British Open Preview

R&A - The Open Championship - 18-21 July 2013
Muirfield Links, Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland

INTRODUCTION

This is the 3rd Major of the season and the 142nd iteration of this famous event that dates back to 1860!

Muirfield most recently hosted The Open in 2002 when Ernie Els won a 4-man playoff. That 2002 event put paid to Tiger's hopes of a Grand Slam when he shot a career-worst 3rd round 81 in wind & rain though it's worth noting that a number of players shot in the 60's that day. The same Grand Slam fate befell Jack Nicklaus in 1972, also at Muirfield!

COURSE

For The Open, which Muirfield hosts for the 16th time, it will play to its traditional 7000 yd par 71, including three shortish par 5's. It's very much a classic Scottish links and easier than many with its generous views of almost all holes from the tees and its fairly flat landing zones.

However, you don't want to visit the rough or those cavernous bunkers and the unique layout makes reading the wind a necessity. As iseekgolf states, "Muirfield is arranged as two loops of nine holes, one clockwise, one counterclockwise. This means that, assuming the wind direction remains the same throughout a round, every hole on the course has a different apparent wind direction from the tee."

It has been said of Muirfield that it's a fair all-round test of all aspects of the game and a course that only rewards great champions. Looking through the list of winners, that may well be true given the Muirfield winners over the past 100 years: Els, Faldo twice, Watson, Trevino, Nicklaus, Player & Hagen! No Hamilton's, Oosthuizen's, Clarke's, Cink's or Curtis's on that list, with all due respect to those recent Open winners!

MARKET

Tiger & Rory started out the year as short-priced favourites and Tiger retains favouritism, albeit at a drifting 10.00 owing to his elbow strain. Rory, on the other hand, has drifted all the way out to 29.00 and is given little chance of contending.

Others in the market include: last week's winner Mickelson at 19.00, major-monkey-off-the-back duo Scott & Rose also around the 19.00 mark. Then come McDowell, Els & Garcia at 26.00 followed by Westwood, Donald & Day

SELECTIONS

I like Ernie Els to win this at 29.00 (Bet365). He has all the form credentials being both the reigning Open champion and the reigning Muirfield champion (2002) and with a recent win in Munich, backing up from his US Open 4th.

My next selections are Top 10 bets on two young players who simply keep delivering despite their unfamiliarity with courses and conditions: 19-y-o Jordan Spieth @ 13.00 and 21-y-o Hideki Matsuyama @ 17.00.

Persevering with the youth theme, my final selection is for each way punters and is the guy I reckon is the juiciest over among those in the market - Matteo Manassero @ 67.00.

Cheers and good luck with your punting

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