Check out the hottest tips for the season’s third Major
WIND, rain and ripples of applause from hardy fans, it can mean only one thing… the Open is back in town!
And with the heavens set to open themselves on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you will need to pick someone not flustered by the typical British summertime.
Padraig Harrington won at Royal Birkdale the last time the Claret Jug was contested on the Southport links.
Then it was blustery but sunny – this year there will be gusts of up to 20mph and driving rain to battle.
With that in mind, check out SunSport’s picks to see where your money should go this week and their odds courtesy of SunBets – and don’t forget to check out the live blog for all the latest action.
Winner – Rickie Fowler (16/1)
The smooth-swinging American – who is dating professional pole vaulter Allison Stokke – has really taken to links golf.
He’s got the pedigree to match his hype now too and the only thing missing is a Major title.
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Fowler won the Scottish Open two years ago and this year has a tied-11th finish in the Masters and tied-fifth finish in the US Open.
On top of that he has top-five finishes in all the Majors and was Open runner-up in 2014.
He is due to break his duck in the big ones and, having found love off the course just like Sergio Garcia before his Masters triumph, could be the eighth first-time Major winner in a row.
Dark Horse – Padraig Harrington (66/1)
Only two players since 1984 have successfully defended the Claret Jug: Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington.
The three-time Major winner thrives in foul conditions and won his second Open over this course in 2008.
His current swing has more moving parts than a tap dancer and a third-round blip in bad weather at last week’s Scottish Open shows he’s not quite 100 per cent.
But that seven-over 79 was followed by a sparkling six-under 66 – so we are led to believe it truly was just a slip-up.
He’s also content with his place in the game and knows he has nothing left to prove. So with the pressure off, watch Padraig turn back the clock.
Best Brit – Andy Sullivan (80/1)
The home support will be with local boy Tommy Fleetwood and his form shows he is currently red hot.
But it is a big ask to maintain that level of play and the French Open champion will not be used to being under the spotlight quite so much.
Fleetwood seems pretty unflappable but Andy Sullivan is showing signs of the form that saw him win three times in 2015.
Indeed, he said, “I feel like I’m getting back to the old Andy Sullivan” after a third-round 67 last week en route to a tied-ninth finish.
One to avoid – Dustin Johnson (16/1)
This could come back to haunt us – but it feels right to take on the man who has not looked the same dead-eyed killer since his Masters fall.
The world No 1 went into Augusta the man to beat before whacking his back on some stairs and pulling out.
And the closest he came to glory as defending champion at the US Open was giving Brooks Koepka the pep talk that helped him win.
Johnson did not finish outside the top-13 between February 12 and May 21 but has two missed cuts in his last two starts.
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