The Open 2008 Betting Tips



On the condition of anonymity, we persuaded an insider on the Tour to share his thoughts about who is going to lift the claret jug at Royal Birkdale. He came up with a top-10, well 11 actually…

10th Niclas Fasth
Age: 36
World Ranking: 36
Tour Wins: 6
He makes me laugh this guy because he will punch the air enthusiastically when he holes a four-footer for par on the 1st hole. I can’t even imagine what he would be like if he holed a clutch putt on the last to win a major! This effervescent Swede clearly maximises his talent better than anyone else in the world and he has a wonderful desire and passion for the game. Even though he doesn’t seem to swing the club that well, he has already shown that he has got what it takes to come close in majors with a 2nd place finish behind Duval at Lytham, and he was also 4th last year in the US Open.

9th Andres Romero
Age: 28
World Ranking: 24
Tour Wins: 2
The diminutive powerhouse of an Argentinian has the same attitude and swings the club with the same free spirit as his fellow countrymen Angel Cabrera and Eduardo Romero. He should really have won last year at Carnoustie, but bounced back brilliantly to win the TPC a week later. He is unbelievably long and a very aggressive putter and in his two Opens so far he hasn’t finished outside the top-8, which isn’t bad! Add to that a win this year in New Orleans, and an 8th place finish in this year’s Masters, and you can see he is playing well. If he gets the sort of opportunity he got last year, this time he will take it.

8th Sergio Garcia
Age: 28
World Ranking: 7
Tour Wins: 17
We all know he is the most gifted player in the world not to have won a major, and he is a terrific driver of the ball, perhaps second only to Westwood, in the world. What we also know, sadly, is he tends to putt like a club golfer instead of a tour pro, when he gets into contention in majors. I felt desperately sorry for him last year at Carnoustie because he would have won if he had hit his putts six inches harder. He says he’s never worked with a psychologist. He’s says he’ll never work with one in the future. Perhaps it’s time for him to change his mind. 

7th Steve Stricker
Age: 41
World Ranking: 8
Tour Wins: 6
I have an amazing amount of respect for good players who disappear completely for a few years and then come back. For me, there is something in their psyches which makes them even more hungry for success. Stricker did this, falling off the radar between 2003 and 2005, and yet since then he has been incredibly consistent, even reaching number 3 in the world. He loves coming to Britain, was 8th at Carnoustie last year, and has three top-10s in the US Open. All he needs to do now is rediscover the form which saw him have six top-15 finishes in 7 starts earlier this year.

6th Nick Dougherty
Age: 27
World Ranking: 52
Tour Wins: 2
After arriving on the Tour as the new wonder-kid, a penchant for parties let him down, and he soon realised that however much talent you have, you also need dedication. He came out in 2005 with a new attitude and his performance in last year’s US Open was a watershed moment. Leading after the first round, he played with Tiger in the 3rd and learnt a massive amount, proved by his Alfred Dunhill win. And although his Mum died earlier this year, his birdie, eagle finish at Celtic Manor to finish 3rd was hugely impressive and he is now clearly playing in her memory. Sometimes great things can happen when players play from the heart.

5th Boo Weekley
Age: 34
World Ranking: 27
Tour Wins: 2
Boo first really caught my eye at the World Cup in China last winter, when with Heath Slocum, he went head-to-head with Monty and Marc Warren. And although he ultimately lost, he impressed me with his attitude. The guy doesn’t put much pressure on himself, because all he really wants to do is go hunting and fishing and yet he is a wonderfully gifted ball-striker. I just get the feeling he may crop up and surprise a few people this year. Inexperienced, in that his only previous Open appearance was last year (when he was 35th) but then so was Ben Curtis; and Boo has already won this year at the Verizon Heritage.

4th Darren Clarke
Age: 39
World Ranking: 103
Tour Wins: 16
Can you imagine the scenes at Birkdale if Clarke wins? The way he has handled himself through recent troubles has made him the most popular player in Europe at the moment. So much depends on which Darren Clarke turns up on July 17th. If we get the gifted golfing genius who showed at Troon in ’97 (2nd) and Lytham in 2001 (3rd) that he loves links golf, then he could well pick up the major championship he deserves. But, we all know he can be a bit unpredictable. If he gets out of bed on the right side and the moon is in the right place, then he could be the second Irish winner in two years.

3rd Jim Furyk
Age: 38
World Ranking: 10
Tour Wins: 13
Jim will be hoping for a wet summer, because he will be really hoping the course set up at Birkdale is tougher than ever, with thin fairways and thick rough. The harder the course set up, the better he plays; hence his US Open record. His Open record is a touch less impressive, but he has been 4th and 12th in the past two, and is right up there with Tiger as one of the greatest grinders in the game. Add to that the fact that he has terrific vision around the greens and great imagination for scrambling from difficult lies, and he must have an excellent chance.

2nd Adam Scott
Age: 27
World Ranking: 3
Tour Wins: 14
The handsome, athletic Aussie has 14 worldwide victories now but – for someone as talented as he is – an absolutely appalling major record. In 27 starts he has only finished in the top-7 once and that was a 3rd in the 2006 USPGA. But, I really do believe that is about to change and already this season he has won in Qatar and at the Byron Nelson. In Qatar, he shot a final round 61 to win. What’s more, he loves playing in the wind (Qatar is always windy) and was brought up playing links golf in windy weather. He has all the skills necessary and it’s about time he stopped dumbfounding so many of us

1st Lee Westwood
Age: 35
World Ranking: 20
Tour Wins: 28
He is the best driver of a golf ball in the world, bar none. You always used to think with him that his short game wouldn’t hold up in the majors, but with the help of Mark Roe, he now almost has the short game to match his long one. In fact, if he had putted half decently in April, he would have won a Green Jacket. It’s a great story because he has gone from being a roly-poly tour pro to a gym monkey. With 28 worldwide wins he is a prolific winner, an unbelievable front-runner and great at closing out a tournament. So, if Tiger has an off week…