Sam Burns is too big a price for the Open - and looks worth following in general next year
Sam Burns is too big a price for the Open - and looks worth following in general next year

Golf betting tips: Best bets for 2022 majors including Masters at Augusta and the Open

Sam Burns can confirm himself a world-class player by winning a major in 2022 as Ben Coley takes a look at all four, from Augusta in April to St Andrews in July.

Golf betting tips: Majors 2022

2pts Sam Burns to win a major in 2022 at 16/1 (Sky Bet)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

  • Scroll down for event-by-event selections

The men's major champions in 2021 provided a full house in betting regret bingo, for those who missed all four. First there was Hideki Matsuyama, who won the Masters at the precise point at which some of us had lost patience. Next came Phil Mickelson, tipped on these pages... to be the top former winner of the US PGA. Following him was the obvious one, Jon Rahm, and then a classic rope-a-dope from Collin Morikawa: awful in Scotland, Open champion in England.

This is all part of the deal. There are only four of them per year, and anyone backing one winner is beating the average. Imagine how players themselves must feel: the good ones play upwards of a hundred rounds in a season, but 16 of them are of significantly added importance. When they sign off at the Open in July, there are fully nine months to wait for the next opportunity to atone for those missed.

We're about midway through that major-less run and with golf taking a rare and brief pause, it's the only real opportunity to have a proper look at the Masters, the US PGA, the US Open, and the Open Championship, a sequence which starts as ever at Augusta and this year ends at St Andrews.

St Andrews
St Andrews

In doing so, the first thing to establish is that we're immediately on the back-foot. Not only do we know less now than we will prior to each of the four, but no bookmaker offers more than six places currently. Come that second week in April, you will surely get 10, maybe as many as a dozen, and while that comes with tightened markets, most punters would understandably prefer to wait.

Bets placed now come with big caveats and it's important to acknowledge a defensive position with a cautious staking plan. With so much water to pass under the bridge between now and even the first of the four, it's not really possible to talk in terms of who we might actually expect to contend. Instead, focus should be on players whose ability, potential or rate of progression has been underestimated.

Last year, Harris English would've been the obvious candidate. He'd strongly hinted at a return to the game's elite with a top-five finish in the September US Open, but was priced as though it was all built on sand. English went on to prove that assumption all wrong by winning the very first event of the year, then finishing third in the US Open before collecting another title a week later, and eventually going on to make the US Ryder Cup team.

Those who backed him for all four majors didn't quite hit the jackpot, but were rewarded in some way by that performance at Torrey Pines. That is very much the kind of avenue I'd pursue, and it leads directly to one name who could so easily have been selected four times: SAM BURNS.

There's plenty more on him below, but first and foremost 16/1 that he wins a major is a straightforward selection. Rarely do these markets offer proper value – you're usually better shopping around and cherry-picking the best prices – but this one does and I really see no reason why he can't be a regular threat at the highest level.

Yes, history suggests winning on debut at Augusta isn't likely, and his overall majors record so far amounts to little. However, the world number 12 is underrated across the board, and there are players alongside or in front of him who ought to be behind. Backing him 16/1 win-only to collect a major at any stage is a nice, straightforward way to get him on-side now.

Look, it's been a few weeks since the SA Open. If you thought I was going to cut to the chase, you must be new. Welcome: you have missed the glory days, but this is a feature all about the future so, for now, let's remain optimistic.

The Masters

1pt e.w. Abraham Ancer at 80/1 (Betfred, BoyleSports 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

1pt e.w. Jason Kokrak at 125/1 (BoyleSports 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

  • When: April 7-10
  • Where: Augusta National, Georgia
  • Defending champion: Hideki Matsuyama
  • Shortlist: Thomas, Ancer, Scheffler, Leishman, Kokrak
  • Majors yankee: Justin Thomas
Hideki Matsuyama celebrates victory at the Masters
Hideki Matsuyama celebrates victory at the Masters

Hideki Matsuyama bucked some trends at Augusta last April, but don't let that fool you: he was in many ways the archetypal Masters champion. History tells us that for all these rapid greens are treacherous, for all there's long been an advantage for those who hit the ball a long way, it's quality iron play which holds the key. Few have matched Matsuyama in that regard over the last eight or so years, and his sharp short-game made him a perfect fit for this major above all others.

Experience has also been vital, a fact which both underlines why Matsuyama's success was far from unexpected, and why the performance of runner-up Will Zalatoris was astonishing. Still without his PGA Tour playing rights at the time and winless at that level, as he remains, Zalatoris had no right to do what he did and threaten to become the first debut champion since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Nevertheless, Zalatoris is already established as one of the best iron players in the sport and finished the season ranked seventh, 10 places above his Augusta conqueror.

The problem with the Masters is that all these things are known, which means anyone who fits the bill tends to be priced prohibitively even this far out. Remember: the task at hand isn't really about trying to predict the winner, because we can attempt to do that with all the evidence gathered come the spring. Right now it's about seeing if we can back someone who might be half the price, and taking our chances thereafter.

For what it's worth, my best guess at the Masters winner and therefore selection for a majors multiple would be Justin Thomas, an outrageously good iron player, now with the required experience, and with Jim 'Bones' Mackay potentially the missing piece of the jigsaw. Bones was Phil Mickelson's caddie for all three victories here and was on Thomas's bag when they won the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in 2020. Now full-time, the pair could be a serious force and Augusta has long been an ideal fit for JT.

But Thomas is 12/1 with most firms and a best of 14/1, which is the price he went off last season. He'd won The PLAYERS Championship on his previous stroke play start, contended at Augusta in November, and yet was still around fifth in the betting because of the strength at the top of the sport. Should he play poorly in the run-up then 20/1 and bigger is possible. He would have to do extraordinary things, better even than beating the strongest field on the PGA Tour, to dip beneath 10s. DJ was 10s when he won it as an all-conquering world number one, don't forget.

Who is the best antepost bet for the Masters?

My vote then goes to ABRAHAM ANCER, who is a fair bet at the general 66/1 available and surely overpriced at the 80s offered by Betfred, Betway, BoyleSports and BetVictor.

Ancer is small in stature and lacks the power of those he's trying to compete with towards the top of the game, which is probably why he's underestimated. The theory goes that power is a prerequisite at Augusta but it's not true to anything like the extent of a typical US Open, and Ancer showed as much when contending on his debut here in November 2020.

Yes, that leaderboard had something of the abnormal about it, with no patrons and a soft, autumnal setting making things far less fearsome than can be the case in spring. But the Mexican returned from that disappointing end (he fell from second to 13th on Sunday) to finish 22nd in April and bag some precious experience under firmer, tougher and essentially more typical conditions.

Two appearances still leaves him short in that department, but we can't have everything at this stage and he has the right fundamentals for the challenge. Indeed you could say he's a Matsuyama lite: quality approach work if not up there with the very elite; strong off the tee if lacking the power of some; even capable of being sharp around the greens, if not one of the best of all-time as Brad Faxon somehow labelled him during a commentary stint earlier in the year.

If Ancer does have a weakness it's those missing 20 yards off the tee and a short-game you'd have to describe as inconsistent, but he's firmly camped inside the world's top 20 now and, since last he played in a major, has won his first PGA Tour event. It came in an elite field under tricky enough conditions and on a course where many a Masters contender has thrived. Indeed, Matsuyama was among those beaten with a birdie at the first play-off hole.

Abraham Ancer poses with the trophy after winning the FedEx St. Jude Invitational
Abraham Ancer with his first PGA Tour title - and there should be more to come

For all I am a big fan of both Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood, it's strange to put them higher up the market than a higher-ranked player with superior Augusta form. Ancer though finds himself behind both and in amongst a group of players who are simply not playing as well as he has for a year now. Some firms offer 50/1 about Jason Day and won't return stakes if he doesn't qualify. Day is a big price to play in the Masters at this stage, and the idea he's more likely to win it, all in run or not, is pure fantasy.

At 30 and only recently having won on the PGA Tour, Ancer retains scope for improvement, and there ought not to be more than 15 or so players ahead of him in the market. As it stands, there are double that number. This is a player who has broken 70 in four of his eight Augusta rounds, clearly taking to the unique challenge it presents. For context, Billy Horschel is yet to do it in 24 rounds, and though Ancer's introduction in November 2020 comes with a caveat, he carded a three-under 69 and a closing 70 in April.

The final point to make returns us to the essence of this preview: not to make bold predictions, but to establish good positions. Ancer has an outstanding record in one of the first tournaments of 2022, The American Express, and will begin it among the favourites. Once the PGA Tour starts its Masters countdown in Florida, fifth place at Copperhead and form figures of 12-22 at Sawgrass confirm he ought to be dangerous there.

Then, just before the sport's most iconic major finally arrives, Ancer will head to his adopted home state of Texas where he was unfortunate to lose a group-stage play-off in the Match Play last year, and where he's definitely got the game to compete at TPC San Antonio should he choose to finish his preparation there. Victory in any of these and he'll be half the 80/1. More of the same and he ought to harden plenty regardless.

Is there an outsider worth backing?

Others to consider must include Marc Leishman, who will be making his 10th appearance and again demonstrated his love for the test in April. He's found form again recently, but that's largely been putter-led and though he does have a strong record in several of the early-season events, it's unlikely the Aussie is much shorter than 50/1 come the off. With 66s the best on offer now, patience is advised.

Marc Leishman can win his Sunday two-ball and perhaps make a Masters run
Marc Leishman has become something of an Augusta specialist

Betfred's 66/1 about Louis Oosthuizen is there for whoever wants it, some firms going as short as 33/1, while the 125/1 quoted about JASON KOKRAK undersells his surge to 22nd in the world, his correlating form at Riviera, his apparent love of Bentgrass greens, and a decent second look at Augusta where he sat eighth after round one.

There is definitely a risk that Kokrak's golden year is now behind him and that he's reached his ceiling, but he's a guaranteed starter with the right sort of game and there's clear upside in the three-figure prices which are widely available. Another timely win and he could be closer to half that.

PGA Championship

1pt e.w. Matthew Wolff at 100/1 (888sport 1/4 1,2,3,4,5)

1pt e.w. Talor Gooch at 200/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

  • When: May 19-22
  • Where: Southern Hills, Oklahoma
  • Defending champion: Phil Mickelson
  • Shortlist: Hovland, Burns, Im, Wolff, Gooch
  • Majors yankee: Viktor Hovland
Huge crowds follow Phil Mickelson down the final hole
Huge crowds follow Phil Mickelson down the final hole

While the Open Championship remains the major most likely to throw up a surprising result, the PGA can't be far behind. The reasons for that aren't as clear as they are by the sea in the United Kingdom, where an hour of rainfall can make all the difference, but perhaps it's the nature of the field, and the general feel of the event. Few would admit it, but maybe more players arrive at a PGA Championship feeling they can win it, and maybe that's because it feels a bit more normal (or a bit less special) than the others.

Whatever the case, Phil Mickelson was the biggest-priced winner of a men's major since 2011, when Keegan Bradley in this event and Darren Clarke in the Open helped underline the point. If you want to back an outsider in a major championship and truly believe that player can win, focus on these two. Each of the four has produced them down the years, but increasingly the Open and the PGA Championship are detached from the Masters and the US Open.

This year the tournament heads to Southern Hills in Oklahoma, after the PGA of America decided to sever ties with Donald Trump in the wake of January's attack on democracy. The course, which was given the Gil Hanse treatment in preparation for the 2021 Seniors PGA, last hosted a tournament at this level in 2007 when Tiger Woods held off Woody Austin. In total, just four players finished under-par on a leaderboard which would've stood up to US Open scrutiny.

How much we can read into that renewal is unclear, but I'd suggest very little. So Tiger Woods won did he? Oh. So there was plenty of room for a short, accurate type in 2007 was there? Great. Golf has changed so much in the 15 years which will have passed that I'm loathe to predict exactly what sort of test we'll get in May, except to say it might well be a difficult one. Southern Hills has always had such a reputation, and so does Tulsa when it comes to wind. Retief Goosen's US Open win here came in four-under, this time nine players beating par.

Oklahoma, wind, and the tournament's propensity to throw up a first-time major champion all point to the beautiful, beaming face of Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian went to college in Oklahoma and now lives there, and four of his five professional victories have come by the coast and therefore with some kind of breeze calculation factored in. One of them was the Hero World Challenge in December, where he burst clear of a world-class field to secure the most notable success of his burgeoning career.

So far, Hovland's record in majors is quietly encouraging, if unspectacular. Expect that to change soon as this potential world-beater continues to demonstrate one of the best tee-to-green games we've seen emerge in many years. College rival Collin Morikawa has hogged the headlines so far and by no means could anyone confident predict that Hovland will soon join him as a major winner, but he certainly has the talent and, increasingly, the belief.

Hovland then goes in the yankee, the Hero having actually been a good guide to the following year's majors, but he's never been shorter for one than he currently is for this and, as with Thomas and the Masters, something borderline unfathomable would have to occur in the next five months were 22/1 to look a steal. The world number eight is 10th in the market and that looks broadly accurate. I'd put his basement price at about 16/1.

Wolff can blow down the door

Instead, how about an Oklahoma State teammate of Hovland's, who is also a PGA Tour winner, boasts superior major form, was no less an eye-catcher towards the end of 2021, and could halve in price? Step forward MATTHEW WOLFF, of interest in at least three majors but particularly so for this one.

Wolff endured a nightmare start to 2021, which culminated in him taking a break after a Masters disqualification was followed by an abysmal display alongside Morikawa in the Zurich Classic pairs event. All of this was particularly disappointing given that he'd finished second in Bryson DeChambeau's US Open and then second again on his next start late in 2020.

We've since learned that Wolff needed time away to deal with mental health issues, the life of a touring professional – even one of his class – not always as easy as it may seem from the outside. Thankfully, he was brave and mature enough to step away, and such is his talent that he was able to contend for the US Open straight out of the gate upon his return, ultimately finishing 15th at Torrey Pines.

Matthew Wolff holds a commanding lead at Winged Foot
Matthew Wolff went close in the US Open at Winged Foot

A quiet summer followed, but Wolff again capitalised on time away when returning at the start of the new season to mark himself down as one to follow with a string of back-to-form displays. Seventeenth in the Sanderson Farms wasn't quite enough to stop his slide down the rankings but second place next time was, and he's since added fifth in Mexico and 11th in Houston.

Firmly back on track and having contended in three of his five major championship appearances so far, Wolff's upside is significant, and the fact he'll be roared on by what's effectively home support is a nice little plus.

Most of all, if his form at the back end of 2021 extends through to spring of 2022, he'll be back on everyone's radar. This time last year he was 33-45/1 for the US Open, and 66/1 for that event does appeal. But there's enough 80, 90 and 100/1 for the easier-to-win PGA to suggest this is the event in which to chance him.

Gooch price more than OK

Watch out too for TALOR GOOCH. He qualified for all four majors when winning the RSM Classic impressively, the culmination of a prolonged run of good form during which he established himself as a quality iron player. Gooch was born and raised in Oklahoma and while that will count for little once tee peg meets ground, quotes of 200/1 don't exactly reflect the rise of a player DataGolf has inside its top 20, wherever it is the tournament is being held.

Again, we're relying somewhat on strong end-of-year form carrying through, but Gooch's has substance. He is inside the top 10 in strokes-gained approach, showed what he can do against the elite when fifth in The PLAYERS, and his record both there and in California (third Torrey Pines, fourth PGA West, 10th, 12th and 20th Riviera) suggests he could well make a strong start to the year and cement his position on the fringes of the elite.

Looking through the list of qualifiers, there are hardly any priced this big. Kevin Streelman, winless since 2014, is a 150/1 chance and Henrik Stenson is around the same price. This time last year Harris English had a very similar profile only without the win, and was considerably shorter. Gooch is a bet at 150 and up.

Talor Gooch celebrates with the trophy after winning the RSM Classic
Talor Gooch celebrates with the trophy after winning the RSM Classic

US Open

1pt e.w. Sam Burns at 66/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

  • When: June 16-19
  • Where: Brookline, Massachusetts
  • Defending champion: Jon Rahm
  • Shortlist: Cantlay, Hovland, Burns, Wolff, Niemann
  • Majors yankee: Patrick Cantlay
Jon Rahm celebrates after a sensational finish to the US Open
Jon Rahm celebrates after a sensational finish to the US Open

Of all the majors, it's the US Open which has best reflected the shifting landscape of the sport. As analytics have become part and parcel of a professional golfer's preparation, there has been a realisation that hitting the ball as far as possible is generally the way forward, that going for the green trumps laying up. Alongside this, though not as a direct consequence of it, we've had a run of US Open champions who do exactly that.

It's not just the winners, either. In 2020 at Winged Foot, Bryson DeChambeau had only Matthew Wolff to worry about. When Gary Woodland conquered Pebble Beach in 2019, his chief threat was the man who won the previous two renewals, Brooks Koepka. Firmer, more open conditions at Pinehurst, Chambers Bay and Erin Hills levelled the playing field as courses like that do, but when rough is thick and fairways are narrow, power is king.

The Country Club's set-up will determine plenty but I would guess we'll get more of the same from the USGA, even if a (relatively) short-hitting Englishman holds the strongest recent form credentials. Matt Fitzpatrick won his US Amateur title here back in 2013, the likes of DeChambeau, Scottie Scheffler, Corey Conners and Xander Schauffele among the also-rans. That's in part why he's no bigger than 50/1 when there are higher-ranked players with more obviously suitable games available at bigger.

Back Burns for big-hitting test

Enter that man SAM BURNS, who is a bet at 50/1 and upwards.

Burns' rise over the last nine months has been impressive but not unexpected and, crucially, it's no flash in the pan. Here we have a one-time amateur stud who was always meant to be special, but whose long driving and excellent putting were undermined by shoddy approach play. Then came a surge from 138th in the 2020 strokes-gained approach rankings to 30th last season, and he's fourth so far this.

Turning a weakness into a strength is always going to make a huge difference, but more so when it's arguably the most important aspect of the game. Burns is close to the complete player now, a place in the world's top 10 just one good week in the Tournament of Champions away. The only thing he's yet to do is stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the game's elite and beat them, but his game is good enough for that to appear close to a formality. He's won twice, it could've been more, and the best is yet to come.

Sam Burns poses with the trophy after winning the Sanderson Farms Championship
Sam Burns won twice in 2021 - and there's more in the locker

Yes, he lacks major experience, and his record this year read WD-MC-76. But he has undoubtedly improved again since, coming within a whisker of taking down a top-class field in the WGC won by Ancer, and signing off for the year with third place in the Hero World Challenge then second in the QBE Shootout. One hole potentially cost him the Hero and ensured Hovland kept just ahead of him in the world rankings, but the gap between them is narrower than 28/1 and 66/1 suggests.

Hovland is nevertheless somewhat tempting, as is Wolff at 66s, and that's how things should be when you're looking at things antepost. Players underrated in one market will likely be underrated in another, and while fancy prices next to Burns' name have been taken over the last six weeks, on current form he ought to be half the 66/1 currently available. Here, in the major which is predisposed to providing a powerful champion, I'm willing to chance him.

Who else is on the radar for the US Open?

Beyond Burns, Joaquin Niemann makes some appeal but probably has less scope to shorten dramatically. Burns has plainly improved past the Chilean this year, to the extent that there's no logic in them being the same odds. Paddy Power in fact go 45/1 Niemann and 66s Burns at the time of writing, which I find difficult to understand except to say it must reflect the fact antepost markets don't generate all that much interest.

That said there are noted positives where Niemann is concerned and, younger than a young-gun having just turned 23, he too is expected to become a force in majors at some stage in the near future. Given how much he has often improved for playing in the northeastern states and putting on Bentgrass greens, the idea of him stepping up on previous, modest major performances here in Massachusetts does appeal, but the price does not.

Sungjae Im, no bigger than 50/1 for the Masters but available at 80s for this, also merits a second look. He's another who has ended 2021 in better form than he started it, he's already contended in a major, and his record in this one is quite solid despite less-than-ideal tests. Should Brookline be more suitable then Im, closing in on two full years inside the top 30 despite being months short of his 24th birthday, could well be a factor.

With Robert MacIntyre yet to qualify but certainly interesting if and when he does, I'll sign off by putting forward Patrick Cantlay as the chosen one for a majors multiple. His record in them is unspectacular but he's made six cuts out of six in the US Open, and has now won titles in Maryland and Ohio (twice), under similar conditions.

Cantlay has taken a prolonged break since the Ryder Cup and is entitled to start the new year slowly, but is a player I can see going very close in any of the four majors. This one earns narrow preference, though Augusta and St Andrews feature among his top 10 favourite courses and the 11/1 that he bags four top-20 finishes holds some appeal. Typically though, punters would do better by backing him for the first and rolling over stakes as they go.

The Open Championship

1pt e.w. Sam Burns at 90/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

  • When: July 14-17
  • Where: St Andrews, Scotland
  • Defending champion: Collin Morikawa
  • Shortlist: DeChambeau, Scheffler, Fowler, Burns, Henley
  • Majors yankee: Bryson DeChambeau
Collin Morikawa with the Claret Jug
Collin Morikawa with the Claret Jug

St Andrews has thrown up two surprise winners since Tiger Woods dominated here in 2000 and 2005, his combined margin of victory a whopping 13 shots. First, Louis Oosthuizen made the most of a good draw and a real opportunity in an impressive display of front-running, before Zach Johnson completed an Augusta-Old Course double in an even more frenzied renewal which ran into Monday.

The Open is undeniably and significantly different to the other three majors and to some degree should be treated accordingly. That's why Oosthuizen is as short as 18/1 in a place and the same sort of price as Dustin Johnson, something you plainly would not see anywhere else. Tyrrell Hatton, 50/1 for other majors, is a best of 25/1 and shorter than a higher-ranked and quite simply better player in Viktor Hovland.

Come July, no doubt I'll be looking closely at those with what I consider to be the right sort of pedigree, depending perhaps on the weather forecast. But after Collin Morikawa won it on his first try at the expense of some of the very best players in the world (Jordan Spieth, Oosthuizen, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger, Dustin Johnson and Scottie Scheffler all finished inside the top 10), it's worth taking a reality check. Yes, links golf is different and that is reflected in leaderboards, but most of the best players in the world are capable of adapting.

There's really no temptation to take short odds on anybody right now, but I am fascinated to see how Bryson DeChambeau gets on. He could well drive the first hole of the Old Course should he wish to try, and it's his willingness to put his power to use which in effect extends his advantage beyond what TrackMan numbers already say. St Andrews on a calm day could take a beating, even if he's yet to demonstrate the more refined skills of a typical Open champion.

Bryson DeChambeau celebrates after the USA win the Ryder Cup
Bryson DeChambeau could upset a few people with all-out attack on St Andrews

Don't discount US youngsters

It's unlikely DeChambeau starts much shorter and I'm afraid I'm heading back to SAM BURNS, who is priced up as though less likely to win this than Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Robert MacIntyre, Branden Grace, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, and several more players who are simply not playing to anything like the standards he's reached lately, and MacIntyre aside do not have the potential to improve on what we've seen already. Burns does, and he comes with the added bonus of actually having qualified.

There's not a great deal more to say, except that we shouldn't assume he won't be able to cope with an Open Championship. Burns at least made the cut on his debut in the event back in July, and one week earlier took 18th place in the Scottish Open at The Renaissance, despite a slow start. He's won on a tough course in Florida, where contending for the Honda Classic also reads well, and in general Americans are better at this than we give them credit for.

St Andrews can be vulnerable to longer hitters and is probably less subtle a test than purists would like these days, and above all else the 12th-ranked golfer in the world simply can't be 90/1, with some of the smaller firms even offering three-figures. My suggestion is that Burns ought to be absolutely no bigger than 40/1 for the US Open and US PGA, and perhaps just a shade bigger for both the Masters and the Open, where experience is that bit more valuable unless you happen to be Zalatoris or indeed Morikawa.

Scheffler could well win before July and, combined with eighth place in Kent, he'd become a very popular candidate to add to the Open's Texas connections, which cover Spieth, Johnson, Justin Leonard and even the likes of Dylan Frittelli and Austin Connelly, who have gone well at massive prices recently. Scheffler is on the list for this and the Masters having already impressed in majors before that scintillating Ryder Cup debut, but this time last year you could take three-figure prices for the Open, and 50s isn't quite big enough to tempt me in. Burns is the better bet.

Scottie Scheffler could make a move on Saturday at the Open
Scottie Scheffler bagged a top-10 finish on his Open debut

Qualifying the logic...

Finally, a word on some non-qualifiers, which would've been more substantial and potentially included recommended bets but for the fact most firms now settle anyone who doesn't play as a loser (Sky Bet and BoyleSports refund bets, as I believe do Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook).

It's not totally unreasonable to settle all in run or not, but choosing to do so should at least ensure they price up qualifiers and those specifically requested, rather than what can appear a random set of non-qualifiers.

I had been keen to put up Rickie Fowler at 66/1, knowing that to qualify for the Open he'd have to either return to the world's top 50 or play well at the right time in a Qualifying Series event. Under either scenario he would likely have arrived at St Andrews, where he's caught the eye on both visits, as a live one.

Fowler was no bigger than 80/1 this summer and to play in the 2022 Open, his game will have had to improve considerably since then. Unfortunately, those offering 66/1 will keep the money if he doesn't qualify, and I can leave 50/1 alone.

Russell Henley is closer to securing a place in the field and played really well after a slow start here in 2015. Good in the wind and a contender by the coast at Torrey Pines last summer, if you are prepared to risk him failing to qualify then the 200/1 offered in a place could look good business. He's a rock-solid world number 57 at the time of writing and will likely make it.

Posted at 1200 GMT on 22/12/21

Click here for Ben Coley's tipping record

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