The 2017 Open Championship gets underway on Thursday as golf fans from all over the United Kingdom travel to the Royal Birkdale course near Southport for one of the sport’s grandest events.

Last year, Henrik Stenson became the first Scandinavian man to win a major title at Royal Troon and the Swede will be confident of finishing towards the top of the leaderboard for the second year in succession.

But Stenson, currently priced at 25/1 to pip his rivals once again, will face stiff competition as he looks to defend his crown. I took a look at a few of the chief candidates for major glory ahead of this weekend’s event...


Rickie Fowler

Look no further than Rickie Fowler at this year’s Open Championship. He has played some superb stuff in recent weeks, finishing in the top six in all but one of his last five events. His previous form in this competition isn’t fantastic but a tie for fifth place at the US Open may settle a few nerves ahead of what could be a memorable weekend at Royal Birkdale.

Arguably one of the greatest modern players never to win a major title, it would be fitting if Fowler gets his hands on the Claret Jug this weekend. Out of him and Dustin Johnson, you’d be backing the former all day long on current form and only perhaps Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm can match Fowler on recent efforts. He’s bound to be there or thereabouts...

Odds: 14/1 to win, 11/8 for top ten finish


Dustin Johnson

Prior to the US Masters in April, Dustin Johnson was widely regarded as the best player on the planet. Now, that title is up for debate. In each of the last two major events, Johnson has missed the cut – and that isn’t good enough for a man attempting to hold down his spot at the top of the world rankings.

Despite his struggles, it would be foolish to rule him out. If he gets going, Johnson will be in the mix and you’d fancy him to fend off anyone on his day. 11/8 for a top ten finish may be slightly short considering his recent form but the hard-hitting American is hungry for more major success and Royal Birkdale could suit his aggressive style.

Odds: 14/1 to win, 11/8 for top ten finish

Dustin Johnson is a 14/1 shot to win the Open Championship this weekend


Tommy Fleetwood

It may seem a little far-fetched to back Fleetwood; a man who was ranked 99th in the world back at the beginning of 2017, but he could well flourish at his home course. The 26 year old knows Royal Birkdale better than anyone and 25/1 still represents decent value.

Fleetwood currently holds the lead in the European Tour’s Order of Merit – clear of Masters champion Sergio Garcia amongst others. Another solid performance here will do his image no harm whatsoever and punters looking at a top ten finish should strongly consider the 9/4 available with 888sport.

Odds: 25/1 to win, 9/4 for top ten finish


Lee Westwood

Older players tend to perform well at this major event. In fact, only two Open winners since 2007 have been younger than 32 years old and at 44, Westwood is a viable contender. Yes, his previous failures at major tournaments may scare a few punters off but he is very well priced at 70/1 and deserves consideration if nothing else.

Odds: 70/1 to win, 11/2 for top ten finish

Padraig Harrington

Unlike Westwood, Harrington has experience winning this event. The Irishman won back to back Claret Jugs in 2007 and 2008; the second of which was held at... Royal Birkdale. This course has been kind to Harrington over the years and the 45 year old can flourish with a good opening round. Like Westwood, he’s well worth considering at 66/1.

Odds: 66/1 to win, 6/1 for top ten finish

One of the old guard to shine? Padraig Harrington is 66/1 to win a third Open title

Zach Johnson

Johnson is somewhat of an Open Championship specialist, having finished in the top 20 in five of the last six editions of the tournament. Back in 2015, the big-hitting American was crowned champion after a playoff and he will be hoping that one of those won’t be needed this time around. Considering his record, 13/2 for a top ten finish is excellent value.

Odds: 80/1 to win, 13/2 for top ten finish

About the Author
Alex McMahon

Alex is a freelance sports writer, specializing in football, rugby union and the NFL.

He has a keen interest in most sports though and trips to Wimbledon, Lucas Oil Stadium and Augusta National are on his bucket list. Currently residing in Cardiff, he has worked closely with 888sport since 2015 as well as producing content for the likes of and The SPORTBible.

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