The 2012 Open Championship best odds, promotions and free bets

There has been a major gamble on Lee Westwood ahead of the 2012 Open, with the Englishman looking to break his major duck and punters have been backing the 39-year-old to finally demonstrate he is the man for the big occasion

Westwood has been in contention for several majors although a mixture of bad putting, misfortune and other players’ excellence has prevented the man known as Westy from claiming the sort of titles which could make him one of golf’s greats.

Even so, he has now gone as short as 10/1 with Coral to win at Lytham St Anne’s this week, although you can get 14/1 (Ladbrokes free bets) about Westwood illustrating why he’s the best tee-to-green player in the world and the same firm go six places when it comes to each-way bets.

While the bookies have been trimming Lee’s odds, Tiger Woods has been going the other way and is now trading at double figures with the majority of operators, with firms out to get the American despite a recent resurgence which has seen the 14-time major winner claim three 2012 victories on the PGA Tour.

Westwood and Woods are the co-favourites, with Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald the two men who feature next in the betting and the latter can be backed at a best price 20/1 with Paddy Power, who are paying seven places as well as offering to refund losing three-ball bets on the first round if Donald, Mickelson or Ogilvy shoot the lowest round of the day.

Even so, Harrington surely looks to be a better value bet considering the Irishman has twice won the Open Championship and has featured near the top of the leaderboard in the last two majors. BetVictor are one of the few firms to hold 20/1 about the 40-year-old and the same firm will refund losing bets on the outright market if Westwood, Donald, Poulter or Garcia claim victory.

This “Lost Boys” promotion is pretty generous and credit goes to Victor Chandler for running with an offer so shortly after getting stung after Spain won Euro 2012.

As we should know by now, the Open is a wide-open contest and it regularly pays to look outside the favourites, with many expecting Rickie Fowler to produce an impressive showing considering the American has always performed well in the UK. His last two performances at the Open saw him play all four days and who can forget those final few holes in the 2010 Ryder Cup.

Ernie Els has also been well-backed ahead of the action starting and the Big Easy has three major titles under his belt as part of a glittering career which saw him win the Open in 2002 and he appears to be coming back into form which would suggest he’s worth siding with at odds of 40/1 (William Hill free £25 bet).

Last year’s popular winner was Darren Clarke and he is on offer at 150/1 to make history repeat itself, with the northern Irishman clearly a gritty competitor who could potentially come alive for this contest.

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