2022 PGA Betting Preview: Tiger Woods Returns, but Xander Schauffele the One To Watch at Open Championship

It feels like the season is only just getting underway but we are at our final major of the season, the Open Championship.

It is a special one as it is the 150th Open and is being played at the home of golf, St Andrews in Scotland.

The Old Course is far from the toughest of tests — unless the wind gets up of course — but there is so much tradition here that it really does not matter. From the double greens to the phenomenal finishing holes and picturesque backdrop, this place is one of the best golf courses in the world.

Xander Schauffele is putting himself in position as the man to beat, coming in here with back-to-back wins — one of them here in Scotland last week — and a big pro-am win in between. He is in incredible form and has looked destined for a major for some time now. This could be his week.

We suggested getting on him last week if you were going to back him as his price would come in with another good finish and that is what happened as he is now available at 18/1, but that still feels like value.

He is a player that can win if conditions are easier and birdies are needed, but if the wind does get up then he can grind a round out with the best of them. He plays links golf so well and he is hard to back against on current form.

Rory McIlroy is a strong favourite at 10/1 — eight points shorter than any other player — and it is easy to make the case for him. He has as much experience of this type of golf as pretty much any of the top player, he has won an Open before, and most importantly, he is playing some very good golf of late. 

His tendency to have one bad round in these events is what makes the 10/1 look short though. He won in Canada but he has not been able to convert any of the other chances into wins, and he has had a lot of them. He has put himself in position to win in almost every event he has played in the past few months but just has not got the job done enough to feel comfortable at the price.

I would much rather back Scottie Scheffler at twice the price at 20/1. He is not quite at the level he was when he dominated the early part of the calendar but he is still playing superb golf and the world number one has a great chance of bookending his season with majors. 

He can play well anywhere and while the worry is his lack of links experience, he has shown he is up to the test on any course.

Tiger Woods is back in the field and looking fairly healthy after pulling out of the US Open. St Andrews is a much easier test physically so there should be no problems for him there. He is available at 90/1 and while a win seems a stretch, do not be surprised to see him play well and at least be in contention for a top 10 on Sunday. 

Knowing how to get it round these Open venues. Where to miss it, how to navigate the incredibly tough bunkers and when to go for it and when not to can make up for some of the rustiness he is bound to have. Tom Watson showed not too long ago that it can be done by the older guys, and at 46 Tiger still has plenty in him.

This event is going to be special. There have already been some amazing events with some of the golfing greats coming out for exhibition events in the build up.

But when the main event gets underway on Thursday in the early hours, expect some fireworks. We will get plenty of birdies, but some big numbers thrown in there. 17 is always a key hole at the Old Course so no lead is safe until the players have finished there.

The crowd should be up for this one and if Woods can make his way through the leaderboard then they will only get more into things. But it is Xander Schauffele who is the man to really back here, and he could be lifting the famous Claret Jug on Sunday evening.

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