The Open Latest Betting
Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s will host the 2012 Open in just over one week’s time and already one of the veterans of the game, Ernie Els, is talking up the chances of another, the defending champion Darren Clarke. Els has named Clarke as his dark horse for The Open next week.
The Northern Irishman may have made only one halfway cut all season, but Els said on the eve of the Scottish Open: “That’s one place where he’s comfortable.
“I know he’s struggling with his game, (but) I know he’s not that far off.
“He’s got that great ball flight and if he gets that same talk he had last year (from American sports psychologist Bob Rotella) who knows? That could just swing things.”
The 42-year-old South African hopes to be a contender himself, of course, on the course where he was joint second behind Tom Lehman in 1996 and joint third behind David Duval in 2001. Els won at Muirfield 12 months later, but a decade has now gone by without him adding to his three majors.
Els threatened to end his barren spell at the US Open last month. A disappointing finish dropped him to ninth, but his play for most of the week reminded him of his prime years.
“There were times I doubted I could get back there, but I really felt like my old self and that’s the positive I took out of it,” he said.
Els has been priced up at 40/1 to win another Open, with 100/1 on offer for Clarke to retain his title.
Like world number one Luke Donald, the ‘Big Easy’ has had three weeks off since San Francisco and, although he is rusty, he added: “I’m not necessarily writing myself off this week.”
Donald is a 16/1 chance to win his first Open next week, but the pre-tournament favouritism goes to Tiger Woods at 6/1 in the betting. Lee Westwood is the 12/1 second-favourite, with Ulster’s Rory McIlroy at 16′s alongside Donald.
Dubliner Padraig Harrington is 20/1 to make it three Open titles. The likes of Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan are all available at the attractive odds of 33/1.
Two others who stand out at 40/1 are former champion Louis Oosthuizen and Englishman Ian Poulter. Others include US Masters Champion Bubba Watson at 50/1 and England’s Ross Fisher could prove excellent value at 66/1.