PGA Tour Betting: The Open Championship

Rory McIlroy - Brooks Koepka - The Open Championship Logo

After an incredibly unpredictable few weeks between the US Open and this week’s Open Championship from Northern Ireland, hopefully focusing in on top tier golfers who excel in thick fields will pay dividends.

The previous three weeks have been especially unnerving for 90% of golf bettors and writers like myself.

The Rocket Mortgage Classic was a complete run-away for Nate “Who” Lashley as he out-shot the field by 6 strokes to finish at 25 under par for the tourney. Nate from Nebraska has paid his dues, though, as a professional since 2005, and finally earned his PGA Tour card just last year.

Then, at the 3M Open that took place on Independence Day weekend, I really thought we were onto something with the Bryson Dechambeau pick to win.

Of course, he was beaten by a 26-foot eagle putt from the fringe by a freaking rookie by the name of Matt Wolff.

A tip of the Hogan hat deservedly goes to Matt as he brought a level of excitement that was rather unexpected to an “in-between Majors” tournament.

Last week’s John Deere classic has two rookies at the top of the betting board and while neither was able to win, Colin Morikawa notched his second top 4 finish in as many weeks.

South African Dylan Fratelli held off a furious final round of 10 under shot by Russel Henley to capture the win.

That brings us to the week we’ve all been waiting for…

The Open Championship aka the British Open should be an absolute gem.

The rain has been in abundance on the coast of Northern Ireland and the word is, it has never looked so green.

Many experts and PGA pros alike have been commenting that the past increase in precipitation along with minimal winds in the forecast should each help the course play a bit easier.

Lower scores, by British Open standards at least, are expected.

I would expect scores to be somewhere in the low to mid-teens by the end of the weekend.

Royal Portrush is a coastal links-style course. There aren’t very many bunkers and it plays rather straightforward. The difficult greens are normally the hardest part of the course. How the course is going to play will rely heavily on the variability of the weather. You can get all four seasons in one day on this gorgeous Northern European course.

I would keep a close eye on the weather websites as the opening tee time approaches. If there is wind, you will have to look at golfers who can adjust on the fly, if you will.

Marc Leishman is a name that comes to mind right off-top.

Tournament favorite and hometown boy, Rory McIlroy is another exceptional wind player.

He has won The Open before and holds the course record here at Royal Portrush of a 61.

Even though he is only 8-1 to win, he is a name that cannot be ignored when making our picks.

I want to get some wins this week, so we may go with him at nearly even money to snag his 12th top ten in just his 15th appearance on the PGA Tour.

There are several other golfers I could go on about right now as the field at this Major event is obviously loaded but let’s get to making these picks.

It’s summertime and I know you have home repairs and honey-do lists to get to.

BetOnline has the odds for us this week.

Here we go!

Webb Simpson

He’s not really a links-style course killer but he has had top twenty finishes at the Open in the past.

He’s top twenty in the world this year as well, and Webb even cracks the top ten in strokes gained overall on the PGA Tour.

That’s pretty good for a guy with zero wins this season.

I don’t think he has the juice to win the tournament but a top twenty finish is well within reach for the North Carolina-native.

If the winds pick up, he has a top 30 driving accuracy to fall back on as well as top ten in sand save percentage.

His scoring average is 4th for the year. I don’t think we can ignore Simpson as a 3-1 dog to crack the top twenty.

My Pick
Simpson to Finish in the Top 20

Xander Schauffele

I worry a bit about X-Man’s driving accuracy on a course that punishes bad shots off the tee.

Once again, though, the strength and direction of the winds will heavily affect golfers performances and strategies.

One thing I like here is that Schauffele appears to play up to his competition.

He won the Tournament of Champions at the beginning of the year while not being the most consistent golfer on Tour, he has brought his best game to the Majors.

16th at the PGA Championship is pretty darn solid but it’s his 3rd and 2nd place finishes at the Masters and US Open respectively that stand out to me.

I don’t have to do the math for you to see he has great value in this position.

Xander will also be very well-rested having taken a long break with no appearances since the US Open a month ago.

My Pick
Schauffele to Finish in the Top 20

Rory McIlroy

Bettors are staying away from McIlroy because he’s the favorite and “value”.

I just don’t understand that.

As of late, I’ve learned a “valuable” lesson in my golf picks and my MMA picks as well. Chasing value is cool and all but if it goes against logic or your gut, then why?

It’s not like he is minus money to win.

He’s still 8 to 1.

Here you can get him even money to do something he’s done nearly 80% of the time all season.

11 top tens in 14 appearances are, to borrow from my former drill instructor, out-stinkin-standing.

His driving accuracy is only a slight concern but not really.

Did I mention he holds the course record here with a 61?

I did in the introduction, I believe.

Just put him on your card.

My Pick
McIlroy to Finish in the Top 10

Brooks Koepka

I don’t have to tell you about this guy even if you’re not a golf fan and just want to make some cash like anybody else.

He wins half the majors he enters and if he doesn’t win, he’s in the top five.

You can get him at around even money to finish top ten which I feel like is a sure bet but 1, 2, and 2 in Majors this year tells you all you need to hear.

If the winds stay calm, it will likely benefit him even more.

I can see Rory edging him out with longer drives but not betting on Koepka in a Major is, well, a major mistake.

Lame-duck joke, yes, but since this is a big tournament, a lame-duck he is not.

My Pick
Koepka to Finish in the Top 5

Jon Rahm

I’m seeing and hearing the Spaniard’s name all over the place this week.

Everyone seems to think he has gotten over his little conniption fits in a matter of months.

He is at that age (24), though, when we grow up and get a better grasp on our emotions.

I was reading about Bryson Dechambeau and his IQ of like 700 or whatever, and the writer followed that up by mentioning that in the game of golf, EQ is much more valuable to a competitor’s success in the long term.

Jon is in excellent form, though, and plays European courses exceptionally well so I think he will shine this week but I’m not sure about how bright.

My Pick
Rahm to Finish in the Top 20

Jason Day

The Aussie is top ten off the tee and in greens in regulation as well as being one of the best pure putters on the Tour.

It’s his consistency that has come into question as of late, though.

He’s crapped out on me a couple of times this year but I don’t have a problem backing him here.

He added Steve Williams as his caddy before the US Open and outside of a struggle at the 3M Open, he has played well, his iron game especially.

Williams is probably the most well-known caddy in the business and is widely considered as an expert at Royal Portrush specifically.

Day has finished inside the top 23 in each of the three Major tournaments thus far in 2019. I would imagine as each week passes, his chemistry and comfortability with Steve will increase and his scores should do the opposite.

My Pick
Day to Finish in the Top 20

In Conclusion

There you go, team.

Yea, I went with the big names this week.

Call it not being creative or courageous but I don’t care.

This is a major tournament and I’m not in the mood for chasing rainbows even if this is Ireland and there could be Leprechauns and gold or whatever.

Timeless film series, yes, but it’s been a dry couple of weeks so let’s get some wins.

Rory was barely old enough to drive when he set the course record here and I have a good feeling he was playing these links long before that.

Brooks is, well, Brooks.

It’s like betting against Floyd Mayweather.

They don’t call him “Money” for nothing.

Xander appears to be emulating Koepka’s strategy of giving most of his energies to Major tournaments and it shows.

Lastly, golfers like Jon Rahm and Jason Day are two of the most talented athletes out there and with one in great form and the other with a course expert as a caddy, they hold great value as well.

Enjoy the final Major of the year, team!

Mike Pruitt / author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.