The Open Championship latest odds, news and free bets

The greatest golf players in the world descend on Lytham St Anne’s this week as they attempt to master one of the trickiest links courses in the UK. The 2012 Open promises to be a battle against the elements, not to mention the rough which Tiger Woods has described as virtually unplayable

It is the American who is stationed at the head of the betting market and Woods has three Open triumphs to his name, having claimed a first title at St Andrews in 2000 before following up in 2005 and 2006 with victories at St Andrews and the Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

However, it was the 2008 US Open since the 36-year-old last tasted victory in a major and the bookies are inching Woods’ odds towards double figures, with a price of 19/2 (Blue Square free bets) about him landing the spoils this week.

When asked about the rough at the Lytham St Anne’s course, Woods responded with “Oh my God. It’s just that you can’t get out of it. The bottom six inches is so lush.

“The wispy stuff, we’ve always faced that at every British Open. But that bottom six inches, in some places it’s almost unplayable. I’ve never seen the rough this high or thick and dense.”

As always, the Open looks to be a wide open contest and the last three tournaments have returned big-price winners in Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen and Stewart Cink. However, Lee Westwood will be hoping to break his major duck and can be backed at 16/1 (Paddy Power bookmaker) to claim victory in the Open.

In the past three years, the Worksop player has finished tied-third and second although he missed the cut twelve months ago and perhaps Padraig Harrington represents a better bet considering the Irishman has won the Open twice when claiming triumphs in 2007 and 2008.

Harrington is a 20/1 chance with Ladbrokes and has enjoyed a promising 2012 which has seen the 40-year-old claim 8th at the Masters and 4th at the US Open, while his ability to play in testing conditions has been illustrated on several occasions.

Luke Donald endured a difficult Scottish Open and should be passed over as he’s barely been in contention throughout his career, while Rory McIlroy seems to be struggling with his form at the moment and might do well to make the cut considering he seems better suited to the conditions on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Phil Mickelson is an interesting runner at 33/1 (bet365 £200 free bets) and it appears as though Lefty has prepared differently for the Open this time around, with the American playing some excellent golf at Castle Stuart which suggests he could be in the mix this time around. We should also note that he was joint-second behind Darren Clarke a year ago.

Rickie Fowler is another American who seems adept at handling difficult conditions and played very well at Royal St George’s a year ago, while Oosthuizen can’t be ignored considering the runaway victory that the South African enjoyed in 2010.

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