When the 2012 British Open Championship begins from Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf and Country Club on Thursday morning in England, the No. 1 name on everyone's mind will once again be that of Tiger Woods, a man who remains the sport's most polarizing figure.
As expected, the three-time British champ opened as the betting favorite to take home another major title according to VegasInsider.com, as Woods was given a tournament-best 8-to-1 odds to pull off a victory. Young gun and local favorite Rory McIlroy is right on Woods' heels with 10-to-1 odds himself, while three other European players, Lee Westwood (12-to-1), Luke Donald (15-to-1), and Padraig Harrington (15-to-1) rounded out the top five.
Though he tied for second place at last year's event and is always a threat at the biggest venues, four-time major winner Phil Mickelson will open with 25-to-1 odds to take his first ever title on European soil. Much further down the same list however, is none other than last year's winner, Scotland native Darren Clarke. The 43-year-old Clarke was given rather steep 150-to-1 odds to repeat, in an obvious slap in the face from oddsmakers who question his ability to pull off another surprise win.
Former Michigan Wolverine Justin Hicks was not specifically awarded individual odds, and is instead included in the remaining field which has also been given 8-to-1 odds to have a player emerge as champion. Hicks is not only making his first appearance at the British, but is taking in Europe for the first time.