It was 2004 when the Open was last played here at Royal Troon and the result was a complete shock to everyone with Todd Hamilton winning in a four hole play-off against Ernie Els. The Open has been held here eight times with the last six winners all American so perhaps we should concentrate on the visitors from overseas. The weather is also an important factor here and rainfall is predicted on all four days with strong winds picking up on Saturday and Sunday.
So who wins? We must look at the Americans because of their record here and also players who play links golf well. Older players can often do well on this type of course as their past knowledge of playing links golf particularly in bad weather is worth its weight in gold.
Analysis of fifteen of the top challengers
Jason Day. Tied 4th last year but will his high ball flight be affected by the weather?
Rory McIlroy. Won in 2014 and couldn’t defend last year but is his game in the right place?
Shane Lowry. Forgive him his US Open collapse and he could be right up there.
Dustin Johnson. In top form but has never really looked at home over here.
Louis Oosthuizen. Does his best form come at St Andrews? Won and tied 2nd there.
Rickie Fowler. Never looked really comfortable here but has tied 2nd in 2014.
Adam Scott. Five top 10 finishes in the Open but not in great form.
Brandt Snedeker. Plays well in the wind but badly out of form.
Sergio Garcia. Always the bridesmaid; can you trust him when the pressure is on?
Lee Westwood. As with Sergio, one of the nearly men. Capable but he just doesn’t win.
Brandon Grace. Good links player who is in good form.
Jordan Spieth. Changing the way he plays his golf, much quicker, why? Wind may find him out.
Zach Johnson Won last year but struggling to get back to that level.
Justin Rose. Five missed cuts in 14 attempts hardly inspires confidence.
Phil Mickelson. Can never be discounted and played well last week.
My personal choice and five against the field are Patrick Reid 70/1, Brandon Grace 30/1, Brandt Snedeker 100/1, Shane Lowry 50/1 and, as a big priced outsider, Billy Horschel 200/1. Hopefully one will do the business for us. Shop around as some bookies are offering up to 8 places but be careful as they may be only offering a fifth of the odds a place instead of a quarter.