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British Open picks and predictions for the final major championship of the year. Golf handicapper Andy Lack is here to break it all down and give us his early picks. Is it Rory McIlroy's chance to win his second British Open? Find out here.

British Open Picks and Predictions: Look for Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman to Contend at St. Andrews

The 150th British Championship will be returning to the home of golf, St. Andrew's, for arguably the most anticipated major tournament in recent memory. Storylines are abounding this week, with Tiger Woods returning to what he has called his favorite golf course, and the potential fracturing of professional golf hanging in the balance with the recent success of the LIV Tour, among others. Every single one of the top 50 players in the World this week will make the trip to Scotland this week to try their hand at one of the most iconic venues in the sport, and history will undoubtedly be made once again at the birthplace of golf. Let's dig into the Open Championship course preview and Open Championship odds.

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British Open Course Preview

The Old Course at St. Andrew's

The Old Course at St. Andrew's needs no introduction, as most golf fans are already aware of its majestic lure. Designed in 1895 by Old Tom Morris, the Old Course has hosted a record 29 Open Championships, most recently in 2015, which was won by Zach Johnson in a playoff over Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen at 15-under par. Five of the last six times the Open has been played at St. Andrew's, the winning score has been 14-under par or better, and the Old Course's ability to protect par will be a major talking point this week.

Ultimately, there are only so many changes St. Andrew's can make to stand up to modern technology without losing the integrity of its original architecture. It has now been stretched out to over 7,300 yards, and certain tee boxes are over 1,000 yards from the greens! As is the case with all links courses, St. Andrew's greatest defense is the wind. Early forecasts project moderate winds in 12 the 20 mph range throughout the week, which doesn't spell carnage but is certainly not nothing. While there are certainly par fours that will be drivable now for most players, I would be hesitant to suggest that the Old Course can be completely overpowered. St. Andrew's remains one of the most strategic pieces of golf architecture ever constructed, and despite featuring some of the widest fairways in the world, it is still a golf course primarily about placement. Players cannot simply bomb away aimlessly off the tee, as very few of St. Andrew's hazards are even visible on most tee shots. A comfortability with awkward wedge shots and a sense of creativity will be absolutely imperative.

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Open Championship Picks

Open Championship Key Stats

  • Long-term Proximity 75-125 yards
  • Open Championship History
  • Scrambling

Without further ado, let's dig into my outright British Open picks for this weekend.

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British Open Picks and Predictions: Outright Winner

Rory McIlroy (+1000) (Bet $100 to Win $1000)

*Odds available at BetMGM at time of publishing*

While much has been made about Rory McIlroy's eight-year major drought, one would be hard-pressed to find a better venue for the World No. 2 than St. Andrew's. At the tender age of 21, McIlroy brought the Old Course to its knees with an opening round of 63 in the 2010 Open Championship, which ultimately led to a third-place finish. He was unfortunately sidelined with injury for the 2015 Open at St. Andrew's, but the 33-year-old now returns to the birthplace of golf in arguably his best form in years. The four-time major winner has been consistently knocking on the door, with top-eight finishes at all three of the major championships this year, and he has failed to finish outside of the Top-20 in a golf tournament since April. We already know that McIlroy is one of the best drivers of the ball on the planet, but the most underrated aspect of his game is his creativity around the greens and inside of 125 yards, which is one of the reasons why he boasts a sterling record at Augusta National as well. I have very little doubt in my mind that McIlroy will be there on Sunday, and I will gladly back him at 10/1 to secure the Claret Jug for the second time in his illustrious career for my first Open Championship pick of the week.

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Marc Leishman (+10000) (Bet $100 to Win $10,000)

*Odds available at DraftKings at time of publishing*

It's no secret that Marc Leishman is fond of St. Andrew's given his second-place finish in 2015, but his statistical profile speaks volumes for the Australian's fit here as well. The World No. 56 rates top-30 in this field in long-term proximity from inside 125 yards, scrambling, putting on slower greens, and three-putt avoidance, all metrics that I believe will be absolutely crucial in crowning our champion this week. Leishman's recent form has been shaky at best, but that contributes to why we are getting such an appealing number on a player that has shown an ability to take down big-time fields. The six-time PGA Tour winner always seems to raise his game in bigger events, with multiple top-fives at the Masters and top-35 finishes at all three major championships this year. He's a player that I genuinely trust to close the door if he can find himself in the mix, and I love his chances to avenge his close call in 2015 this week at the Old Course. I'm adding Marc Leishman to my early British Open picks.

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Article Author


Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York. Andy came to OddsChecker in January 2022 after previously writing for Golf Digest, GolfWRX, Rotoballer, and the Score. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. In his free time, Andy is still grinding away at his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, and if not writing, can likely be found somewhere on a golf course.


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