2011 British Open a Wide Open Affair
This much is certain, the 140th Open Championship will get underway tomorrow morning at the Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England. Everything else is up in the air, though, as there is no clear favorite in the 156 players field. Yes, Rory McIlroy has drawn preferred status at 5 to 1 odds, but outside of Tiger Woods, a player recording back-to-back major victories is an extreme rarity. That fact, at least in this writer’s opinion, puts the smart money on Lee Westwood.
Lee Westwood has been beating on the door of a major championship for several years now, which leads one to believe that the Worksop, England native is bound to break through at some point. Westwood, who turned 38 in April, has finished third or better in six of the last 13 majors that he has entered. Two of those top three results came at the 2009 and 2010 British Open’s, where Westwood placed third and second, respectively.
Clearly, based upon those showings, Westwood knows how to navigate a true links course in successful fashion. Also working in Westwood’s favor is his solid performance through most of the 2011 season. Westwood has finished no worse than 18th in his last nine European Tour tournaments, and he placed in the top three in three of those outings, including last month’s U.S. Open Championship.
Westwood’s recent prowess, as well as his affinity for the Open Championship, has him, understandably, feeling confident heading into tomorrow’s action.
“I think my form is right where I’d like it to be,” Westwood said. “I’ve been playing well just recently and had a good stretch of results. I think this is a week I look forward to all year round. So I try to gear my game up for this week. The form is pretty good; I’m happy with all aspects of may game.”
As for his inability to get over the major hump, Westwood indicated he is not concerned with past, but rather the task at hand.
“I tend not to look at history any more and just get on with what I need to do,” Westwood said. “You’ve got to still want it, and I do.”
Westwood, who won an amateur tournament at Royal St George’s in the early nineties, will tee off at 8:10 AM ET tomorrow morning with Group 41. His opening round partners are American Steve Stricker and South African Charl Schwartzel, this year’s surprise Masters’ winner.
Westwood, currently No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking behind fellow Englishman Luke Donald, is presently listed at 8 to 1 odds to win the 2011 British Open. That probability leaves him second only to McIlroy in terms of the betting public’s favorite choice to win the 140th Open Championship.