A small return for the team last week thanks to Ryan Fox's tied sixth finish means the ball is still rolling going into the season's third major at Carnoustie. Here at this week's five golfers to consider for the Open Championship...
"Around-The-Green. Tiger loves the creative test of an Open and his short game is strong enough to perform what his mind is telling him."
*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 8 Places
Dave Tindall: Back Tiger Woods @ 30/1
Tiger has finished T7 (1999) and T12 (2007) in the two Opens he's played at Carnoustie. Not amazing by his own ridiculously high standards but enough to show that the course isn't his nemesis or anything. I'm particularly drawn to Tiger saying the burnt-out fairways this year remind him of St. Andrews in 2000 and Hoylake in 2006. Woods won both those two events, famously hitting just one driver in 2006 as he played for position and relied on his long irons. The three-time Open champion, who was fourth at the Quicken Loans on his last start, may not be the player he was but his numbers are still very impressive this season - 4th for Strokes Gained: Approach and 3rd for Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green. Tiger loves the creative test of an Open and his short game is strong enough to perform what his mind is telling him. There are plenty of great players who can get the better of him on long, American tracks these days but something different is required this week and this is the major where 40-somethings can still win (Stenson, Els, Clarke in the last seven editions; Zach Johnson was 39). The industry-high 30/1 makes definite appeal for what could be one of the great Open stories.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Henrik Stenson @ 25/1
When the Open was last held at Carnoustie, two world-class contenders with impeccable links and Open pedigree fought out the play-off. For my money, identifying those attributes are the key again because, of all the Open courses, this is arguably the toughest challenge. Among those boasting such credentials, Henrik Stenson looks the most reliable. Winner with a scoring record at Troon in 2016 - a fourth Open top-three finish - he's finished no worse than 11th in the last four majors and this is arguably a more favourable set-up than any of them. A fundamental challenge at Carnoustie, especially in these fast conditions, will be threading a way between the penal bunkers. Stenson's three-wood is ultra reliable in that respect, as demonstrated by outstanding driving accuracy and GIR stats dating back several years. Notably, he's also been scrambling well all year and that is usually the most important Open stat.
Steve Rawlings: Back Patrick Reed @ 40/1
At just 27 and with only four Open Championships under his belt, Patrick Reed might not quite fit the perfect Open champion profile but what he lacks in age and links experience, he more than makes up with guts, determination and a will to win. Nicknamed Captain America, Reed is already famed for his fighting qualities at the Ryder Cup but he's so much more than just a match play specialist. With his bullish, confident manner, he's a bit of a maverick and he's not popular but he has every right to believe in himself. There were no tournament invites in the early days for Reed, he earned his PGA Tour card by playing well in events he had to Monday qualify for and he's outperformed everyone else's expectations at every step of his career since. The world laughed when he declared himself a top-five player after he'd won the WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2014 (his third PGA Tour title in eight months!) but he's getting there now. He's currently ranked number 12 and after his comfortable win at Augusta in April, he's now a major champion to boot. Reed's tied 23rd at the Scottish Open last week was the perfect warm-up and after finishing second at the US PGA Championship, first at the US Masters and fourth at the US Open, he's starting to look like a major championship specialist. He's a combined 17-under-par for those last three majors and that's nine strokes better than any other player on the planet. Since 1974, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Mark O'Meara, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have all won the Open in the same year they won the Masters, and Reed looks a cracking each-way bet at 40/1 to join the club.
Joe Dyer: Back Thorbjorn Olesen @ 100/1
The rest of the team are playing the big names this week so I am going to chance my arm with a 100/1 shot who may not be such long odds for quite a while. Thorbjorn Olesen won the fifth European Tour event of his short career at the Italian Open just last month and has followed up with a runners-up spot in Germany and a tie for sixth at the Irish Open to confirm he remains in fine nick. That last event is of course played on a links and while the Dane's Open record shows just one top 10, which came back in 2012, he has also won and finished runner-up in an Alfred Dunhill Links so can clearly play the game in its traditional form. Olesen's good form places him seventh on the Race to Dubai standings and the 28-year-old looks a golfer on the up and possibly destined for the top.
Mike Norman: Back Jon Rahm @ 22/1
John Rahm's performance in the Irish Open a fortnight ago was quite remarkable. A first round 74 put him in 92nd place and seven shots off the lead. No one played better golf thereafter. The Spaniard went into the final round with a small chance of defending his crown, but a triple bogey on his second hole effectively ended his chances. But again, he showed his brilliance to cover the last 16 holes in nine under par, including making birdie at all of the last four holes to finish tied fourth, just two shots off the winner. On another week he could have won in a canter, and it's his performances in the Irish Open during the last two years and his results on the European Tour that really inspire confidence. Rahm is a superb talent, almost certainly a future world number one, and his maiden major victory is surely just around the corner. A fast-running Carnoustie course, expected to advantage the big hitters, and a morning tee time on Thursday before the afternoon winds get up (if we can believe the forecast), add more confidence that this just might be Rahmbo's week. An industry-best 22/1, with eight places on offer, is another reason get the brilliant Spaniard on side.
2018 Season P/L to date: + £364.33
- Scottish Open, Ryan Fox @ 45/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Irish Open, Russell Knox @ 28/1 - WIN (Dave)
- BMW International Open, Matt Wallace @ 33/1 - WIN (Steve)
- BMW International Open, Martin Kaymer @ 33/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Italian Open, Lee Westwood @ 45/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- BMW PGA Championship, Kiradech Aphibarnrat @ 45/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Belgian Knockout, Benjamin Hebert @ 50/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Belgian Knockout, Jorge Campillo @ 28/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Rocco Forte Open, Lucas Herbert @ 125/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Golf Sixes, South Korea @ 16/1 - PLACE (Steve & Paul)
- Volvo China Open, Lucas Bjerregaard @ 200/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- US Masters, Bubba Watson @ 16/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Hero Indian Open, Andrew Johnston @ 33/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Oman Open, Jorge Campillo @ 40/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Maybank Championship, Shubhankar Sharma @ 60/1 - WIN (Joe)
- Dubai Desert Classic, Alex Levy @ 50/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Abu Dhabi Championship, Matthew Fitzpatrick @ 40/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- UBS Hong Kong Open, Paul Peterson @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)