The Open Championship at St Andrews - Preview

The withdrawal of Rory McIlroy from the Open this week has left the door open for the American youngster Jordan Spieth to further confirm his grip on the sport.

Prior to McIlroy's injury, the pair of them were expected to fight it out for the honour of becoming the 144th Open Champion. It would have been a treat to watch, and we're sure we'll see it next year. Spieth will now feel a fraction closer to his ambition of becoming the first ever golfer to complete the Grand Slam and hold all four Open titles in one calendar year. He already holds the US Open and the Masters this year, but he's not without challengers for the trophy on offer this week.

Spieth's fellow Americans Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler are among his closest competitors, and the Australian Adam Scott and the Swede Henrik Stenson will also have something to say about things.

England's highest ranked entrant is Justin Rose, currently rated the world's eighth best golfer and, of course, a former US Open champion. But what are his chances of preventing Spieth taking the Claret Jug on Sunday?

He's certainly in with a chance, though he's going to need to be on his best form if he wants to win it. The best place we've found to back him is at Ladbrokes, who are offering a realistic 25/1.

Frankly, though, our money would be going on Spieth. He's young, talented, and eager, and he knows that if he takes the victory he will supplant McIlroy as the top ranked golfer in the world

Golf is a strange sport and it doesn't take much to affect your head and thus affect your game - just ask former world number one Tiger Woods. Because of this Spieth is the favourite for the Open and yet still at odds we would consider tempting. The best place to back him is at Coral, who have him at a very decent 8/1.

Finally, what of his closer competitors? Well, on form and skill, the one we would consider backing is Dustin Johnson. He's a fair second favourite, and the best place to pick him up is at ToteSport, who are offering tempting odds of 12/1.

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