The 150th Open Championship will be held at the Old Course, St Andrews. Here, Sophie Walker discusses where the value may lie ahead of the final major of 2022.
The ‘Home of Golf’ will welcome over 250,000 fans to the east coast of Scotland. This is literally where golf began and The Open is the oldest major championship in golf. 156 players will tee up next Thursday, all dreaming of lifting the famous Claret Jug and earning the right to be called ‘The Champion Golfer of the Year’.
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The course is a public links which is famous for its deep bunkers and gigantic greens. Fourteen of the greens at the Old Course are shared between holes. Originally a 22-hole golf course, it was changed to 18 in 1764 which is why the standard golf course is 18 holes in total.
Being on the right side of the draw is never more important than at an Open Championship.
The par 72, 7,305 yards course has been altered over the last decade to protect it against the Tour players’ length. Nine of the 14 par 4’s have been changed on the “Old Lady” and with the weather set to be fair you can expect the course to look brown and be firm and fast.
Its only protection is the elements, especially the wind, so make sure you check that against tee times before committing to your pick, as being on the right side of the draw is never more important than at an Open Championship. Having played the course many times, the simple rule is to hit the ball left from the tee to avoid the pot bunkers.
The Open 2022: Trends to look for in the winner
Jack Nicklaus once said, “If you’re gonna be a player that’s gonna be remembered, you must win at St Andrews.”
13 of the last Open champions have been first-time winners of the Claret Jug.
There is plenty of history to look at, as this will be the 30th Open held on the Old Course. There is a DP World Tour event held annually at this venue and plenty of players say this is their favoured golf course. Tommy Fleetwood loves the place and Tiger Woods once said “It's my favourite course in the world.”
The scores in the three championships held here since 2000 are -14, -16, and -19 making it the easiest of the Open venues. Justin Rose won the Amateur Links trophy here in 1997 and Tyrrell Hatton – the St Andrews specialist – will be looking to make it two English major champions in a row after Matt Fitzpatrick’s US Open victory.
The Open Championship 2022: Who are the favourites?
The world number one is having the most incredible year. With a stroke average of 69, he hits more greens in regulation than anyone else on the PGA Tour. This has led to him winning four titles and recording nine top-10 finishes. For most people, he has only come onto their radar this year but he has had six top-eight finishes in nine major championships, including a bounce back from a missed cut at the PGA Championship with a second-place at last month's US Open. The 26-year-old, at 14.880* with Pinnacle’s traders, makes an average of five birdies a round and is looking to follow his fellow Texan Jordan Spieth in winning The Masters and The Open.
With no weakness in his game, he is 38th in driving, eighth in approach, and 31st in putting.
Schauffele’s game is built for the majors with nine top-10 finishes in 21 attempts, and he has captured two PGA Tour titles already this season. The world number 11 is fourth in strokes gained total on the PGA Tour this year. With no real weakness in his game, he is 38th in driving, eighth in approach, and 31st in putting. One of his strongest attributes that cannot be measured is his mind. Schauffele (21.170*) is happy being the underdog, the guy in the shadows. The Californian recorded a second-place finish in the 2018 Open and the Olympic champion would love to go one better and win his first major. At the time of writing, Schauffele is capturing the JP McManus Pro-am title against an incredibly strong field.
The Open Championship 2022: Where could the betting value lie?
Tyrrell Hatton has won two Alfred Dunhill Links Championships and finished second twice in his last five starts in that DP World Tour event. His form hasn’t been standout in regular tour events but he has posted a 13th-place finish in the PGA Championship this season. Importantly for St Andrews, he is currently fifth in putting on the PGA Tour. The greens here are massive so hitting them isn’t a problem but your pace putting needs to be excellent. The 30-year-old loves playing links golf and has had an all-or-nothing relationship with The Open. He either misses the cut or finishes in the top 10 hence why his odds with Pinnacle at 46.490* are volatile.
The other player to consider is Justin Rose. He was second in 2018 at Carnoustie and sixth in the last Open at St Andrews. The 41-year-old leapt into the limelight thanks to an eagle on his final hole in 1998 aged 17. The former Scottish Open winner is looking to become the first English winner of the Claret Jug since Nick Faldo in 1992. The 2013 US Open winner – at 60.610* with Pinnacle, has been seen practicing on the course already this month and has good memories after winning a top amateur event here as a junior.
The Open Championship 2022: The outsiders
Min Woo Lee is the younger brother of two-time major champion Minjee Lee and is in the form of his life. Already a two-time DP World winner, the 23-year-old has captured those titles around links golf courses. The Australian will have taken great confidence from his 14th place finish at the Masters this year, proving to himself he can mix with the best. At 69th in the world but at odds of 96.000* with Pinnacle, the big-hitting Lee is good value at St Andrews.
Ryan Fox (70.250*) was my outsider last year but should be on more bettors’ radars thanks to his incredible run on the DP World tour recently. Since his win in February, he hasn’t finished worse than 15th in any regular tour event. The Kiwi is turning into a links specialist with a win in the Irish Open and dominating performances on windy golf courses thanks to his extreme power. He regularly features inside the top 10 for driving distance on tour (he is built like an All Black rugby player). The 35-year-old is putting like a dream too, only 11 men are better than him this season in Europe, while his stroke average is an impressive 69.63.
The excitement levels ahead of this event are through the roof, so I hope this insight serves you well when deciding who to pick for this year's Open Championship with Pinnacle’s unrivalled odds.