Well, you could have guessed it, really, given previous Open tournaments, but Tiger Woods and Justin Rose are once again paired together at Royal Lytham and St Annes. That makes almost a half of The British Opens in the last decade that the two have been drawn together, with St Andrews, Carnoustie and Muirfield, two, five and ten years hence respectively making the 2012 the fourth time.
To make up the trio this year for the first two days at Royal Lytham and St Annes is the surprisingly short-priced Sergio Garcia. Given his recent title drought, Paddy Power reckon he’s in with a decent outside chance pricing the Spaniard at 40/1.
But it is the other two in that pairing that make the trio the group most likely to produce the winner. Tiger Woods was quoted at 9/1 and Rose eighteens, accumulatively, there is no pairing with shorter combined odds than these three, according to the bookies at least.
In recent events – those that he’s not won – Tiger has set the pace on the first two days, but fallen back after the cut. Let’s hope Mr Woods can pull out a similar performance here at The Open and Rose and Garcia raise their golf games similarly to justify those odds. At time of writing, they tee off in about an hour.
Lee Westwood also tees off with an American golfer who has had his hands around a Major title. The Worksop Wonder is paired with reigning Masters Champion Bubba Watson and Yoshinori Fujimoto of Japan. Bubba had the game at Augusta earlier this year to keep Westwood at bay finishing just two shots ahead and then had the nerve to hold off Oosthuizen at the second play-off hole to pick up his maiden Major. How Lee would dearly love to win his here.
And talking of Oosthuizen, he’s also amongst other Major-winning pedigree in reigning US PGA Champion Keegan Bradley and Northern Ireland’s favourite son Rory McIlroy, the 2011 US Open winner. McIlroy is short-priced at eighteens, too, given his recent loss of form and will need to keep control of the golf ball to be in contention for his second Major.
Completing the world’s current top four going into Open weekend we have Luke Donald who, although has spent over a year in the number one spot is yet to achieve his first Major success, too. He’s joined by Phil Mickleson who had a decent Scottish Open last week and similarly finished two shots off the pace at Augusta in a four-way tie for third with the aforementioned Westwood, Peter Hanson and Matt Kuchar.