AS you read this many of the world’s leading golfers are putting the finishes touches to their Open Championship preparations.

Tiger Woods didn’t play the Scottish Open, but bookies don’t believe that his inactivity will be detrimental, BetVictor installing the 36-year-old as the 13/2 favourite to lift the famous Claret Jug at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

Hot on Woods’ heels are Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, both available at 16/1 via bet365 and Stan James respectively. Westwood has been threatening to land his maiden major for a while and his big event form has to be respected but he has struggled to get over the finish line while McIlroy has missed four cuts in his last six outings.

BetVictor offer 18/1 for the consistent Luke Donald, whose missed cut in the US Open recently was his first since last year’s Open Championship at Royal St George’s.

Save for a couple of good performances in 2009 and 2010 though, he has rarely looked at his most comfortable in this event.

By contrast Padraig Harrington loves the Open, having carded back-to-back victories in 2007 and 2008. The affable Irishman is also in decent form with top 10 finishes in his last couple of majors, so he’s undoubtedly one to consider at 20/1 (Ladbrokes).

Elsewhere, Graeme McDowell won’t be without support at 33/1 via bet365, the ever-dangerous Phil Mickelson is a 40/1 shot at Skybet and Justin Rose’s solid form makes him an interesting each-way consideration at 33/1 courtesy of William Hill. Dustin Johnson meanwhile, was runner up last year and the 40/1 shot at Stan James can lead an American charge, bet365’s 40/1 chance Ian Poulter shouldn’t be discounted and 2010 winner Louis Oosthuizen is a slightly chunkier 50/1 at BetVictor.

The value however, lies with Ernie Els at 40/1 (Stan James). Returning to form after a torrid 2011, the ‘Big Easy’ has a superb record.

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