Tiger Woods has not won a major championship in over five years and starts the 2013 British Open coming off an elbow injury, and yet the game's biggest star and No. 1 player in the world remains an overwhelming favorite at Muirfield. This is always the case with Woods, and barring a catastrophic stretch of golf, it always will be. He's the biggest public name in the sport, and the oddsmakers, regardless of form or injury, will always tab him with the lowest odds.
Tiger is an 8/1 favorite just two days before the start of The Open Championship, with the next closest competitors double that at 16/1. Woods has stated all week that the elbow injury which led to the blow up at Merion is no longer bothering him, but one wayward drive into the high rough or fescue at Muirfield could cause the elbow to flare up on a punch out. After setting multiple personal worst scoring records at the U.S. Open last month, Tiger arrives at a course that brutalized him that last time he played a major here. Woods shot an infamous 81 in the third round of the 2002 British Open, battling horrendous conditions that pelted the Scottish coast at Gullane.
But despite the majors drought and flame out at the U.S. Open, Woods is still having the best season on Tour, and by a wide margin. His four victories shot him back into No. 1 in the OWGR early in the year, and if not for one bad break ball off the flagstick at No. 15 at Augusta, that major drought may have ended at the Masters. The elbow injury does seem to throw that momentum towards a major win back into doubt, but there's no way anyone else was going to pass him as the favorite.
Behind Tiger with the next lowest odds are the year's first two major winners and last week's winner at the Scottish Open. Justin Rose and Adam Scott have long been two of the best players in the world, elite talents who were still searching for that first major win. Many predict that the breakthroughs this year will lead to multiple other majors, and given their recent success, they're easy favorites. Phil Mickelson, who's notoriously struggled on the links of the Open Championship, clinched his first ever Euro Tour win last week to the north at Castle Stuart. That success on a similar layout has Mickelson citing some newfound confidence on the firm and fast setup at Muirfield, where he's 16/1 with Rose.
After those four top names, there's a spate of Euro and international golfers favored, with only Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson better than 40/1. Here are the full odds for the field just two days before the first ball is struck:
|Bo Van Pelt||125/1|
|Miguel Angel Jimenez||150/1|
|Rafael Cabrera -Bello||200/1|
|Eduardo De La Riva||500/1|