Ryan Fox, should you be wondering about his chances this week at the Open Championship, sounds like a man who isn’t wondering himself.
“Every part of my game has been working really nicely, which I certainly couldn’t have said over the last few years; I’ve always had something that hasn’t quite clicked,” he said last week during Golf Channel’s broadcast of the Scottish Open.
“I’m happy on the golf course, I’m happy off the golf course and generally that results in good results.
“I don’t know why it has been good as it has been, but I’m starting to feel more comfortable up near the lead, hitting some good shots down the stretch, and, yeah, been knocking on the door again this year. …
“Certainly would like to get another one this year, but I’m pretty happy with where everything’s at.”
Checks a lot of the boxes, doesn’t it? All-around excellence. Happiness. Comfort. He’s also been one of the hottest players on the DP World Tour, winning once and finishing runner-up three times since the start of the year. There’s plenty to like here, though if Fox’s pitch didn’t work ahead of this week’s Open at St. Andrews, here’s another:
A good chunk of investors believes it. We’ve noted here before that it’s worth at least a casual glance at whom the public likes, and over at oddschecker.com, a site that tracks both odds and which players are the most popular with gamblers, Fox was the bettors’ favorite late last week. And at 100-1 over at BetMGM, he stands to offer a healthy return.
You know what to do. Our staff also likes a few more to-win bets and sleeper picks. We have made one of each using odds from BetMGM to assist you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league, or (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook. (And if you’re looking to place any of these bets yourself, we teamed with BetMGM, and the online sports book is offering a new promotion: Make a risk-free bet up to $1,000. Sign up for an account to get into the action today.)
On to the picks.
Expert picks to win and sleepers to watch for the Open Championship
To-win: Rory McIlroy, +1,000. Mr. McIlroy has had a great season so far, and considering his early trip over the pond both to play in the JP McManus Pro-Am and to roam the links with Tiger Woods talking shot-making and links golf — how could he NOT be charged up to play?
Sleeper pick: Seamus Power, +8,000. I picked him before as a sleeper, and I’m gonna do it again. A year ago at this time, he won the Barbasol Championship, so maybe this week can supply some good vibes to the Irishman.
To-win: Xander Schauffele, +1,400. If we learned anything from Scottie Scheffler’s win at the Masters, it’s that it’s OK to trust a hot hand. And given his win at the Travelers, his strong form at the JP McManus Pro-Am and his victory at the Genesis Scottish Open, no one is hotter. Oh, and I pick Xander to win every major, so take this with a grain of salt.
Sleeper pick: Ryan Fox, +6,600. He may not yet be a household name, but Fox’s recent DP World Tour run is ridiculous. He won earlier this year and has just strung together four top-three finishes in his past six starts. Let’s reiterate that — his past six finishes look like this: T2-54-2-MC-3-2. Yowza! (Bonus numbers that seem too high: Mito Pereira (125-1) Thomas Pieters (125-1) and Brian Harman (150-1).)
To-win: Shane Lowry, +2,200. An absolute maestro with his wedges, which on a short-ish Old Course setup will be a key to winning. Also is innately attuned to all the subtleties of links-golf strategy. Next week, he picks up jug number two.
Sleeper pick: Ryan Fox, +6,600. I’m with Dethier. The Kiwi has been on a tear on the DP World Tour, with seven top-10 finishes in his past 14 tournaments, including a runner-up at the Irish Open. Proven he can handle the Old Course, too, with a top-20 finish at the 2015 Open. Love these odds. Will def be popping out to Ladbrokes next week to put my money where my mouth is.
To-win: Jordan Spieth, +1,600. Hate to brag, everyone, but I have correctly picked two of the year’s three major winners (need a mulligan for the U.S. Open), and yet I feel the most confident in this Open Championship pick. I love Jordan Spieth at St. Andrews. Let’s not forget how close he was to winning there in 2015, when he finished bogey-par and a spot out of a playoff, and let’s also remember how Spieth is the game’s ultimate grinder. I love him in unpredictable Scottish conditions. His putter hasn’t been great, but Open Championship greens are typically slower and thus can bring below-average putters back into the mix. There’s a lot to like about Jordan at the Old Course.
Sleeper pick: Robert MacIntyre, +12,500. He’s from Scotland, has played this course a ton and has two top-10 finishes in his two Open Championship appearances. Sign me up.
To-win: Cam Smith, +2,500. I’m pretty certain Cam Smith is going to win the Open at St. Andrews. He’s not notably long or notably accurate off the tee, which is sort of perfect for St. Andrews. It means he’s got enough power to take advantage of the Old Course, and enough wiggle room to spray his driver occasionally. Where he’ll excel is with his short irons, wedges and putter. Those are the strengths of his game, and the key to taking it low at St. Andrews.
Sleeper pick: Justin Rose, +6,600. Is 66-1 enough for a sleeper pick? Probably not, but either way, I’m picking Rose. He finished sixth back at St. Andrews in 2015, and he’s captured a decent run of form of late.
To-win: Rory McIlroy, +1,000. After a maddening year of close calls in majors, Rory finally gets it done at the Home of Golf. Every advanced metric points to a McIlroy victory this week — it’ll all come down to whether he can win the battle with his mind. I like his chances.
Sleeper pick: Billy Horschel, +10,000. Emotions are running high in the PGA Tour-LIV Golf battle, and Billy Horschel is a player who thrives off that sort of intensity. It would be a big win for the Tour loyalists, and provide a platform for Horschel to preach his pro-Tour beliefs.
To-win: Rory McIlroy, +1,000. If St. Andrews turns into a birdie fest this week, I want the player with the most firepower. Rory wins another major.
Sleeper pick: Sahith Theegala, +15,000. More firepower. He’s going to be a star, and this week will be the start.
To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +1,800. In the modern era, the statistical link between the Old Course and Augusta has been striking. Players who do well in the Masters tend to do the same at St. Andrews. Things should be no different for the reigning Masters champion and top-ranked player in the world.
Sleeper pick: Ryan Fox, +6,600. From our State-side view, it’s easy to overlook the goings-on in Europe, where Fox has been a stud this year. Currently fourth in the Order of Merit, he’s got a better shot of being in the mix than his 66-1 odds would make you think.
To-win: Will Zalatoris, +2,200. Keeps banging on the major championship door. He’s going to eventually knock it down. This is the week.
Sleeper pick: Sam Horsfield, +20,000. Proper major sleeper. Logged a win on the DP World Tour this season before signing with LIV. Have a hunch he’s going to be in contention on the weekend.
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