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British Open odds 2014: Rory McIlroy favored ahead of Tiger Woods at Royal Liverpool

Predicting the Open Championship can be a tough task given all the constant weather changes on the links venues, but the oddsmakers have put Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy as the favorite early in the week at Royal Liverpool.

The 2014 season's third major is upon us, and a loaded field will head to Royal Liverpool for 143rd edition of the British Open Championship. For many casual fans, however, it's the first major of the year because it's the first time Tiger Woods will be teeing it up with a chance to cut into that gap between his 14 and Jack Nicklaus' record 18 majors championships. Woods is almost always the favorite in any event he plays, regardless of health, recent form, venue, or the rest of the field. Even if he's not an overwhelming favorite, he's still at the top with the lowest odds.

But that's not the case at the start of the week, as his Nike partner, Rory McIlroy, has been installed as the early favorite at 10/1. It's understandable that Woods would be a bit down the list for the oddsmakers, but still surprising to see him there. Tiger's record this year is basically not applicable, and the last time we saw him, he was bombing out early and missing the cut at his own event at Congressional. That was largely treated like more of a competitive warm-up for this week, but we saw some of the old Tiger short-game slip-ups that were there before the injury, and not necessarily caused by that back issue. He's had a few more weeks now to get what he calls his "feels" right, but based on his incomplete record, Woods is rightly down the board and not the favorite.

Tiger's not too far though, with only four players listed with lower odds and still ahead of the defending champ and his top contemporary, Phil Mickelson. Woods is currently 16/1 while Phil, who has had just as underwhelming a season without being injured, is 20/1. Adam Scott has finished second and third in the last two Open Championships and is at 14/1, alongside Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer right behind Rory. Scott said on Sunday that the conditioning (not setup of course) at Royal Liverpool is just like Augusta right now, with not a blade of grass out of line. Given his recent track record at this event, Scott is a very good bet to pick up his second major title if he can just keep his putter rolling at an average to mediocre level.

All four majors have their identity and quirks, but the Open Championship is way out there on its own. The links-style venues and weather conditions make the tournament so unpredictable in so many years. The last time this major was held at Hoylake, Tiger Woods won it and didn't hit a driver all week. That club has historically gotten him into trouble, and he'll probably attempt the same general game plan this year. But depending on the wind, everything can change from hour-to-hour at the Open and often your chances are simply a luck of the draw, which side of the tee sheet -- morning or afternoon -- you land on through the first two days.

With just four spots left to round out the complete 156-man field, here are your odds at the top of the week in Hoylake:

Player Odds to Win the Open
Rory McIlroy 10/1
Adam Scott 14/1
Henrik Stenson 14/1
Martin Kaymer 14/1
Justin Rose 16/1
Tiger Woods 16/1
Phil Mickelson 20/1
Graeme McDowell 22/1
Jason Day 25/1
Jordan Spieth 25/1
Lee Westwood 25/1
Sergio Garcia 25/1
Bubba Watson 33/1
Charl Schwartzel 33/1
Dustin Johnson 33/1
Ian Poulter 33/1
Luke Donald 33/1
Matt Kuchar 33/1
Brandt Snedeker 40/1
Ernie Els 40/1
Louis Oosthuizen 40/1
Rickie Fowler 40/1
Zach Johnson 40/1
Hideki Matsuyama 45/1
Angel Cabrera 50/1
Hunter Mahan 50/1
Jamie Donaldson 50/1
Jason Dufner 50/1
Paul Casey 50/1
Thomas Bjorn 50/1
Bill Haas 66/1
Steve Stricker 66/1
Webb Simpson 66/1
Branden Grace 80/1
Francesco Molinari 80/1
Jim Furyk 80/1
Jonas Blixt 80/1
Keegan Bradley 80/1
Miguel Angel Jimenez 80/1
Victor Dubuisson 80/1
Billy Horschel 100/1
Harris English 100/1
K.J. Choi 100/1
Martin Laird 100/1
Matteo Manassero 100/1
Nick Watney 100/1
Nicolas Colsaerts 100/1
Padraig Harrington 100/1
Patrick Reed 100/1
Peter Hanson 100/1
Ryan Moore 100/1
Bernd Wiesberger 125/1
Chris Wood 125/1
Fredrik Jacobson 125/1
Richard Sterne 125/1
Shane Lowry 125/1
Thorbjørn Olesen 125/1
Bo Van Pelt 150/1
Danny Willett 150/1
Darren Clarke 150/1
Geoff Ogilvy 150/1
George Coetzee 150/1
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 150/1
Paul Lawrie 150/1
Stewart Cink 200/1