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The British Open Championship 2019 Guide

When it comes to professional golf tournaments, there aren’t many more prestigious occasions than The British Open, often called The Open or The Open Championship. It’s a historic competition, and one that’s well worth following in 2019.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the event, taking you from the basics to who you should bet on this year.

We’ll cover:

What is The Open Championship?

The Open is the world’s oldest professional golf tournament. It’s held annually in the UK at one of the country’s leading courses, making it the only major golf event hosted outside of the USA. There are currently ten active courses that are used on a rotational basis to host the competition. Each one of these is a coastal links style course.

The competition is organised and regulated by The Royal and Ancient Gold Club, the worldwide ruling authority of the sport (apart from the USA). The first Open Championship took place in 1860 at the Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland.

Is The Open Championship a major?

Yes, The Open is one of the four major championships — often referred to as majors — in the golfing calendar. It stands alongside the Masters, PGA Championship, and U.S. Open as one of the most prestigious titles that a professional golfer can win. It’s also the last major to be played in the golf season.

What is The Open prize money?

The Open is a lucrative tournament for professional golfers: in 2018, the prize purse was USD $10.5 million, with the winner receiving USD $1,890,000. The rest of the prize money given to those that make “the cut” [JS2] (the point where the field is cut down to the leading contenders), with an amount awarded depending on each golfer’s final placing.

The winner also gets to keep the famed Claret Jug — The Open Championship trophy — for a year until the next edition of the tournament. There are also other benefits, including guaranteed entry to future golf majors, entry to other tournaments, and a place on professional tours.

When is The Open 2019? When does it start and finish?

The Open 2019 will begin on Thursday 18th July 2019 and run until Sunday 21st July 2019. It will be the 148th Open Championship to take place.

What are The Open venues? Where is it in 2019?

In 2019, The Open will be hosted at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Country Antrim, Northern Ireland. This year’s edition is the second time the competition is being hosted at Royal Portrush in its history, with the first time being in 1951. This also makes it just the second time it has been held outside of England or Scotland (it’s never been hosted in Wales). The Open Portrush will be played on the Club’s Dunluce Links course, though some alterations are being made to accommodate the tournament.

The Open Championship is currently hosted in annual rotation across ten UK golf courses, though venues in Scotland and England feature heavily:

  • Old Course at St Andrews — St Andrews, Scotland
  • Muirfield — Gullane, Scotland
  • Royal Troon Golf Club — Troon, Scotland
  • Carnoustie Golf Links — Carnoustie, Scotland
  • Turnberry — South Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Royal St George’s Golf Club — Sandwich, England
  • Royal Liverpool Golf Course — Hoylake, England
  • Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club — Lytham St Annes, England
  • Royal Birkdale Golf Club — Southport, England
  • Royal Portrush Golf Club — Portrush, Northern Ireland

Since 1973, the pattern has been three Scottish and two English courses hosting every five years. Typically, The Open has been held at St. Andrew’s once every five years. Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland has also featured intermittently.

How do you qualify for The Open?

The Open Championship qualifying is the process that golfers need to go through to gain entry to the tournament. Usually, there are more than 2,500 entrants globally, which needs to be narrowed down to 156 participants for the competition.

The majority of entrants (typically around 65%) are exempt from the process, with exemption being earned by performing well in major golf tours and tournaments, or through a high placement in the world golf rankings.

The rest of the field is made up of golfers who qualify through The British Open Qualifying Series, which sees top-performing players from recognised non-major tournaments offered spots. In addition, there is also local qualification, where UK golfers can compete to gain entry.  

How many rounds are there in The Open?

The Open is played across 72 holes using stroke play, with each golfer completing 18 holes each day, weather permitting. The field is comprised of 156 competitors who’ve either automatically qualified or made it through global or local qualifying rounds.

After 36 holes have been played, the cut occurs, and only the top 70 golfers (plus any ties) complete the remaining 36 holes. At the end of the 72 holes, the winner is crowned. If there’s a tie, a four-hole play-off occurs with an aggregate score then, if still tied, sudden death.

When are The Open tee times?

Each golfer has a morning and afternoon tee time, playing in groups of three. After the cut, this switches to groups of two, with the leading players teeing off later than the rest of the field.

The Open tee times are usually announced the day before the Championship begins and will be posted on the tee times section of The Open’s site.

Where can I watch The Open? Is it on TV?

In the UK, Sky Sports will be showing coverage from The Open Championship 2019 exclusively, which means that you need to be a subscriber to enjoy the tournament. For those who don’t wish to take out a long-term subscription, their on-demand service Now TV offers week and day passes.

Additionally, the official British Open website usually offers a mix of live footage, updates, replays, and highlights for free. They will also feature coverage on their app and social media.

Who will win The Open in 2019? What are the odds?

Looking to place a bet on The Open 2019? It can be tough to pick a winner, especially with such a wide field of 170 competitors.

However, it does pay to know who some of the favourites are and where some of the smart money might be going in the run-up to the tournament.

To help you out, we’ve rounded up some of the leading contenders and their current odds, as well as their previous best performance and current world ranking, below.

NameOddsWon before?Best placingCurrent rank
Tiger Woods10/1Three times (2000, 2005, 2006)1st6
Rory McIlroy10/1Once (2014)1st4
Dustin Johnson29/2No.Tied 2nd (2011)1
Francesco Molinari16/1Once (2018)1st7
Justin Rose16/1No.Tied 2nd (2018)2
Brooks Koepka20/1No.Tied 6th (2017)3
Rickie Fowler20/1No.Tied 2nd (2014)10
Jon Rahm22/1No.Tied 44th (2017)11
Jordan Spieth25/1Once (2017)1st35
Justin Thomas25/1No.Tied 53rd (2016)5

Last updated: [Dec 2019]

Let’s take a closer look at some of the potential British Open Championship 2019 contenders.

Tiger Woods — 10/1

If there’s golfer just about anyone could name, it’s Tiger Woods. And, despite spending a decade or so in the wilderness, the superstar of the sport has bounced back with his first major win since 2008, taking home the Masters Tournament in April 2019.

He also has previous experience winning The Open, claiming victory three times in 2000, 2005, and 2006. Tiger’s upturn in form and successful history with this tournament has made him joint favourite to lift the trophy in July.

Rory McIlroy — 10/1

Joint favourite for The Open is Rory McIlroy, the closest thing to a local hero in 2019. Having played the course many times since his childhood, the Northern Irish golfer really knows his way around Royal Portrush.

McIlroy also performs very well on links courses, consistently placing in the top five at The Open since he won the title in 2014. This makes him a smart bet to take home the Claret Jug this year.

Dustin Johnson — 29/2

Despite only having one major title to his name (U.S. Open, 2016), Dustin Johnson is a consistent performer who is very good at placing in the top ten at big tournaments.

Though many believe his big-hitting style is better suited to parkland courses, he has had some success at the links courses of The Open, finishing in the top ten at the last ten editions of the tournament. Thanks to this fantastic dependability, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Johnson around the top places in 2019.

Francesco Molinari — 16/1

Last year’s Open champion, Francesco Molinari, has enjoyed an amazing year since winning the tournament in 2018. Not only did he pick up the coveted Race to Dubai prize on the PGA European Tour, but he played a key role in winning the Ryder Cup for Europe, which included a singles victory over the USA’s Phil Mickelson. Molinari is defending champion and still in great form, so must be considered for another win this year.

Justin Rose — 16/1

In the past, The Open has launched the careers of many great golfers, especially Justin Rose, who finished tied fourth as an amateur in 1998. Since then, he has picked up a single major title with the U.S. Open in 2013, cementing himself as one of the sport’s best.

Even though claimed The Open yet, last year saw him finish joint second — his best ever performance — so it’s very tempting to back him going one better this year.

Who won The Open in 2018?

PlaceNameScoreTo par
1stFrancisco Molinari70-72-65-69=276-8
Tied 2ndKevin Kisner Rory McIlroy Justin Rose Xander Schauffele66-70-68-74=278 69-69-70-70=278 72-73-64-69=278 71-66-67-74=278-6
Tied 6thKevin Chappell Eddie Pepperell Tiger Woods70-69-67-73=279 71-70-71-67=279 71-71-66-71=279-5
Tied 9thTony Finau Matt Kuchar Jordan Spieth67-71-71-71=280 70-68-70-72=280 72-67-65-76=280-4

In 2018, Francisco Molinari won The British Open at Camoustie Golf Links in Scotland with a score of 276 (70-72-65-69). By hitting a bogey-free final round, he was able to come from 5th place in the third to finish two shots ahead of the final chasing pack of Kevin Kisner, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, and Xander Schauffele. He became the first Italian golfer to win a major championship.

The defending 2017 champion, Jordan Spieth, started the third round tied first with Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele on nine under par, but played a number of bogeys in the final round to fall away from the eventual winner Molinari and finish a tied 2nd.

The Open betting tips and advice

Since you now know how The British Open works and who the main contenders are, you can start to think about where you’re going to put your money when July rolls around. We’ve listed a few guidelines that should help you make some smart bets.

Consider what the pundits have to say

Just like any other major sporting competition, The Open is likely to have a huge amount of coverage with experts picking their favourites to play well at this year’s competition. While their opinions are by no means the be all and end all, it’s worth seeing what they have to say and checking whether it matches up with your own thoughts. The vast majority of the time, a pundit’s input will have been informed by in-depth analysis and experience, so they are definitely worth listening to.

Weigh up the odds available on the market

The odds offered by bookmakers are another source you can look at to inform your betting strategy for The Open. Like pundits, bookies will look at a wide array of factors before settling on their odds — they don’t want to lose out, after all — so you should keep this in mind when placing your bets.

If you’re not looking to take a huge risk with your bets, backing a golfer who is one of the favourites [JS3] for the tournament might not net you a huge win, but it’s safer than betting on an outsider. On the other hand, if you want to stick your neck out and bet on a wild card, there are probably much longer odds on offer. Just be sure to do your research and pick someone in with a chance.

Research a player’s form this season

As the old saying goes, “you’re only as good as your last game”, and recent form is certainly a factor to consider when choosing your favourite. The PGA Tour’s statistics resource is a great place to get the latest insights into who’s playing well and who isn’t.

If a particular golfer is firing on all cylinders this season and winning competitions, they’re definitely worth keeping an eye on, though the odds are likely to shorten if they do. A good balance can sometimes be found in players who have found a consistent form and look to be building towards winning a major.

However, it’s always worth remembering that upsets have happened in the past and wildcards have won or placed very well before, so season form shouldn’t be the only factor you think about.

Research a player’s performance in previous Open Championships

You should also be looking at the way a golfer has performed in previous editions of The British Open over the years, as this can give you an idea as to whether they’re likely to thrive or run into difficulties.

It may be the case that a top pro is having an impressive season so far but does not have a great track record at The British Open. This could be down to a number of factors, such as their game not being suited to links courses or that they don’t tend to perform well in the mild UK climate.

Alternatively, a golfer might have a great record at The Open, which may tempt you to place a bet that goes against form. It’s worth remembering that some players have their favourite courses or climates, or they might simply find more motivation for this particular competition.

You can find a list of past Open champions [JS4] later in this guide, as well as their scores[JS5] .

Know what type of bets might suit your needs

Before you put any money on The Open this year, it might be worth taking a moment to think about what type of bets will be on offer and how they might suit your needs. Golf shares many types of bet with other sports, but it does have some unique opportunities you may not be familiar with, especially if you aren’t a regular golfing gambler.

Here are some of the most common types of golf bet and how they work:

  • Outright: Like other sports, this is a bet on who will win the tournament. Golf is very open and competitive so you may find more value backing players outside the short odds.
  • To place: You can often put money on whether you expect a player to place or where they will place, usually within the top six positions. This is a useful bet if you think a player will do well but won’t necessarily win the tournament. You can also try betting each way, which is an outright and place bet in one.
  • Round leader: With this type of bet, you pick the player you think will lead each of the four rounds of the competition. You can usually place bets for a single round or for all rounds. This is a handy bet if you’re convinced a particular golfer will start or finish strongly. 
  • Group betting: Group betting allows you to choose which golfer will score highest in a pre-selected set of competitors. It works in the same way as an outright bet, but only the group counts. These are usually based on something like the player’s nationality. For instance, there may be a group bet available on UK players at The Open.
  • Make/miss the cut: When the cut occurs at the halfway point, you can bet on who you think will make it and who won’t.
  • Two/three ball betting: At The Open, players tee off in groups of three and then pairs after the cut. You will be able to place bets on who will score the lowest in that group for a particular round.
  • Match-up: Many bookmakers will offer head-to-head odds on two players, usually big names, known as a match-up bet. You will be picking who will finish the highest of the two at the end of the tournament.

If you’re looking to make some money from The Open 2019, you may wish to try matched betting. This low-risk method is a great way to earn extra income while enjoying this sporting spectacle.

Need some extra assistance with your betting? Consider joining OddsMonkey as a premium member, where you can access the latest Open offers from our matched betting forum. You’ll also get access to useful tools, like our Oddsmatcher, Each Way Matcher, and Acca Matcher.

The Open trends

The Open Championship winners (2009–2018)

If you’re looking to place some bets on the upcoming British Open 2019, it’s worth knowing who has been successful over the last few years. Below, we’ve listed the winners of the competition in the last ten years, including their world rank and odds before the tournament, as well as their score.

YearNameNationalityWorld rankingOddsTotal scoreTo par
2018Francisco MolinariItaly1537/1276-8
2017Jordan SpiethUSA316/1268-12
2016Henrik StensonSweden725/1264-20
2015Zach Johnson*USA2580/1273-15
2014Rory McIlroyNorthern Ireland815/1271-17
2013Phil MickelsonUSA88/1281-3
2012Ernie ElsSouth Africa4020/1273-7
2011Darren ClarkeNorthern Ireland111125/1275-5
2010Louis OosthuizenSouth Africa54200/1272-16
2009Stewart Cink*USA3166/1278-2

* Last round tie. Settled by four-hole play-off.

There are a few trends that are worthy of note when looking at past winners:

Winners with long odds are fairly common

As we’ve mentioned, golf is generally an open, competitive sport where the favourite doesn’t always win. The average odds offered for the eventual champion at The Open over the last decade has been 296/5 (~60/1), showing that long-odds competitors often find success in this tournament.

Therefore, it may be worth looking across the whole field to find more value in an outsider, rather than sticking to the top group of favourites to lift the trophy.

The Official Golf World Rankings reveal very little

The Official Golf World Rankings are the recognised system that ranks players according to how well they’ve been playing over the season. They’re a good way to measure success over the last couple of years (ranks are calculated on rolling two-year period).

However, the rankings have tended to reveal very little about potential winners of the British Open. There hasn’t been a world no.1 who’s won the competition in the last decade, while the lowest-ranked winner was Darren Clarke (111th). The average rank of Open champions in the last decade has been 30th, showing, again, that this competition often hosts upsets.

Recent winners of The Open have been older (on average)

Over the last decade, winners of The Open have been 35 years and 73 days old on average. Compare this to the competition’s average champion age of 32 years and 115 days since 1958 (PGA), and you can see that winners have been on the older side recently.

There have been four winners over the age of 40 since 2009: Phil Mickelson (43), Darren Clarke (42), Ernie Els (42), and Henrik Stenson (40), while there have been three champions under the age of 30: Jordan Spieth (23), Rory McIlroy (25), and Louis Oosthuizen (27).

Europe and the USA have delivered an equal number of champions

Golfers in the Europe and the USA are rivals when it comes to the Ryder Cup, and each region has delivered four Open champions in the last ten years. Europe has given us Francisco Molinari (Italy), Henrik Stenson (Sweden), Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), and Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland), while Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Stewart Cink all hail from the USA.

Though the USA has been the most successful individual country in the last ten years, it’s important to remember that they also have the largest share of golfers entering the tournament. If you look closer, you can spot a couple of nations who punch above their weight in South Africa and Northern Ireland, both producing two champions in the past decade.

The Open Championship winning scores (2009–2018)

YearNameRound 1PlaceRound 2PlaceRound 3PlaceRound 4Score/Par
2018Francisco Molinari70T572T2965569276 (-8)
2017Jordan Spieth65T169165169268 (-12)
2016Henrik Stenson68T565268163264 (-20)
2015Zach Johnson*66T271T470T666273 (-15)
2014Rory McIlroy66166168171271 (-17)
2013Phil Mickelson69T974T1172T966281 (-3)
2012Ernie Els67T6701068T568273 (-7)
2011Darren Clarke68T668T169170275 (-5)
2010Louis Oosthuizen65267169171272 (-16)
2009Stewart Cink*66T572T971T669278 (-2)
Average scores/position per round674.269.46.968.53.668.2273.1 (-10.5)

* Last round tie. Settled by four-hole play-off.

Open Champions tend to start and finish strongly

When it comes to the average champion’s scorecard in The Open, winners make a good start, with a placement of 4th at the end of the first round. However, they tend to ease off in the second, where a 7th place finish is achieved. After the cut in the third round, the average champion begins their strong finish, moving up to the top four once again. A strong final round sees them push to the head of the pack.

This reflects the competitive nature of The Open Championship, which often sees a very close field competing before a winner emerges. Keep this trend in mind if you’re thinking of betting round by round or looking to make money by gambling on who will or won’t make the cut.

Dominant performances are rare

Further reflecting the competitive and level playing field of The Open are the small number of dominant performances by eventual champions in the last decade. Instances where someone has taken the lead and held onto it from the first round are rare. In fact, this has only happened on two occasions in the past ten years with Jordan Spieth (2017) and Rory McIlroy (2014).

So, if you’re planning to bet on a golfer to get the best score in each round, it’s worth remembering that the same player having the lead at each stage doesn’t usually happen and your money might be better placed elsewhere.

Tournaments settled by a play-off are uncommon

In the last ten years, there has been a clear-cut winner of The Open on eight occasions with no need for a four-round play-off. The two play-offs that did take place were won by Stewart Cink (2009) and Zach Johnson (2015).

Compare this with other majors and the rate is identical to that of the PGA Championship, which has also been settled with a play-off twice. On the other hand, The Masters Tournament has been tied four times and the US Open has not seen any play-offs.

Therefore, you may wish to think twice before betting on a play-off taking place unless the odds are very generous.

The last five years have seen excellent below-par performances

Looking for a trend to inform your par betting? Well, you may be interested to know the last five years have seen some incredible below-par performances from champions. In fact, 2016 saw Henrik Stenson set an Open Championship record with a score of 20 below par.

To be precise, between 2014–2018, scores have fallen to an average of -14.4, whereas the five years previous (2009-2014) saw an average of -6.6. Do you think this trend is likely to continue in 2019? If you prefer to look at the bigger picture, then the last decade has offered an average par of -10.5.

Hopefully, you’ve found the advice here helpful and you’re looking forward to putting some great bets on The Open 2019 when it takes place in July.

If you’re looking to put your money in some really smart places, then matched betting can net you a sizeable income at a very low risk. At OddsMonkey, we can make life even simpler through our premium membership, where you’ll get access to a load of great features and support.

About the author:

James OddsMonkey

James OddsMonkey

James' background in IT support and matched betting knowledge is how he's ended up at OddsMonkey updating offer, answering tickets and generally being super helpful.

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