ‘Bubba’ Watson made a fine run at the double when tied for sixth after the first round at Royal Lytham two years ago, finishing a respectable joint-23rd by Sunday evening.
That was Bubba’s best Open result in five attempts, and the Florida native has to be respected on Merseyside after his fine season so far, which also includes a one-stroke loss to Patrick Reed in the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March.
South African golfers have lifted the Claret Jug in two of the past four Opens, including the last time the north west hosted in 2012 at Royal Lytham, when Ernie Els took it for the second time.
Schwartzel, whose first and so far only Major success came at Augusta in 2011, has finished tied for 16th or better in three of the last four years and gets our nod ahead of compatriot and 2010 Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, who can be backed at 50/1.