This weekend will see 156 of the world’s best golfers head to the famous links of Carnoustie, just north of Dundee, to the northernmost course used in the British Open roster. Situated on the North Sea, Carnoustie has a well-deserved reputation as being one of the toughest courses in the world and it will certainly test the golfing skill and mental acuity of the top players competing there this week.
Last year at Royal Birkdale in Southport, American Jordan Spieth landed his third Major victory and his first British Open (after victory in the Masters and US Open) and the American is amongst the favourites to defend the Claret Jug this year.
However, he faces plenty of competition from players based in America, those in Europe as well as a smattering of players from around the globe.
If you fancy a flutter on the Open this week, then remember to check out the latest odds available at bet365 Sport. All odds shown in this article were correct at the time of writing (11am on Wednesday 18th July).
Will it be Carnage at Carnoustie?
Part of Carnoustie’s reputation as one of the toughest courses in golf stems from the 1999 tournament. The Royal and Ancient decided to set the course up very tough to challenge the world’s best, leaving the first cut of rough rather long and then leaving the actual rough almost impossible to play an attacking shot out of.
That was punitive enough, but on the day of the tournament, a real North Sea storm blew in. A combination of high winds and heavy rain made the semi-rough almost impossible to playout of, and the actual rough became impenetrable and as a result, almost everybody playing started to post well-above par scores.
At the end of two days, the field had been decimated. A then young Sergio Garcia left the tournament in tears after posting scores of 89 and 82 over the opening two days and the criticism headed the way of the R&A was loud and long.
In the end, Jean Van de Velde blew a three-shot lead on the very last hole to ensure the tournament ended in a playoff between the Frenchman, American Justin Leonard and Scot Paul Lawrie, who had posted his score of +6 several hours prior to the leaders finishing. It was Lawrie who would hold his nerve, coming out on top of the four-hole playoff to claim the win.
Players will be hoping there will be no scenes reminiscent of the 1999 event at “Car-nasty” this year.
Open Champions at Carnoustie
A total of seven tournaments have been held at Carnoustie since the venue first hosted the event in 1931 and it has produced winners from all over the globe.
- 1931 – Tommy Armour (US) (+8)
- 1937 – Henry Cotton (Eng) (+6)
- 1953 – Ben Hogan (US) (-6)
- 1968 – Gary Player (SA) (+1)
- 1975 – Tom Watson (US) (-9)
- 1999 – Paul Lawrie (Sco) (+6)
- 2007 – Padraig Harrington (Ire) (-7)
One thing to note is that the 1975, 1999 and 2007 tournaments all saw multiple players tied for the lead after 72-holes necessitating a playoff and it could well be that we require another playoff to decide the winner on Sunday if the course plays as tough as it potentially could do.
This year’s winner will earn a prize of £1,420,000 ($1,890,000) and will also take home the famous Claret Jug, one of the most famous and iconic trophies in all of golf.
The course itself is a par 71 course that has plenty of iconic holes. Highlights include Hogan’s Alley (6th), Spectacles (14th) and the run of holes from the 16th to the 18th which is reckoned to be arguably the most difficult closing trio of holes in golf.
- Cup (Par 4) – 396 yards
- Gulley (Par 4) – 461 yards
- Jockie’s Burn (Par 4) – 350 yards
- Hillocks (Par 4) – 415 yards
- Brae (Par 4) – 412 yards
- Hogan’s Alley (Par 5) – 580 yards
- Plantation (Par 4) – 410 yards
- Short (Par 3) – 187 yards
- Railway (Par 4) – 474 yards
- South America (Par 4) – 465 yards
- Dyke (Par 4) – 382 yards
- Southward Ho (Par 4) – 503 yards
- Whins (Par 3) – 175 yards
- Spectacles (Par 5) – 513 yards
- Lucky Slap (Par 4) – 472 yards
- Barry Burn (Par 3) – 248 yards
- Island (Par 4) – 460 yards
- Home (Par 4) – 499 yards
Who stands a chance of winning the Open this weekend?
Having looked through the list of players in with a chance of winning the Open this weekend according to the bookmakers, we have drawn up a shortlist of players we like the look of. However, I would urge you to back them each way, rather than as an outright winner, especially since bookmakers are paying out on additional places. For example, bet365 are paying out for any golfers finishing in the top eight (including ties) at 1/5 of the odds.
Dustin Johnson (12/1) – The American world number 1 has been in imperious form for the past two years now and is deservedly viewed as the best player in the world at the moment. He is yet to win a British Open but has been close in the past, however while I would expect him to go close, I don’t think this course is particularly suited to his game and I think he is definitely only an each way option here despite his immense talent.
Tommy Fleetwood (22/1) – The Southport-born Englishman would be the first English player to win the tournament since Nick Faldo back in the early 1990s but he has a track record on the course, setting the record for the lowest round here back in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in autumn 2017, shooting an incredible 62. If he can find anything like that form over the weekend, he will be in with a great shout of landing a first Major title.
Jason Day (33/1) – I am very surprised that the Australian golfer hasn’t been talked about as a potential winner here. His record at The Open isn’t as strong as in other Majors, but he did finish fourth at St.Andrews in 2015 and he is in good form this season, winning the Farmers Insurance Open and the Wells Fargo Championship. His ability to manufacture shots as well as his solid all round game make him a real contender and great value at 33/1.
Phil Mickelson (60/1) – Any golfer that has two second place finishes, plus a win, in his last seven Open Championship tilts is worth a closer look and when you add the genius of Phil Mickelson into that you have a very solid contender. 60/1 is a very long odds for a player with his record. He missed the cut last year at Royal Birkdale, but I think this year he will bounce back and want to prove a point.