TRENDS betting is not for the faint-hearted. Stick too rigidly to a formula, place too much weight in one trend over another and you can end up forgetting the trends are often broken and subsequently redrawn over a couple of years.

Picking out an outright winner at The Open Championship, or any other golf tournament for that matter, is particularly challenging because no other races – using literal definitions or otherwise for outright sporting events – begin with so many runners at the starting line.

The picture is muddied further with around a quarter of the field in with a chance of lifting the Claret Jug. In a big handicap such as the Grand National that's 10 horses, in a major football tournament that's about four or six teams.

It makes sense then that a little due diligence pays off and a little detective work can quickly help us to build the profile of a winner. Too often, emotion or gut instinct plays too big a part in decision making and it leads to costly errors.

The trends for The Open over a 10-year period throw up some consistent results to the tune of 80%-90% outcomes. Put simply, in most instances eight out of 10 of the trends that will follow below have come to fruition. It's a solid platform from which to build a shortlist but it would be wrong to rule out the other 10%-20% who don't conform to the historical statistics. With that in mind any golfers who have not met at least six of the trends don't make our shortlist.

Previous top-10 finish at The Open

Nine out of the last 10 Open Championship winners have recorded a top-10 finish at a previous Open tournament. Strengthening this trend is the discovery that you have to go back to 2010 (Louis Oosthuizen at St Andrews) to find the last winner who failed to meet this mark. That's bad news for a whole host of big names you might have pencilled into your shortlist, including Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Viktor Hovland, Webb Simpson, Daniel Berger and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Ranked in world's top 40

This is another trend shared by 90% of the previous 10 winners. Again Oosthuizen is the outlier here since his win was a decade ago so it's worth close inspection. Break the figures down further and six winners have been in the top 30 while another four have been in the top 10. That means no room on the shortlist for 2019 champion Shane Lowry (0 from 10 for those defending their crown), links specialist Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and, alas, Scotland's Robert McIntyre.


This is another profile that trends towards players with experience but not to the point of discounting altogether the twentysomethings who have produced three winners in the past decade: Rory McIlroy (2014), Jordan Spieth (2017) and the aforementioned Oosthuizen. In short, it's not worth overlooking someone in their 20s if they tick every other box. Nevertheless if we look at the granular details, golfers aged 32 or older have won it seven times combined and that is a plus for McIlroy, Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey, Ryan Palmer and Stewart Cink. Meanwhile, none have been in their 50s so out goes Phil Mickelson.


This metric brings with it two separate gauges: Has the player won this year? And, has he achieved a top-15 finish in one of his last three events? Eight out 10 winners have ticked boxes for both. It's bad news for Tony Finau, third at Royal Portrush, who meets neither requirement, Cameron Smith, Lee Westwood, Will Zalatoris, Tommy Fleetwood and Corey Connors.

Other factors

There are a number of other trends that have been applied in order to drill down to a manageable shortlist including nationality where the spread over 10 years covers USA, South Africa, Northern and Republic of Ireland and Continental Europe. Also worth consideration is whether a contender played the week before (again it's eight out of 10 winners) although it's worth bearing in mind that Spieth bucked quite a few trends with his win in 2017 including age and taking the week off before Royal Birkdale.


It takes a brave man to look past Jon Rahm for this week's Open. The Spaniard is in red-hot form and is playing the best golf in the world right now but, remember what we said at the start – trends betting is not for those with a weak constitution. Apply the above stats to the world's top-40 and seven names are left. McIlroy meets every requirement, but let's not forget about the 10 percenters (okay, strictly it's 8.5%) . . . those who meet six of the trends. That list includes Dustin Johnson, tied for second at this year's venue in 2011, Carnoustie runner-up Xander Schauffele, PGA Championship runner-up Brooks Koepka, England's Tyrell Hatton, Spieth and up-and-coming American Sam Burns. Herald Sport's five against the field are McIlroy (25/1, ew), Johnson (25/1, ew), Shauffele (18/1, ew), Spieth (20/1, ew) and Hatton (30/1, ew).