Players to watch at British Open

Brady Kannon, a handicapper and president of BK’s Golf Services (, analyzes the top players in the British Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England (odds from LVH sports book):

The Favorites

Adam Scott (12-1) — The No. 1 golfer in the world has been a model of consistency since he blew a final-round lead in the British in 2012. He has since won six times around the world, including the Masters, and finished third at the British last year. Scott also finished eighth at Hoylake in 2006.

Justin Rose (12-1) — Rose is the hottest golfer in the world, winning his past two starts, the Scottish Open last week and the Quicken Loans National at Congressional. The bad news is, he has only one top-10 finish at the British and has missed the cut three of the past four years.

Rory McIlroy (12-1) — McIlroy was at Hoylake last week getting in plenty of practice. He does not have tremendous history at the British, and the key is getting past that nasty second round. He finished 14th at the Scottish Open after firing a 78 in the second round. He is 9 over par in the second round of events this year and a combined 90 under in rounds one, three and four.

The Contenders

Henrik Stenson (15-1) — Enjoying a resurgence, Stenson has been outstanding with three top-five finishes in the most recent majors. The Swede won the FedEx Cup and the Race To Dubai in the same year.

Martin Kaymer (20-1) — Kaymer dusted the U.S. Open field at Pinehurst a month ago to win his second major. In 12 events this season, he has two wins and three top-10 finishes.

Phil Mickelson (25-1) — The defending champion in the British, Mickelson never could figure out links golf until he put together the round of his life at Muirfield in last year’s final round. He is coming off an 11th-place finish at the Scottish Open, but he has not done much else this year.

Others to Watch

Sergio Garcia (20-1) — Is this guy ever not a contender? Garcia finished fifth here in 2006. He has 10 top-10 finishes this year, including a second a month ago at The Travelers Championship, and seven top-10 finishes at the British.

Rickie Fowler (30-1) — Fowler is a relative newbie to the British Open, but he does have one top-10 in his four tries and has been money in big events this season, finishing third at the Match Play, fifth at the Masters and second to Kaymer at the U.S. Open. He just finished eighth at the Scottish Open.

Angel Cabrera (50-1) — Cabrera won two weeks ago at the Greenbrier Classic, and he is a big-game hunter with Masters and U.S. Open wins to his credit. He finished seventh at Hoylake in 2006.

Long shots

Ian Poulter (50-1) — Poulter has been under the radar this year, but he was 20th at Augusta and 17th at Pinehurst. He has top-10s in the British in the past two years, finishing third and ninth.

Jim Furyk (50-1) — Furyk has been so close many times since winning the U.S. Open in 2003. He was fourth here in 2006 and has five top-10 finishes in his annual trip across the pond. Furyk has a tremendous amount of ability in what it takes to win at this venue, including driving accuracy, par-4 performance and scrambling.

Ernie Els (60-1) — You can never count out a two-time British Open winner, especially with the last coming two years ago. In 23 British starts, “The Big Easy” has 13 top-10 finishes, including a third at Hoylake in 2006.

My pick to win

Zach Johnson (50-1) — A very steady, accurate driver and good wind player, Johnson fired a 64 on Sunday in the John Deere Classic to finish one shot out of the lead for his sixth top-10 finish of the season. In the past three British Opens, he finished sixth, ninth and 16th. After starting out 2014 on fire, Johnson is my pick to close out his season in a huge way by earning his second major title.


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