2022 British Open preview, best bets

July 12, 2022 07:21 PM
USATSI_18687779

Xander Schauffele continued his hot summer run with a victory at the Genesis Scottish Open last week, which gave him the largest OWGR points gain of his career and moved him from No. 11 to No. 5 in the world. Schauffele, priced at around 18-1, held on by a stroke over Kurt Kitayama. He won the Travelers Championship three weeks ago and the J.P. McManus Pro-Am, an unofficial event, last Tuesday. His best finish at the British Open was a runner-up in 2018 at Carnoustie. Schauffele has now assumed the second-shortest price (14-1) for the year's final major championship at St. Andrews. Along with being placed on the short list of favorites, Schauffele is also on the short list for the “best players who have never won a major.” 

The shortest price on the board is 10-1 for 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year Rory McIlroy, who was the only player in the OWGR Top 15 not to play last week at the Scottish Open. He spent last week preparing on links courses around Ireland with Tiger Woods, among others. McIlroy, the World No. 2, is attempting to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship. He has shown well in all three majors this season (second, Masters; eighth, PGA; fifth, U.S. Open), but winning a fifth career major has eluded him. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler (18-1), who missed the cut last week, is still the leader in the clubhouse to win Player of the Year honors with four victories in 2022 (Phoenix Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational, WGC-Match Play, Masters). Scheffler finished eighth last year in his British Open debut at Royal St. George’s. World No. 3 Jon Rahm has drifted up as high as 18-1 this week. He posted his best finish in the British Open last year with a third-place finish. Jordan Spieth (16-1), the 2017 Open champion, finished runner-up last year to Collin Morikawa (30-1 this week) and missed the playoff by one shot in 2015, the last time the British Open was held at St. Andrews. Morikawa has four Top 5 finishes this year, including at The Masters and the U.S. Open, but has dropped to No. 8 in the world after finishing 2021 as the OWGR No. 2. 

The last major champion, U.S. Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick (18-1), finished sixth last week but has never finished better than 20th in the British Open. However, he has also never been in the OWGR Top 10, which is where he stands now. PGA champion Justin Thomas has drifted up to a price of 22-1 with a couple of down performances, including missing the cut by seven shots (+ 10) last week in Scotland and a 37th-place finish at the U.S. Open. Thomas has never finished in the Top 10 at the British Open in five appearances. Shane Lowry (25-1) won the Claret Jug in 2019 at Royal Portrush and has three Top 3 finishes in 2022, including at The Masters. 

Aside from Schauffele, the highest-ranked players yet to win a major include World No. 4 Patrick Cantlay (25-1), who was fourth last week; World No. 6 Cameron Smith (28-1), who won The Players Championship in March; World No. 9 Viktor Hovland (50-1), who has dropped from No. 3 in the OWGR and is without a Top 10 finish since early March; World No. 11 Sam Burns (45-1), who has three victories this season; and World No. 13 Will Zalatoris (30-1), who has finished 6-2-2 in this year’s first three majors. 

Former British Open champions at St. Andrews this week include 2000 and 2005 winner Woods, who is priced anywhere from 50-1 to 100-1, 2010 winner Louis Oosthuizen (40-1), 2015 winner and 2023 Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson (300-1) and 1995 winner John Daly (1000-1). 

The Event

This year marks the 150th British Open (established in 1860) in its customary spot, starting before the third Friday in July. The British Open is sanctioned and governed by the R&A, which is a colloquial name from the Royal Ancient Club of St. Andrews. Although based at St. Andrews, the R&A is separate from the actual golf club.

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