The 2020 Open Championship was canceled due to Covid-19 so Shane Lowry, the winner at Royal Portrush in 2019 is still the defending champion as the players head to Royal St. George’s for the 149th edition of the oldest golf tournament in the world. A number of high-profile players have withdrawn due to Covid-19 protocols, including Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson, and Kevin Na.
Lowry ran away from the field in 2019, winning by six shots after a third-round 63 on the par 71 layout put him in control of the tournament and he finished it off with a one-over par 72 on a day when none of the contenders were able to shoot better than 71. Royal St. George’s will be hosting its 15th Open Championship and first since 2011 when Darren Clarke won his only major title at the age of 42 by three shots over Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson with a five-under-par 275.
Jon Rahm is looking to add another major championship to his resume after winning the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in June to add his name to a prestigious list of six players that have won the two tournaments in the same year. Bobby Jones, who did it twice as an amateur, has since been joined by Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, and Tiger Woods in one of the most exclusive clubs in golf.
At +600 odds, Jon Rahm is the betting favorite to win the Open Championship.
Rahm is the obvious favorite at +600, not just because of his U.S. Open victory, but also the way the six-time PGA Tour winner has been playing in the 2020-2021 season, ranking first in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) and third in the FedEx Cup point standing coming into the Open Championship. He hasn’t played since Torrey Pines, which was Rahm’s only finish since his eighth-place tie in the PGA Championship a month earlier, although he had to withdraw from the Memorial in the interim due to Covid-19 after leading by six shots following the third round.
He’s followed by Rory McIlroy at +1200, who has won four major championships but none since the PGA Championship in 2014. Two other multiple major champions Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson are next in the odds at +1400 with Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth just behind them at +1600.
Former PGA champion Justin Thomas is at +2000 and 2010 Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen, who has also finished as the runner-up in the recent U.S. Open and PGA Championship has odds of +2200, along with Viktor Hovland.
Open Championship Favorite Picks
It’s difficult not to include Rahm in any group of potential winners, despite his lack of top performances in the Open Championship. Although McIlroy hasn’t lifted a major trophy in almost seven years, his win at the Wells Fargo Championship signals that his game may be strong enough to add a fifth major title.
Oosthuizen has recorded four top-ten finishes in his last five PGA Tour events and appears poised to make a run at a second major championship. The last time the tournament was at Royal St. George’s, the South African finished in a tie for 54th while defending his Open Championship win.