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Carnoustie’s Massive Test For the World’s Best This Weekend


If there is one course on the British Open roster of courses to host the tournament that will send shivers down the spine of players, then that course is Carnoustie. Dubbed “Car-nasty” by American players who suffered under the horrific rough and weather conditions at the 1999 British Open Championship, the course has developed a reputation as being one of the toughest not just of all British Open course, but of all golf courses around the world.

Indeed, a recent CNN Travel guide picked Carnoustie as the second most difficult course in the world, pipped to the post by The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.

However, 156 of the world’s elite golfers will tee up their ball at the course, located just north of Dundee in Angus, Scotland in the hope of following Masters winner Patrick Reed and US Open champion Brooks Koepka into the record books as the winner of the third Major Championship of the golf season.

So, if you have got World Cup withdrawal and are looking out for some more great betting, perhaps to use with your bet365 Sport welcome bonus, then take a look at the different betting opportunities available on this massive golf event. We’ll bring you our tips to watch later, but first of all, let us preview the tournament and course in a bit more detail.

The Open Championship History

This year’s event is the 147th time the British Open Championship has been contested but it is only the eighth time that the tournament has been hosted at the North Sea links of Carnoustie. The current holder of the famous Claret Jug trophy is American Jordan Spieth, who won the 2017 tournament at Royal Birkdale in England last year.

The first Open Championship was competed for in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland and was won by Willie Park Senior. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club took over organising the championship solely in 1920, by when the tournament had become a 72-hole event, with a cut at the midway point, which was initially introduced due to the increasing popularity of the tournament with players.

Currently there are a total of 10 courses on the active roster for the British Open, one in Northern Ireland (Royal Portrush), four in England (Royal St Georges, Royal Liverpool, Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham) and five in Scotland, Turnberry, Royal Troon, Muirfield, St.Andrews and Carnoustie, which is the furthest north of all ten venues.

Winners of the tournament since 2000

The full list of winners, venue and winning score from the year 2000 onwards is shown below.

  • 2000 – St Andrews – Tiger Woods (US) – 19-under
  • 2001 – Royal Lytham – David Duval (US) – 10-under
  • 2002 – Muirfield – Ernie Els (SA) – 6-under
  • 2003 – Royal St Georges – Ben Curtis (US) – 1-under
  • 2004 – Royal Troon – Todd Hamilton (US) – 10-under
  • 2005 – St Andrews – Tiger Woods (US) – 14-under
  • 2006 – Royal Liverpool – Tiger Woods (US) – 18-under
  • 2007 – Carnoustie – Padraig Harrington (Ire) – 7-under
  • 2008 – Royal Birkdale – Padraig Harrington (Ire) – 3-over
  • 2009 – Turnberry – Stewart Cink (US) – 2-under
  • 2010 – St.Andrews – Louis Oosthuizen (SA) – 16-under
  • 2011 – Royal St Georges – Darren Clarke (N.Ire) – 5-under
  • 2012 – Royal Lytham – Ernie Els (SA) – 7-under
  • 2013 – Muirfield – Phil Mickelson (US) – 3-under
  • 2014 – Royal Liverpool – Rory McIlroy (N.Ire) – 17-under
  • 2015 – St Andrews – Zach Johnson (US) – 15-under
  • 2016 – Royal Troon – Henrik Stenson (Swe) – 20-under
  • 2017 – Royal Birkdale – Jordan Spieth (US) – 12-under

The record holder for number of Open Championship victories is Jersey’s Harry Vardon with six, which were all won prior to the First World War. However, the player with the most victories in the modern era is American Tom Watson who has won the event five times. Multiple winners likely to be playing at Carnoustie this weekend are Ernie Els (2), Tiger Woods (3) and Padraig Harrington (2).

The last Scottish player to win the event was Paul Lawrie back in 1999 and the last English player to win the tournament was Nick Faldo who claimed his third victory in 1992 at Muirfield. In contrast, players from Northern and southern Ireland have won the event four times since 2000 (Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008, Darren Clarke in 2011 and Rory McIlroy in 2014).

After Paul Lawrie’s withdrawal from the tournament through injury, Padraig Harrington will be the only player in the field that has won an Open title on this course.

British Open winners at Carnoustie

  • 1931 – Tommy Armour (US) (+8)
  • 1937 – Henry Cotton (Eng) (+6)
  • 1953 – Ben Hogan (US) (-6)
  • 1968 – Gary Player (SA) (+1)
  • 1975 – Tom Watson (US) (-9)
  • 1999 – Paul Lawrie (Sco) (+6)
  • 2007 – Padraig Harrington (Ire) (-7)

The most famous, or perhaps infamous, win came in 1999 when a storm blew in from the North Sea and combined with horrific rough, contrived to make playing conditions almost impossible for players. A young Sergio Garcia, famously finished last in the tournament after shooting 89 and then 82 and left the course in tears after his second round.

The winner of that tournament was Paul Lawrie but only after Frenchman Jean Van de Velde managed to blow a three-shot lead going down the 18th hole, recording a triple bogey 7 to put him into a playoff with American Justin Leonard and Lawrie, who kept his nerve to record an unlikely win, having posted his score of 6-over par many hours beforehand.

Who will win the British Open 2018?

Best Odds bet (courtesy of Bet365 – odds correct as of 1pm on Tue 17th July)

  • Dustin Johnson – 12/1
  • Justin Rose – 16/1
  • Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler – 18/1
  • Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm – 20/1
  • Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood – 22/1
  • Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods – 25/1
  • Sergio Garcia, Alex Noren – 28/1
  • Henrik Stenson, Francesco Molinari – 30/1
  • Jason Day – 33/1
  • 40/1 bar

There’s a real mix of players amongst the favourites with the bookmakers including all the top US stars as well as many top players from Europe as well as one Australian. Of that group, my personal choice is Tommy Fleetwood (22/1). The Lancashire born player grew up playing Links golf in Southport and last autumn, shot a course record 62 at Carnoustie at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. If he can hit that form again over the weekend, he should be very close indeed.

Another player to watch is Rickie Fowler (18/1). The American has not yet won a Major, but is a previous Players Championship champion, an event many professional feel is harder to win. Fowler has been hugely consistent in Major’s over the years and has adapted his game well to links play and for me, he is the most likely of the American contingent to get a win here.

Solid Each Way Option?

With bet365 Sport offering pays on the first eight golfers and ties, there is a chance that a longer odds golfer could earn you a decent return with a place inside the top eight. My pick for this gas to be Shane Lowry (125/1). The Irishman has a fabulous short game, something you need on these tough courses where even good shots can be punished, plus he grew up playing links golf. He is due a solid performance in a Major and British soil seems as good a place as any for him to shine.