2023 Open Championship picks to win: Here’s who our staff is betting on
Getty Images / Illustration by Braden Reed
Cameron Smith, a winner two weeks ago at LIV Golf’s London event, said afterward he’s feeling in good form now. And that, of course, is nicer than the alternative.
“I think it’s just nice to be playing good golf,” he said. “There’s nothing worse going into a big golf tournament and you’re playing crappy golf.”
Was Smith trending toward a win? Seemingly, especially when looking at his results this year in the majors, where he finished tied for 34th at the Masters, tied for ninth at the PGA Championship and fourth at the U.S. Open. In LIV play, he’s also been steady (four top 10s in his past six events) after a slow start (a finish of 26th and 29th in his second and third tournaments of the year).
What about the course? Does Smith have any history with Liverpool? He said he doesn’t. But to that end, Smith said he was to arrive in Hoylake on Saturday to get acclimated.
“So I’ll have a bit of a longer prep than usual,” he said after the LIV event, “but yeah, put the clubs down for three or four days, just hang out in London, see all the sights, and yeah, just have a good time, relax.”
And then there’s this.
If you like your historic storylines, know that the last player to repeat at the Open Championship was Tiger Woods, in 2006 — when the event was played at Liverpool.
Looking for some other ideas for the Open? Friend, you’ve clicked on the right article, where members of our staff have each made a to-win bet. The hope is, of course, we help you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league, or (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook.
On to our picks.
2023 Open Championship picks to win
To-win: Rory McIlroy, +750. I’ve done it before, and I’m ready to do it again — I’m putting all my stock into Rory. He tends to heat up in the summer, and I feel that the time spent on links courses might just give him the extra jolt to carry him across the line. Also, considering he has won at Royal Liverpool before, how could I not pick him?
To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +900. Boring pick? Perhaps. But how do you not like his chances after SEVEN CONSECUTIVE top-five finishes, including a T3 at the Scottish? Here’s another fun stat: If Scheffler can finish top 12 or better at Hoylake (pretty much a lock), he will have finished top 12 in TWENTY CONSECUTIVE starts. Mind-blowing run.
To-win: Jon Rahm, +1200. I’ve had this week circled for Rory all year, for obvious reasons. He’s played well lately and, plus, with everything that’s happened over the past month — and with his close call at the Open last year — this just seems like his week. But storybook endings are easier said than done… which is why I changed this to Jon Rahm at the very last minute. Call it a hunch. Rahm wins major No. 3 this week.
To-win: Min Woo Lee, +5,000. Tiger Woods (famously) won at Royal Liverpool in 2006 without ever swinging a driver. So, why a player with VERY long odds and no PGA Tour wins as my Open Championship winner? I will answer simply: Have you ever seen Min Woo hit that 2-iron?
To-win: Scottie Scheffler will hold the 54-hole lead, Tyrrell Hatton (+2,800) will chase him down halfway through the final round, and Xander Schauffele (+2,200) will ultimately come away with the jug, getting me out of years of accumulated debt in the process.
To-win: Jordan Spieth, +2,000. It feels as if Spieth has had a down year, but the reality is that the three-time major champ has six top 10s this season — and I think he’s due for a big win. He knows what it takes to play on links courses, with wins at Royal Birkdale in this very event in 2017, and at the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. While he may be boom-or-bust this week, I’m siding with his experience to get it done.
To win: Rory McIlroy, +750. I will not pick Rory. I will not pick Rory. I will not pick Rory. I will not pick Rory. Oh, who am I kidding? The heart wants what the heart wants. Hoylake is where he won his previous Open Championship. He nearly won in L.A. He just won the Scottish. He won the week before his last major title in 2014, too. I can’t find a reason to pick against McIlroy.
To-win: Tommy Fleetwood, +2,500. It’s been a year of resurgence for Tommy Fleetwood. He’s placed in the top 20 in six of his last eight starts, has six top 10s on the season and is coming off a top-five finish at the U.S. Open last month. His OWGR is 22, but Data Golf has him ranked as the 14th-best player in the world at the moment. Why not this week for his breakthrough win?
To-win: My pick is the same as Zephyr’s above — so I’ll offer up another one. For here, let’s go with Tyrrell Hatton (+8,000). I like the ball-striking. I like the form.
To-win: Cameron Smith, +1,600. He’s the best putter on the planet, which I think gives us a repeat winner this year. The flatstick will always perform for him, and he’s trending upward everywhere else after his fourth-place finish at LACC and a win at LIV London. Tiger also repeated as champion the last time the Open was held at St. Andrews and Royal Liverpool consecutively, and I see Cam following in his footsteps.
To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +900. He’s due for the ball to start dropping. He’s hitting the ball far too well this year not to walk away with a major win to show for it. After the Open, we’ll begin the career grand slam pursuit for Scheffler heading into 2024.
To-win: Rory McIlroy, +750. The dry spell in majors can’t go on forever, can it? Sure, it can. But it won’t. Rory has been too close too many times for the close calls to continue. The drought finally ends, on a course where he’s won before.
To-win: Viktor Hovland, +2,000. His play in the majors has been impressive — a tie for seventh at the Masters, a tie for second at the PGA, 19th at the U.S. Open — as was his victory last month at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial tourney. He’s on his way to becoming a household name.
To-win: Rory McIlroy, +750. Outside of Tiger in his prime, I’ve never felt more confident about a major pick: Rory’s going to win in a rout at Royal Liverpool. He’s finished no worse than T9 since the PGA Championship and continues to trend upward. It’s all coming together at the right time.
To-win: Xander Schauffele, +2,200. It’s about time I join this bandwagon in an official capacity.