2018 British Open: Forget the odds, conditions could bring surprise winner

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2018 British Open: Forget the odds, conditions could bring surprise winner

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2018 British Open: Forget the odds, conditions could bring surprise winner

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Dustin Johnson is the 12-1 favorite to win this week’s British Open according to British bookmakers Ladbrokes. Justin Rose is second at 14-1.

According to Rose, anyone can win the 147th Open.

“The beauty of this golf course is that length isn’t a necessity, which brings the whole field into it,” Rose said.

Carnoustie is so hard and dry bombers such as Johnson aren’t necessarily going to have an advantage. Anyone who hits fairways this week is a bomber. There’s absolutely no grass or soft areas to stop the forward momentum of tee shots. Johnson and 2007 champion Padraig Harrington hit tee shots into the Barry Burn short of the 18th green in practice rounds – 475 yards off the tee.

Forget obvious favorites. Sixty-year-old Bernhard Langer is a 500-1 shot. He’s won three Senior Opens in the last eight years. His first came in 2010 at Carnoustie.

“It’s going to favor a patient one for sure because even if you play this golf course aggressively, you’re going to have ups and downs during the week,” Rose said.

Harrington believes experience will be key over the four days. Harrington won the first of two consecutive Opens at Carnoustie in 2007 and says the layout is reminiscent of the 2006 Open that Tiger Woods won.

“You’d have to go back to Hoylake to see something as fiery,” he said. “It does lend itself to experience. It certainly plays into the hands of guys who can thread the ball around. The great thing about this golf course is you can’t take all the trouble out. There’s no perfect strategy that eliminates risk.”

Woods is making his first Open start since 2015. His odds are 28-1, which might attract a lot of money considering he won the 2006 Open over baked out Hoylake.

“This course can be played so many ways,” Woods said. “The real interesting test is how we’re going to manage our way around the golf course.

“There’s not a lot of opportunities to hit the driver just because the ball is going to be rolling 80 yards. It’s just hard to keep the ball in play. Even hitting sometimes 4- and 5-irons, they’ve been running 50, 60 yards.

“You don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course. Look at what Tom (Watson) did at Turnberry at 59. Greg (Norman) was there at Birkdale (in 2008) I think at 54-ish.

“You get to places like Augusta National, where it’s just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you. But links-style golf, you can roll the ball.”

Reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka was asked to compare the speed of Carnoustie’s runway-like fairways to Shinnecock’s insanely fast greens on U.S. Open Saturday. Koepka picked Shinnecock with one caveat: “Just by a smidge,” he said.

Koepka is a 28-1 shot, but odds don’t mean much this week. As Rose said: “Links golf can always throw up a surprise. We’ve seen winners of this championship come out of the blue before.”

This could be one of those weeks.

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