The Open odds: Spieth and Scott among tips for Royal Troon

Six of the world's best golfers will battle for the Claret Jug this week

(Image credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The world's top golfers must be hoping that the midges at Royal Troon do not cause as much trouble as the mosquitos in Rio as they descend on Scotland ahead of The Open.

With golf's Olympic future already under scrutiny thanks to the Zika row, the big names who are missing the Games may be glad to get out onto the links to avoid more questions about their aversion to biting insects.

But, as the BBC notes, they "would probably play this year's Open if there was Bubonic plague in Scotland. What's a spot of gangrene when you could win the Claret Jug?"

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So with all the main players in attendance who is the best bet to take home the iconic trophy, won last year by Zach Johnson?

Here are best of the experts' picks:

Dustin Johnson: Odds 9-1

"The big-hitting American is in the form of his life," says the Daily Telegraph. "Victory at Royal Troon would bring about the remarkable feat of achieving back-to-back major victories and his third straight tournament win – but the 32-year-old really is playing that well."

In the past it was his mentality that let him down, says the BBC. "Johnson's major derailments include the 2010, 2011 and 2015 Opens but no one has ever doubted he has the game to triumph in links conditions. His mind always seemed to be the problem, although it seems to be a problem no longer."

His excellent driving gives him a "massive advantage at a course that is playing softer than the R&A probably anticipated", says Ryan Lavner of the Golf Channel, while the big flat greens are a great leveller. "The Summer of DJ should continue here," he adds.

Jordan Spieth: Odds 12-1 (6-4 top ten)

Last year he and Rory McIlroy looked set to dominate golf, but since then Johnson and Jason Day have overtaken them. Spieth is the fourth favourite behind his three rivals at Troon, but will hope to re-establish himself at The Open and has every right to feel bullish.

He is tipped to do better than McIlroy, who may be blown off course by the wild conditions in Scotland, says the BBC. "Spieth's iron play was ominously good when he finished third behind Johnson at Firestone a fortnight ago. Spieth has been in Scotland since last Saturday and thorough preparation is often the difference between success and failure, especially in links golf."

He has the right spirit says Sky Sports. "On what is a classical in-and-out links, one which doesn't lend much of an advantage to power, Spieth's ability to manufacture a score even when he's not at his best sets him apart as the strongest candidate from the top of the market."

Adam Scott: Odds 20-1 (9-4 top ten)

"After a great spring, the Aussie has cooled," says Gary van Sickle of "He is best on slightly slower, less undulating greens. Royal Troon, here he comes."

Like Spieth he arrived early in Scotland to get his game in order, notes the Telegraph. "The Australian has become somewhat of a links specialist in recent years and will be a significant contender at Royal Troon. While he has not won a major since his 2013 Masters triumph Scott has finished in the top ten of every Open championship since 2012 and has had a number of near-misses since then."

Sergio Garcia: Odds 25-1 (12-5 top ten)

"No golf tipping sheet is complete without the perennial major under-achiever, Sergio Garcia," says the Telegraph, which suggests an each way flutter on the 37-year-old.

So, could the Spaniard win his first major this weekend? Yes, says NESN. "Garcia has had a strong 2016 campaign, making the cut in ten of his 11 appearances. He also has one win – the AT&T Byron Nelson – and he finished in a tie for fifth at the US Open. And, on top of that, Garcia finished in the top six in his last two tries at the British Open."

He is "something of a hard-luck cult hero", says SB Nation, but it adds that only Dustin Johnson is in better form than the Spaniard at the moment. "It feels like this could be Sergio's moment," says the website.

Martin Kaymer: Odds 50-1 (5-1 top ten)

The German represents the "pick of the European challenge", says Sky Sports, and he "arrives in great form... with his long game under control and the putter working nicely".

"With two majors already in the locker, there is no doubt the German has what it takes to win a Claret Jug and his links form includes wins in the KLM Open and the Dunhill Links," adds Sky.

"He has quietly played well over the past two months," says Jay Coffin of the Golf Channel. He is "a guy in decent form who should easily qualify for the weekend. He won’t win, but a top-10 finish is quite possible."

Ernie Els: Odds 125-1 (12-1 top ten)

If you are looking for an outsider, why not pick the 'Big Easy'. He "is no longer at the peak of his powers", says the Telegraph. "But one should not ignore the quality of Els's links-game. The South African won in Muirfield in 2002, in Lytham in 2011 and was runner-up in a play-off at Troon in 2004."

The 46-year-old South African "can still have his moments", agrees Rex Hoggard of the Golf Channel. "As Tom Watson proved in 2009, the game's oldest championship brings out the best in ageless champions."

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