The Open 2016 – Royal Troon from Thursday 14th July, live on Sky Sports 1

Tournament History

The Open Championship dates way back to 1860 and is the third of four majors played each year. With such a rich history coupled in with the fact this is the world’s oldest golf tournament, this is the one trophy every professional golfer dreams of winning. With ten courses on The Open rota, one common theme stands true – The Open is always played on a traditional links golf course – where the weather (and in particular the wind) often dictates what type of event we have. Paul Lawrie infamously won at Carnoustie in 1999 with a score of 6 over par – yet eight years later Padraig Harrington won at the same venue with a score of 7 under – some 13 shots better! This is an event where experience shines through, with four of the last five owners of the Claret Jug aged 39 or over at the time of their success. Thirteen of the last sixteen winners had played in at least six previous Open Championships and all thirteen had registered at least one top 10 finish on the way.

The Course

Royal Troon hosts the 145th staging of The Open Championship and its first since 2004. Situated on the west coast of Scotland, it is a par 71 measuring out 7,190 yards. This is the eighth time this famous old course has hosted golfs biggest prize and what is noticeable is Americans have won the last six Open crowns staged at Royal Troon.

It’s signature hole is the shot 123-yard par three 8th hole, known the world over as The Postage Stamp. During the 1950 staging one sorry German amateur golfer took 15 shots here whilst Tiger Woods of all people saw his challenge derailed with a triple-bogey 6 back in 1997.

Look out for big scores around the turn, as holes 10, 11 and 12 were ranked the three hardest holes last time around. Par thru these three holes will see shots gained on the field.

There have been minor alterations to all 18 holes since the 2004 Open, with significant changes occurring to holes 9, 10 and 15. For a more in-depth look at the course take a look at –

http://www.theopen.com/TheCourse

Conditions

Previous Winners & Key Stats

Last six Royal Troon winners (plus winning score) –

2004 – Todd Hamilton (-10) 1997 – Justin Leonard (-12) 1989 – Mark Calcavecchia (-13) 1982 – Tom Watson (-4) 1973 – Tom Weiskopf (-12) 1962 – Arnold Palmer (-12)

Last six Open winners (plus winning score & nationality)

2015 – Zach Johnson -15 (USA) (St Andrews) 2014 – Rory McIlroy -17 (NI) (Royal Liverpool) 2013 – Phil Mickelson -3 (USA) (Muirfield) 2012 – Ernie Els -7 (RSA) (Royal Lytham & St Anne’s) 2011 – Darren Clarke -5 (NI) (Royal St George’s) 2010 – Louis Oosthuizen -16 (RSA) (St Andrews)

Ernie Els, who lost in a playoff to 2004 surprise champion Todd Hamilton, finished 2nd in driving distance (DD) for the week. Lee Westwood, who finished 4th, was 5th for DD – whilst both he and Els were inside the top 4 for the putting average stats. In fact, the leading 5 players in DD finished inside the top 20. Driving accuracy was reasonably important with 6 of the leading 9 straight hitters for the week finishing inside the top 16. As you might expect for a links course, 4 of the best 5 scramblers for the week finished inside the top 16 as well. Green in regulation (GIR) wasn’t all that important with the leading 5 for the week finishing an average 19th on the leaderboard.

Recommended Bets

Louis Oosthuizen 45/1 EW

Last year’s Open saw Louis nearly add to his 2010 claret jug victory, eventually losing out of a playoff to Zach Johnson. The amiable South African has made the weekend of his last ten majors, with 5 of the 7 last yielding top 20 finishes across the four majors. A T23 at last month’s US Open at the devilishly difficult Oakmont included an incredible round two of 65, which Oosthuizen followed up with a T21 at Firestone in the WGC.

Danny Willett 55/1 EW

The Masters champion might be coming off the back of two missed cuts in Germany and France, but given he could so easily have won the BMW PGA at Wentworth (T3) and led after two rounds in Ireland having opened with a round of 65, his post-Augusta success hasn’t been as bad as a 55/1 price suggests. A T6 at St Andrews in last year’s Open coupled in with the fact there has been 8 multiple major winners in a year since 1998, makes me confident Danny can add to his green jacket with a claret jug here at Troon.

Patrick Reed 70/1 EW

I make no apologies for including Patrick again this week. A slow start in Scotland, he opened with a +3 in round one, yet still managed to play the final three rounds in a combined -12 to finish with another top 15 on the European Tour. Most exciting was a run of six holes during round three which saw Patrick get that troublesome putter hot, going on a run of four birdies, one eagle and one par. A T20 at St Andrews last year gives confidence the four-time PGA Tour winner can add a major to his impressive CV.

Jim Furyk 90/1 EW

Rewind to 1997 and the then 27-year old American Jim Furyk was competing at Royal Troon in his fourth Open Championship. Joint leading after round one, Furyk eventually had to settle for a T4. Since then a further five Open Top 10’s has appeared on Jim’s CV, the most recent being a 4th place finish at Hoylake in 2014. Having recently returned from injury, it was amazing to see the elder-statesman fly up last month’s US Open leaderboard, finishing with a closing round of 66 to finish just 3 shots behind eventual winner Dustin Johnson.

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @herefordrich.

Eastbridge now fully licensed in the UK!

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