What will it take to win the 2021 Open Championship?

By Alistair July 7, 2021 10:03

The Open Championship returns to Royal St. George’s Golf Club this month, a full decade after Darren Clarke lifted the Claret Jug on the famous course in Sandwich, Kent following a six-shot victory in 2011. This year’s Open will be the 149th edition and the 15th to be held at the course, which became the first outside of Scotland to host the Open back in 1894.

Slim chance for local heroes

Royal St. George’s Golf Club is one of four English courses currently featured in the rotational list of venues for the event. Yet, there hasn’t been an English winner since 1938 when Reginald Whitcombe claimed the crown and received £100 in prize money – this year’s winner will pocket just under £2 million. Since Whitcombe’s victory, there have been winners from South Africa (1), the USA (2), Scotland (1), Australia (1), and Northern Ireland (1).

What does it take to win at Royal St. George’s? We take a closer look at the course and past results to get an idea of which contenders in the latest golf odds might flourish at this year’s event. The nature of the course increases the number of potential winners, making it a tough call for those offering golf tips for the event.

Firm but fair course

The Open Championship is notable for its tough links courses but it’s fair to say that Royal St. George’s is one of the least intimidating of the line-up. Players will arrive here knowing that the course plays with a fair balance of reward and punishment. If you are striking the ball well and can manage your way around the course sensibly, you stand a great chance of posting a decent score. That’s not to say the course is easy; wayward shots can still cost you dearly and there are some brutally tough holes along the way.

Jon Rahm

Surprise winners

This was highlighted in the last two editions held here, which both produced surprise winners. Back in 2003, Ben Curtis qualified for the Open in his first year on the PGA Tour and became the first player since Francis Ouimet in 1913 (US Open) to win on his major debut.

Darren Clarke had never finished higher than eighth in a major when he arrived at Sandwich in 2011. He shot the second-highest number of greens in regulation to win his one and only major by three clear shots ahead of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. When defending his title at Royal Lytham & St Annes a year later, he missed the cut. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see an unheralded golfer make the mark on this year’s competition.

Who will win?

The course features 12 par fours and two par five holes with variable wind directions, which should suit the likes of Justin Thomas, priced at 22/1, and Dustin Johnson, who is priced at 12/1. The latter tied second here in 2011 along with Phil Mickelson, who should not be ruled out after claiming his sixth major in stunning fashion at the PGA Championships earlier this year. Rory McIlroy is a solid links course player and finished T25 here in 2011 aged just 22. Since 2014, he has finished in the top five in four of the five Open Championships he has entered, winning the event once. The Northern Irishman will be a popular choice to take the Open crown from fellow Irishman Shane Lowry.

Last but not least we should mention the 10/1 tournament favourite, Jon Rahm, who is looking to make it back-to-back major wins after breaking his duck in the US Open at Torrey Pines in June. He finished T11 last year and is the best player in the world right now.


By Alistair July 7, 2021 10:03

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