Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy are the 13/8 joint favourites in the Top Irish Player betting for The Open Championship with Ladbrokes.
It would mean an incredible seventh major success for Irish players since Padraig Harrington landed his maiden success at Carnoustie in a 2007 play-off win against Sergio Garcia.
The Dubliner went on to retain his title at Royal Birkdale in 2008 as well as landing the USPGA that same summer at Oakland Hills in Michigan.
Harrington’s successes appeared to instill a belief in Irish golf that had previously been missing, and Graeme McDowell promptly became the first European in 40 years to land the US Open title at Pebble Beach in the summer of 2010.
Rory McIlroy’s record breaking efforts allowed him relieve ‘G-Mac’ of that crown a year later before Darren Clarke added another glorious chapter in this Irish golfing odyssey with his win at a wet and windy Sandwich last July.
Six Irishmen will take the challenge this week at Royal Lytham, on a course that Clarke has described as “brutal” following his opening practice sessions.
Top of the pile sits Harrington, twice a winner of this event and one of a select group of multiple major winners, the 40-year-old has recently looked like rediscovering something approaching his best form.
Harrington, 20/1 to win outright this week with Ladbrokes
, showed pleasing form as he finished inside the top 10 at both the Augusta Masters in April and the US Open in June. He also performed admirably around the links of Royal Portrush, contending for the lead right through the Irish Open, and finished inside the top 20 at Castle Stuart in the Scottish Open last week.
Harrington could also makes some appeal in the Ladbrokes market for Top Past Winner, where is he is a 3/1 shot behind Tiger Woods (4/5) is a confined field of just 16 players.
Rory McIlroy (20/1) comes to Lytham amid a poor run of form that saw him miss three cuts in four events on the US PGA Tour. However, since returning to Europe, McIlroy has steadied the ship, including a tie for 10th spot at the Irish Open.
McIlroy’s supposed disenchantment with the weather being such an influence on this Championship overshadows somewhat that he could easily have claimed a Claret Jug at St Andrews in 2010 but for a horrific second round 80.
Tied third on that occasion, McIlroy’s ability to handle the pressure of the weekend in major championships give him a distinct advantage over many of his rivals. He is joint 13/8 favourite with Harrington to be the Top Irish Player this week, and should he get a decent start, McIlroy may soon have much loftier ambitions.