Brendan James – Golf Australia Editor

DUSTIN JOHNSON has registered just two top-10s since winning the Masters last November. But his third round 65 in his last start at the Travelers Championship last month gives me an inkling his form is about to turn.

And, of course, 10 years ago the now World No.1 finished T2 behind Darren Clarke at Royal St. George’s as one of only four players who made it under par. If not for a wild final round approach into the 14th green that finished out of bounds, Johnson would have pushed the Northern Irishman to the wire.

Sportsbet odds: $23

JIMMY EMANUEL – Golf Australia Deputy Editor

As is the case at every major, this is extremely difficult to make a definitive pick, but that’s the job and so I am favouring BROOKS KOEPKA this week.

The four-time major winner has been in good form despite still carrying a seemingly injured knee and has recorded top-10s at the two most recent majors, and has a game very well suited to Royal St. George’s.

Koepka’s power will be an advantage, but his course management will be the most significant aspect of his game that could deliver a fifth major and first Claret Jug.

Sportsbet odds: $17

RELATED: The 149th Open Championship preview

Michael Jones – Golf Australia writer

For the third consecutive week I’m sticking with TOMMY FLEETWOOD.

I reckon the Englishman is trending in the right direction following positive results in Ireland and Scotland – T17th and T26th respectively – and will be champing at the bit to improve upon his runner-up effort at Portrush in 2019.

Fleetwood is one of the best ball-strikers in the world, loves links golf, places The Open above any other championship and will be familiar with Royal St. George’s.

Sportsbet odds: $41

Rod Morri – Golf Australia magazine contributor and The Thing About Golf podcast host

If not Min Woo it must surely be RORY MCILROY’s time to climb back into the major winners’ circle?

His form last week was awful by his own standards but at this level that doesn’t mean a whole lot. If he has found something in the practice rounds – and only he knows if he has – he will be formidable and if he really gets going he could lap the field.

A greener, softer St. George’s suits his style of play and it would be a surprise if he isn’t somewhere in the mix late Sunday.

Sportsbet odds: $21


Brendan James – Golf Australia Editor

ADAM SCOTT is a wonderful player of links golf and since The Open was last played at Royal St. George’s in 2011, he has had four top-10s in the championship.

He gave one away in 2012 at Royal Lytham and was overrun by a fast-finishing Phil Mickelson the following year at Muirfield. He was T5 behind Rory McIlroy in 2014 and with five holes to play at St Andrews in 2015 he was within a shot of the lead.

With Royal St. George’s placing a premium on accurate, long driving, this could be Scott’s best opportunity for Open Championship redemption.

Sportsbet odds: $5.50

JIMMY EMANUEL – Golf Australia Deputy Editor

My heart says Adam Scott, but the head is telling me LUCAS HERBERT will continue his terrific form of recent weeks and top the Aussie contingent this week.

Herbert’s win two weeks ago came after some PGA Tour starts he says gave him new confidence, while he really impressed with his follow up performance at the Scottish Open where he was only one shot out of the play-off won by Min Woo Lee.

A game well-suited to links golf and some previous solid displays in his handful of major starts are enough for me to back the boy from Bendigo here.

Sportsbet odds: $6

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Michael Jones – Golf Australia writer

Three weeks ago this space would have been filled quite easily by Marc Leishman. But it’s impossible to ignore the form LUCAS HERBERT is bringing with him this week after winning the Irish Open and then finishing one shot outside the play-off in Scotland last week to share fourth place.

The only issue, for mine, will be whether he has recovered mentally and physically from two massive weeks.

Sportsbet odds: $6

Rod Morri – Golf Australia magazine contributor and The Thing About Golf podcast host

2021 looks as good a chance for the Australians to break a near 30 year drought as any year since Greg Norman last won the title in 1993. The real difficulty this year might be choosing which Australian has the best chance.

Much of the smart money will – understandably – be on Adam Scott, Marc Leishman or Cam Smith but Scottish Open winner MIN WOO LEE might just be the best equipped for this particular test.

With his confidence high and his two professional victories to date coming on links courses, he’s the one to watch this week for mine  and Royal St. George’s should be right up his alley.

Sportsbet odds: $7.50


Brendan James – Golf Australia Editor

Major championships often give rise to ‘Cinderella’ stories. Darren Clarke’s 2011 win is a case in point.

I can’t think of a better story than LEE WESTWOOD finally winning his first major, at his 88th attempt, on home soil.

Sportsbet odds: $51

JIMMY EMANUEL – Golf Australia Deputy Editor

RYAN PALMER was rock solid last week in Scotland and is exactly the sort of surpising winner that Royal St. George’s has thrown up the last two times it has hosted The Open Championship.

Palmer’s share of fourth at the Scottish Open came as a bit of a surprise after some average results, but his ball striking, solid putting and patience will be real assets again this week.

Very interested to see how Scottie Scheffler goes this week as well.

Sportsbet odds: $126

RELATED: Age is just a number

Michael Jones – Golf Australia writer

South African GARRICK HIGGO has already claimed three worldwide victories this year and has the power and creativity required to succeed this week.

The 22-year-old hasn’t been in the best form lately, missing three of four cuts since his latest victory – and he will be making his first start in The Open.

Still, his best would be good enough in my opinion.

Sportsbet odds: $81

Rod Morri – Golf Australia magazine contributor and The Thing About Golf podcast host

Young Scot ROBERT MACINTYRE is perhaps one of the most likeable players in the game and he won’t find anything about the golf at Royal St. George’s to be a surprise.

He was close to something special in his home Open last week without quite producing the goods but the truth is there is much more to like about his game at the moment than not.

Sportsbet odds: $67


Brendan James – Golf Australia Editor

There are some gun teams pairing up in Michigan, but there are none better than TEAM KORDA – sisters Nelly and Jessica.

They’re in form and they could win this trophy by a country mile.

JIMMY EMANUEL – Golf Australia Deputy Editor

The Korda sisters are an almost irresistible option to tip this week. But I did say almost.

I am instead going for another Aussie win, with MINJEE LEE & YUKA SASO my pick to take out the teams event this week.

Lee doesn’t need to look further than her own sibling for some motivation, and will be keen to join the recent Australian success. She was also runner-up here last year with Jin Young Ko.

Her partner, Saso, is fresh off a major win and has a game that will be a serious advantage in this format.

RELATED: DOW Great Lakes Bay Invitational preview

Michael Jones – Golf Australia writer

You would imagine the sister act of NELLY KORDA & JESSICA KORDA should prove difficult to overcome this week.

The Americans have combined to win four titles already this year and will go close to making that five at Midland Country Club.

Rod Morri – Golf Australia magazine contributor and The Thing About Golf podcast host

The unique teams format at this week’s Dow Great Lakes tournament will test personalities as much as ability and for that reason the Jutanugarn and Korda sisters stand out.

On recent form you’d have to give the nod to the KORDAS, new World No.1 Nelly the player to beat pretty much everywhere she tees up at the moment and even in a team event she might just win it on her own.


Brendan James – Golf Australia Editor

AARON BADDELEY’s last PGA Tour victory came in this event five years ago and if he is to turn his season around, he needs to draw on his winning experience in this event.

Badds has made only six cuts in 18 starts this season and much of this can be blamed on inaccurate driving. If he can hit more fairways this week he can contend.

Sportsbet odds: $126

JIMMY EMANUEL – Golf Australia Deputy Editor

A few years ago I would have been surprised to find PATRICK RODGERS in this field rather than teeing up at The Open this week. But he isn’t and I think will make the first step towards amending that for the future via a win in Kentucky.

The American has put some decent if unspectacular results on the board of late, and should figure in the mix come the weekend at the Barbasol.

Sportsbet odds: $26

RELATED: Barbasol Championship preview

Michael Jones – Golf Australia writer

South African CHARL SCHWARTZEL makes his first appearance at the Barbasol this week and I think it will end his five-year winless drought.

The 2011 Masters champ arrives in solid form – following his share of 19th at the US Open last month – and is back inside the top-100 in the world rankings for the first time in over two years.

Sportsbet odds: $26

Rod Morri – Golf Australia magazine contributor and The Thing About Golf podcast host

It was an encouraging week for CAMERON PERCY at the John Deere and with a weakened field teeing up at this week’s Barbasol Championship it might just be his time.

The likeable Victorian is due some good form and will have some confidence at this course, Keene Trace, after posting a top-10 in his only other start here in 2018.

Sportsbet odds: $51


So far our so-called experts have combined to tip 18 winners in 2021, with 90 of their picks recording top-10 finishes that week and a best return of $61 for Max Homa to win the Genesis Invitational (tipped by Rod Morri).