The Open: Full Preview, field notes, key stats, betting odds & picks

After 2 long years, it’s FINALLY time for the Open Championship. My 2nd favorite week of the year, runner-up behind the Masters. Royal St. Georges was the venue for the Open in 2011, where Darren Clarke was crowned the Champion Golfer of the Year.

This time around the best players in the world are back over the pond, and many of them are in fantastic form. We’ve seen an array of major champions so far in 2021: Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, and his ASU disciple Jon Rahm. Now, it’s time to crown the last.


After Jon Rahm’s 7th place finish last week at the Scottish Open, Dustin Johnson as retaken his place as the #1 golfer in the world. He struggled for a bit after the Genesis Invitational where he finished T8, but over the last month has 3 straight 25’s, including a T19 at Torrey Pines. His last notable performance at the Open was in 2016, where he finished T9. Over his last 3 appearances, he missed the cut at Carnoustie and finished outside the Top 50 at Portrush and Birkdale.

Note, he was T2 back in 2011 at Royal St. Georges.

Speaking of Mr. Rahm, his form coming into the week is ridiculous. T8 at the PGA, Win at the Memorial (yes, I count it), Win at the US Open, and 7th at the Scottish Open.

His best finish at the Open came in 2019 at Portrush, he ended the week T11. Outside that however, his record isn’t great. MC in 2018, T44 in 2017, and T59 in 2016.

Last years Champion Golfer of the Year Shane Lowry is looking to defend his title. Padraig Harrington is the last player to win back-to-back Opens (2007-2008). Actually, the 2 years before that Tiger Woods won 2 Opens in a row.

Lowry has been playing great golf over the last few months. Finishes include: T4 at the PGA, T6 at the Memorial, T23 at the Irish Open. His game perfectly fits links golf, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the conversation again this time around.

Other big names in the field. Like I say for every major championship, every one is here.


Royal St. Georges

Par 70

7,189 yards


Thankfully, the forecast looks pretty great for the week.

TV Schedule

Key Stats

For the Open, I love targeting guys who hit a lot of fairways. In most years, due to the firm and fast conditions, shorter players usually have a longer driving distance average compared to their year long number. This makes finding the fairway critical. In 2011, the field hit fairways at a mere 47.5% clip.

Short game at the Open is always critical. The tightly mown areas, bunkers, and fescue put an emphasis on your short game.

Data Golf Information

Course Fit: 1. Annadale GC, 2. Liberty National, 3. Shadow Creek

Trending (of the players in the field): 1. Jon Rahm (Last 3 starts: WD (a win tho), Win, T8), 2. Viktor Hovland (T47, WD, Win), 3. Collin Morikawa (2, T4, T71)

% Chance to Win (Baseline, Course History and Fit): 1. Jon Rahm (8.8%), 2. Xander Schauffele (5.5%), 3. Jordan Spieth (3.9%)

Betting Odds

Twilight 9’s Players to Watch

I really think Jon Rahm is in a spot to win back-to-back majors, but his odds are just too low to put any action on him. +750 is CRAZY.

I’m gonna start with a sleeper pick. Kevin Kisner. For some it may be too big of a stretch, but I like his chances.

He’s played in 5 Open’s, while he missed the cut in his first appearance, he’s made every cut since. His best performance was at Carnoustie in 2018 where he tied for 2nd. In 2019, the last time the Open was held, Kiz finished a respectable T30.

He’s made the weekend in 4 of his last 5 events. He’s finished inside the Top 10 in 2 straight starts, which included a T5 in Connecticut after a Sunday, 63.

Over his last 24 rounds, Kisner is 10th in SG: Putting, and 14th in SG: Short Game. He averages just over 287 yards off the tee (172nd on Tour), but he hits 68.38% of fairways, ranking 18th on Tour this season.

At +15,000 to win, we’re gonna be able to grab Kiz in any spot for some serious value.

He’s been on some of our cards recently, with no luck. But, I think Will Zalatoris has the game to win the Open at some point in his career.

He hasn’t done anything on the PGA Tour since his Top 10 finish down in Kiawah, but last week at the Scottish Open Will grabbed a Top 30 finish.

Despite a few tough starts recently with the irons, he still ranks 6th on Tour in SG: APP. His GIR number sits at 69.16% which is good enough for 17th on Tour this season. His SG: ATG number is good enough to compete, but his putter is very inconsistent. At the Scottish Open, he lost strokes with the flat-stick.

He’s never played in the Open, for that reason he may not make the card. But he has great odds at +7500.

Matthew Fitzpatrick lost in a playoff at the Scottish Open over the weekend, but I think he can bounce back and have a great week at Royal St. Georges.

He finished in the Top 25 at the PGA earlier this season, and added another Top 10 at the Palmetto.

His career at the Open is a mixed bag. In 5 appearances, he’s missed 2 weekends. He does have a Top 20, which came in 2019 at Royal Portrush. His other 2 finishes are T44s.

Last week in Scotland, he was 3rd in the field in SG: Putting. On the year, he’s inside the Top 25 on the greens. He’s solid off the tee, ranking 13th in SG: OTT this year, while hitting 68.72% of fairways (17th). He’s also gained distance – Matty is up to nearly 295 per drive.

+4000 to win.

Scottie Scheffler is playing really, really good golf. Over his last 4 starts, he has 3 Top 15s – which includes 2 Top 10s (highlighted by solo 3rd at Memorial). At the Scottish Open over the weekend, Scottie was T12.

His major finishes so far this season: Nov. Masters – T19, April Masters – T18, PGA – T8, US Open – T7. In 5 major starts since being a full time player on Tour, Scottie hasn’t finished outside the Top 20.

On the season he’s 35th in driving distance, 51st in driving accuracy, and 15th in SG: OTT. He’s 36th in SG: ATG, and 66th on the greens.

He’s +4500 to win.

A surprise pick for the week might be Abraham Ancer. He’s missed the cut in both tries at the Open, but I think his game fits links golf.

He’s an incredibly accurate player. On the year, he ranks 6th in driving accuracy and 19th in greens in regulation. He averages a bit over 290, but this week that number should go up – especially with his ball flight.

He’s another player entering the week in fantastic form. Going back to the Masters, here are his finishes: T26 (Masters), T18, 5th, 2nd, T8 (PGA), T14, CUT, 4th.

The only thing that scares me with Ab is his history at the Open, but in firm and fast conditions at the President’s Cup, he was one of the best players on either team.

+7000 to win.

I always jump on this guy when his value goes up, just like when it happened at the PLAYERS. It may be time to bet on JT.

Justin Thomas fell to +2000 at TPC Sawgrass back in March. We hammered it, and nailed it. For the Open, he’s currently at +1800.

His major performances so far in 2021: T21 at the Masters, T19 at the US Open, and a MC at the PGA. His record in the Open is a mixed bag. He missed the cut in 2017 and ’18, but finished T11 at Portrush in 2019.

He had a mid season slump, but his last 2 starts: T19 at Torrey, and T8 last week in Scotland despite a very relatable topped 3-wood…

The main reason why I believe JT is gonna be a factor this week, is this…

On top of that, he has every shot. Low-slinging draw, high fade, and everything in between.

He was on the card for the US Open, and I think he will be again this week. Patrick Reed.

Going back to the Masters, Reed has made 9 starts. He’s missed 2 cuts, but his other starts are great. T8 at Augusta, T6 at the Wells Fargo, T17 at the PGA, solo 5th at the Memorial, and T19 at the US Open. When it’s time to play big-boy golf, Reed shines.

His Open history is pretty damn good. He missed the weekend in 2017 and 2014, but his worse finish outside of those is T28 in 2018. His other 3 are Top 20s, and in the latest playing Reed grabbed a Top 10.

He has one of the best short games on Tour, and is arguable the best putter in the world. He also hits fairways at a great clip, 64.21% which ranks 57th on Tour.

SG numbers over his last 24 rounds…

+3300 to win.

Jason Day is back to playing some golf. I love it.

Over his last 3 starts, he’s made 3 straight weekends. He finished T44 at the PGA, T10 at the Travelers, and T14 at the Rocket Mortgage.

Day really likes the Open. He missed the cut in 2019, but before that had 4 straight Top 30s. T17 in 2018, T27 in 2017, T22 in 2016, and T4 in 2015.

His SG numbers over his last 24 look good…

The only area he’s struggling in? The greens. That’s not what JDay does. He rolls his rock as well as anybody on the planet. If that picks back up at Royal St. Georges, watch out for the Aussie this weekend.

+7500 to win.

Rickie Fowler is another guy finding form just in time for the Open.

In his last 4 starts, he’s made 3 cuts. The only one he missed was in Connecticut after a tough Friday. His other 3 finishes: T8 (PGA), T11 (Memorial), and T32 (RMC).

His history at the Open is very, very good.

All eyes on that 2011 finish, the last time the Open was at St. Georges.

+6500 to win

And finally, my guy. Rory McIlroy has a lot of things going for him this week.

The last time he won the Open was in 2014. In 2013, he missed the cut. Last time the Open was held, he missed the cut. Earlier this season, he missed the cut at the Masters. In his next start, he won the Wells Fargo. What did he do at the Scottish Open last week? Missed the cut.

Record at the Open since missing the cut in 2013…

His last 4 starts on the PGA Tour: 1st (Wells Fargo), T49 (PGA), T18 (Memorial), and T7 (US Open).

SG numbers over his last 24 rounds…

Although he missed the weekend in Scotland, it gave him a chance to get an early look at Royal St. George. His shot into 16 during a practice round this week was pretty damn good.

+2200 to win. Great value.

After all of that, here’s the official card for the Open Championship…

BETS (all odds from

Rory McIlroy – Top 10 Finish – (+210)

Kevin Kisner – Top 40 Finish – (EVEN)

Scottie Scheffler – Top 30 Finish – (+130)

Patrick Reed – Top 20 Finish – (+150)

Jason Day – Top 30 Finish – (+170)

Brooks Koepka – Top 10 Finish – (+150)

Cover via (Steve Flynn, USA Today Sports)

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