2019 British Open picks: Our staff picks to win at Royal Portrush

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

2019 British Open picks: Our staff picks to win at Royal Portrush

2019 British Open

2019 British Open picks: Our staff picks to win at Royal Portrush

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As the British Open returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951, Golfweek writers give us their picks to win the Claret Jug at Royal Portush.

There are 15 British Open champions in the field this week: Francesco Molinari, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Zach Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink, Padraig Harrington, Tiger Woods, David Duval, Paul Lawrie, Tom Lehman.

RELATED: See the latest betting odds

Winner: Dustin Johnson

He has won twice this year, is the No. 2 player in the world and has been runner-up in two majors, yet some people are wondering what’s wrong with Dustin Johnson, especially after a dull effort in the U.S. Open and a missed cut in his last two starts. Well, nothing is wrong with DJ. He’s the third betting favorite for a reason. He’s one of the best drivers of the golf ball, a must club to have working this week. Superb iron player. Will relish the not-so-fast greens. He wins his second major.

Long shot: Bernd Wiesberger

Stay with the hot hand. Bernd Wiesberger won last week’s Scottish Open in a playoff. The big Aussie has six titles on the European Tour, but his best finish in 20 majors is a tie for 16th. He beats that this week.

–Steve DiMeglio

Winner: Patrick Cantlay

Tons of storylines this week with Rory’s home game, Tiger’s return and Brooks’ major tear, but we’re going in a slightly less-scintillating direction. Good golf is good golf, and we’ve seen it from Cantlay for pretty much a year straight now. He finished T-12 last year in his British Open debut, he won the Memorial last month and his stats are very, very strong – second in Strokes Gained total, fourth in Strokes Gained tee-to-green and 25th in Strokes Gained putting. He was 153rd with the putter last season and made that his No. 1 focus this offseason. This week could be the biggest payoff yet.

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Long shot: Lee Westwood

Here’s your Cinderella story. Experience has proven much more valuable than youth at this tournament over the past decade, and the 46-year-old has been playing well all summer. With 18 top-10 finishes in majors and no trophies to show for it, Westwood has at least a chance to get into contention and add that definitive victory to a solid resume.

-Dan Kilbridge

Winner: Eddie Pepperell

He got in the mix last year at Carnoustie, and has a history of strong showings on links courses, including a T-4 at the Irish Open two weeks ago, and a runner-up finish in the same event in 2015. This could be the week when he generates buzz for reasons other than his customary dance along the third rail of Twitter.

Long shot: Rory McIlroy

Sure, he should be the favorite. And no one will be surprised if he wins. But the scrutiny and weight of expectation that McIlroy will shoulder this week is even more onerous than what he experiences every year at Augusta National. Producing his best under these circumstances will be a stout challenge. His key weapon may be his caddie Harry Diamond, who has played Royal Portrush superbly himself in past amateur competitions.

-Eamon Lynch

Winner: Adam Scott

He has set up shop at Portrush for a week prior to the championship and has gained a huge leg up in learning a course few players know. But he’s my pick because of his recent play in majors, his love of links golf, a heartbreaking missed chance at Lytham in 2012 and most of all, what looks like a course that will reward the best ball-strikers. Yes, chipping and putting will matter, but not nearly as much as hitting fairways and greens. While Koepka, Woods, Rahm and McIlroy all should thrive here, Scott’s devotion to the week could give him a slight edge.

Long shot: Rafa Cabrera Bello

An emerging player not long ago who has found life in his game at the Irish and Scottish Opens. Look out.

-Geoff Shackelford

Winner: Jon Rahm

He’s a 16-1 shot with British bookmakers Ladbrokes and that price might just be a bit too generous considering two of his four European Tour wins have comes on links, including the recent Irish Open at Lahinch. The Spaniard won his first Irish Open at Portstewart in 2017, just along the coast from Royal Portrush. Past performances in the Open Championship have been poor for a player of his caliber. He missed the cut at Carnoustie last year, finished T-44 in 2017 and T-59 on his 2016 debut. It’s time the Arizona State grad stepped up his game in the Open. Expect him to contend this year.

Long shot: Lucas Glover

The 2009 U.S. Open champion is trending in the right direction this year with four top-10 finishes. He always has been a superb ball striker and that could come in handy on what many expect to be a brute of a links in Royal Portrush. His putting has never matched his ball striking, but he’s ranked 16th in total putting on the PGA Tour this year so is performing better on the greens. He hasn’t played an Open since 2013 when he missed the cut at Muirfield, and his best finish is T-12 in 2011. He’s s true long shot at 200-1, but he’s far better than that.

-Alistair Tait

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