The 2022 Open Championship gets underway Thursday at The Old Course at St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, where 156 players will bid to raise the Claret Jug and claim the title “Champion Golfer of the Year” in what will be the competitors’ last chance at glory this calendar year.
St. Andrews will play to a par 72, but not in a traditional sense. Instead of your usual four par 5s offset by four par 3s, the Old Course only features two of each type of hole. Because of this, par-4 scoring is extremely important as they make up 14 of the holes players will face each day. On a course boasting wide fairways and large greens, the combination of driving distance, precise wedge play and capable lag putting will be the key to crowning an Open champion.
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2022 The Open Matchup Odds
Will Zalatoris (-120) vs Collin Morikawa
This head-to-head cashed for us at the U.S. Open, so why not look in its direction again. Zalatoris has simply been incredible in major championships this season as he and Rory McIlroy are the only two players to have finished in the top 10 in all three of them thus far.
The runner-up at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, Zalatoris should once again be a factor in the Open Championship. In only nine appearances, the Wake Forest product has continued to shine on the big stage and consistently plays himself into the mix over the weekend.
Zalatoris is long and straight off the tee, a fantastic wedge player and has been able to elevate his short game in these situations. If his putter holds steady, he should be able to roll over Morikawa, who has been struggling this season.
The reigning Champion Golfer of the Year is coming off a missed cut at the Scottish Open. The reason for concern is not Morikawa’s putter, but rather his ball-striking – even he admitted to needing some work on the range. His driving accuracy is down and because of this, his approach figures have also taken a hit. He is simply not the player from last year, yet he is being priced as if he is.
Sergio Garcia (-120) vs Abraham Ancer
In a battle between two players from the LIV Golf Series, I will side with the elder statesman as Garcia has been terrific throughout his career in the Open Championship. The Spaniard finished runner-up in 2007 and has since added efforts of T-14 in 2010 and T-6 in 2015, both of which occurred at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Garcia’s success is due to his blend of distance and accuracy off the tee. Players who consistently avoid the high grass and pot bunkers at St. Andrews are set up to attack these tricky pin locations. Garcia is also a great wedge player and that combination makes him dangerous in this head-to-head matchup.
Ancer is steady off the tee but tends to fall short the closer he gets to the hole. The Olympian’s iron play has been poor since the beginning of March and to make matters worse, his short game was one of the worst on the PGA Tour before leaving for LIV Golf. I would much rather side with a steady veteran who has proven himself on links golf courses before.
Padraig Harrington (-115) vs Lee Westwood
The 50-year-old Harrington was able to be a presence on a major championship leaderboard last season at Kiawah Island, so let’s see if he can repeat history. Twice an Open champion, he arrives to this year’s tournament with some solid finishes despite having just missed the cut at the Scottish Open.
Before last week, the Irishman had won the U.S. Senior Open and even finished in a tie for 30th at the Irish Open on the DP World Tour. He can be a bit sporadic off the tee, but if he is able to keep the ball in front of him this week, the rest of his game should thrive as the irons have looked sharp and he is as crafty as anyone around the green.
Westwood unfortunately has turned into a shell of his former self as he is having a hard time adjusting to the LIV Golf Series. Without a top-15 finish on the circuit, the Englishman has been unable to turn in any quality golf in 2022. Outside of the Masters, he has zero top-15 finishes worldwide and I don’t see that changing at St. Andrews.
Max Homa (-110) vs Justin Rose
The four-time PGA Tour Sportsbook should have a great chance to win at St. Andrews as he is coming off a contention run at the Scottish Open. Homa entered the final nine at the Renaissance Club only two strokes off the lead and had his opportunities coming home to apply pressure on Xander Schauffele.
Ultimately finishing T-16, this marked yet another quality start for Homa. He finished T-5 at the Memorial Tournament and enjoyed a strong U.S. Open where if his putter cooperated, he likely would have finished inside the top 20 as well.
Rose certainly has the upper hand in links golf experience as he finished runner-up at Carnoustie in 2018 in what was his latest close call in this championship. The Englishman consistently makes the cut – the last time he missed a weekend in the Open was 2013. Despite this, Homa’s upside is too high to pass up as he has a real chance to win while Rose will likely finish somewhere in the middle of the pack.
Seamus Power (-110) vs Marc Leishman
Leishman may be a popular selection this week as he lost in a playoff to Zach Johnson here in 2015. Despite this, Power will be our calling card as the Irishman has been terrific in the major setting in his first season qualified for them. He made the cut at the Masters and then captured a T-9 finish at the PGA Championship and backed it up with a T-12 result at the U.S. Open.
St. Andrews may be the best statistical fit for him as he is long and straight with the driver and one of the best approach players in this field. Not only that, but the putter has become an ally in recent tournaments as he posted +1.54 strokes gained putting per round at the Irish Open where he finished in a tie for 30th.
Leishman, meanwhile, has missed three of his last four cuts and continues to fall short striking the golf ball. His iron play has been sloppy and because of this he has become overly reliant on his putting. If that club doesn’t save him, he could easily miss the cut just as he has in his last two Open Championships.