The Open Championship

The sport of Golf has four major championships per season, the oldest and the only championship held outside of the United States is the Open Championship, commonly known as the British Open or simply as The Open. From both a betting and supporters perspective, the four majors attract the biggest following, attention and audiences, and along with the Masters Tournament (April), US Open (June) and the PGA Championship (August), the Open Championship is one of the cornerstones of the golfing calendar, in which both players and fans look forward too. The Championships trophy is also one of the most iconic in sport, and is coveted by the hundreds of players that enter the tournament field each year.

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Since 1979, the British Open has been held in late July, but the competitions illustrious and esteemed history dates back to 1860. The tournament's established year is the oldest of all the four majors, 35 years before the second longest, The US Open (1895), 56 years prior to the first PGA Championships (1916), and preceding the Masters Tournament by 74 years (1934). The first ever Championship was held in October of 1860, but Monsterbet has put together a full history of one of the most popular events on the golfing tour below, along with various trophies and medals that have been up for grabs over the years at the Open Championship, the recent Champions, our betting advice and the latest free bet offers available on the British Open.

2016 Open Championship Free Bets and Promotions

The Open is the biggest golf championship in the world and this year takes place at Royal Troon in Ayrshire. Adam Scott has the best recent Open form of the entire field and Dustin Johnson has a game suited to the course. The key skills for good scoring this week are driving distance, greens in regulation, scrambling and as ever putting. Johnson is in the top 30 for all but scrambling and given his length off the tee he will be playing short approach shots and might not need too many recoveries.

Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler are just about the best current players to never win a major and they both have the games to contend. Troon could give Lee Westwood one of his last chances to win a major. He is the only player in the history of the game to finish in the top three of all four majors without winning one. Westwood finished second in the US Masters and proved he can still compete at this level.

Colin Montgomerie looks nailed on to be top senior and finishing in the top 10 is not beyond him. Monty never won a regular major but has now won three in the over 50s age group. His Dad was the secretary at Troon while little Colin was growing up and he literally knows the course like the back of his hand. Hideki Matsuyama is a standing dish to be top Asian player again in the Open.

These are some players that can be backed with bookmakers offering Open specific concessions. There will be no live coverage on BBC this year and there are fears betting turnover will suffer. Bookmakers have tried to make betting with them attractive with the following offers and promotions:

Coral - 7 Places

The usual place terms for a regular golf tournament are one quarter the odds for the first five places. With ties common at the top of the leaderboard dead heat rules often apply with stakes split in proportion to the number of players placed. It is common for 156 players to be in the field and even though many of those have no chance of winning there are sometimes 50 potential champions. Place terms of one quarter the odds for six places would be appropriate so Coral are not giving much away by offering each way terms of one fifth the odds for seven places. However, they are best price or joint best price on six of the ten shortest priced players in the betting.

Betfair – 7 Places

Betfair are paying out on 7 places on pre-tournament outright bets. In-play bets may be subject to different terms which will change as the tournament progresses. This offer applies to the place part of each way bets which are settled at one quarter the odds. Betfair’s exchange odds are usually better than those offered by the traditional bookmakers. However, bets may not be matched or partially matched and winning bets are subject to commission which somewhat negates the value in the odds.

William Hill – 7 Places 

William Hill are matching the place terms of some of their main competitors by offering one fifth the odds for a place for the first seven places. They are biggest price or joint biggest price about Dustin Johnson and Jason Day, their joint favourites. Hills have balanced the books by offering no value at the bigger priced players and they are shortest about most players priced at 80/1 or bigger. The market for the Open is very competitive as it is the tournament most golf punters wish to have a betting interest. Bookmakers like William Hill have responded with improved each way terms. 

Ladbrokes – Free In-Play Refund 

Ladbrokes have taken a different tack by only paying out on the first six places at one quarter the odds. They do not offer the best value on the top eight players in the betting but give mobile and online punters a potential refund. All customers with Ladbrokes will have stakes returned in the form of a free bet up to a maximum of £25 if the backed player finishes second or third in the Open. This offer applies to win singles and the win element of each-way bets. The free bet will be credited within 24 hours of the result being known and only applies to a customer’s first bet in the outright market. The concession is valid from the start of the tournament until the completion of the second round.

Betway - £10 Free Bet 

Betway are offering all customers a £10 free bet during the Open. Account holders who place a bet on the outright winner before the championship will have stakes refunded in the form of a free bet if the backed player is the leader or joint leader at the end of any of the first three rounds. The minimum stake is £20 and the maximum free bet is £10. The offer applies to win singles in the pre-tournament market and free bets will be credited within a full day of the conclusion of the first, second and third rounds. Betway are best price for only one player in the top ten of their Open betting.

Boylesports – Refunded Bets 

Boylesports are in the camp of paying out on six places and not seven at one quarter the win odds. They have compensated their customers by offering money back in the form of a free bet if a backed player finishes second or third or tied. The maximum free bet is The maximum free bet is £25 and applies to outright bets only. The offer is valid for win bets and the win element of each way bets. The free bets will be credited within 24 hours of the result being known and customers then have seven days to use the free bet before expiry. Boylesports are also offering a free bet for £2 for every bogey by a backed player for at least £20 win or £20 each way in the outright market. Customers must opt-in to both offers or they will not apply.

188Bet – Free Bet of £25 

Customers with 188Bet will have stakes refunded in the form of a free bet if a backed golfer finishes second behind a player from the United Kingdom. This promotion applies to the win element of bets placed before the tournament and the maximum free bet is £25. However, the free bet amount must be rolled over once at odds of 1.70 or bigger before customers have access to funds fro the free bet. There are four British players in the top 20 in the outright betting for the Open including Rory McIlroy who counts because he was born in Northern Ireland. 

Customers looking to have a bet on the Open can select their bookmaker based on price, place terms and free bets. The Open Championship is by far the biggest golf tournament of the season and bookmakers are looking to attract new customers and maintain the loyalty of existing ones. There is a trade-off as they are all basically working to the same profit margins and will be in trouble when Adam Scott wins the 2016 Open Championship and Monty makes the top 10.

The Open Championship Betting

Open Championship betting and golf betting in general is tricky, but it's made much easier if you follow some easy golf betting strategies and rules. Just like betting on the World Cup or Champions League in football, the bigger the tournament, the more competitive it is, and they don't come much bigger than the Open Championship. One of the key factors to betting successfully on the British Open is also shared with the participants, understanding the course, knowing what it takes to win and spotting what attributes are needed to win at a certain golf course.

It's tradition for the Open Championship to move venue each year, from Muirfiled to St Andrews and many others, it's important to research the course prior to considering using one of our free bets to place a wager on the British Open. For example, take a look at previous winners of major tournaments held at the venue in recent years, can you spot a common denominator? Were the players that finished higher on the leader-board accomplished at a certain attribute that their opponents were weaker at?, both questions to ask yourself when researching a course.

When you've figured out what it takes to win at a certain course, it's time to work your way through the entries and short-list the players that have the strong attributes you have already identified that are needed to win the Open Championship. Once you have pencilled your short-list, another vital element to betting on golf is current form. A player that has both the strong attributes, current and previous tournament form is a player that should move to the top of your short-list.

Once you have narrowed down your short-list to the main protagonists, it's time to check the betting as understanding value and spotting a player who's chances are better than their price suggests (over-priced), is where most punters will profit.

Open Championship betting is expansive, and online bookmakers now offer a variety of betting markets months ahead of the tournament starting in late July. From betting on the Outright Winner, Winning Margin, Top 10 Finish, Top American and European, to individual Match and 3 Ball Betting. For a break down of the most popular Open Championship betting markets, visit our dedicated Golf Betting page, where you'll find full details on all the major betting markets and the latest free bets on golf.

The Open Championship History

The inaugural tournament of the Open Championship was played on 17 October 1860, and was staged at the Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland, a course that has hosted the tournament on 24 occasions, the last in 1925, and a course that provided a Scottish born winner on 19 of those 24 Championships, including Tom Morris Sr and Jr who won four Open Championships a piece in the early sixties. The first time the tournament was played, it was restricted to just professional players of the sport, and attracted just eight golfers, who contested the trophy across the 12-hole course over a single day, with Willie Park Sr winning with a score of 174. The following year, the tournament was once more staged at the Prestwick course, attracting 10 professional golfers, and for the first time, the field was opened up to eight amateurs.

Up until the fourth Open Championship in 1863, the trophy that was presented to the winning golfer was in the form of a red leather belt with a silver buckle, but for the first time, prize money was introduced. The winner would still be just awarded with the prestigious belt, however a fund of £10 was shared between the second, third and fourth placed professionals. It wasn't until the following year that the winner would also receive a cash prize, with Tom Morris walking away with £6, a stark comparison to multi million pound prize fund that today's Open Championship era golfers compete for. The winners Challenge Belt was retired in 1870, and Tom Morris was allowed to keep it due to his three consecutive tournament wins, and when Morris would win again for a fourth time in a row in 1872, as the 1871 renewal was cancelled due to no prize money, this time, the Scottish born player was awarded with a medal.


From it's inauguration in 1860 until 1870, the tournament was organised and staged at Prestwick, however for the first time, in 1871, the Open Championship was organised jointly with the Royal and Ancient Golf Golf of St Andrews and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. The tournament's prestige and size continued to blossom, and in 1892, the prize fund had reached £100, and the tournament's length had doubled from 36 to 72 holes. In Addition, another major step forward for the tournament came two years later, where for the first time, the Open Championship was held outside of Scotland at the Royal St George's Golf Club in England.

Along with an ever increasing prize fund and staging at various venues across Great Britain, the Open Championship has also seen numerous trophies and medals since Tom Morris was awarded and retired the Challenge Belt in 1870, 10 years after it was introduced. One of the trophies introduced since has become one of the most iconic and recognisable trophies in sport, the Golf Champion Trophy. Commonly known as the Claret Jug, the trophy replaced the Challenge Belt, and has been awarded to every winner of the Open Championship since 1873, and is still presented to the winner today. Along with the Claret Jug, the winner is also awarded with the Gold Medal, which was first introduced in 1872, when the Golf Champion Trophy was still being made. Since 1949 the Silver Medal has been handed out to the highest finishing amateur player in the tournament, with a Bronze Medal being awarded to all other amateurs playing in the final round since 1972.

In 1995, the Open Championship became a part of the PGA tour schedule, and has since been a tournament that the American professionals have had a firm stranglehold on. In the first 12 Open Championship's since the tournament became apart of the PGA tour, it was won by an American in all but two of its renewals, three occasions by the most recognisable player in the modern era, Tiger Woods.

Recent Open Championship Winners


2015 - St Andrews

Zach Johnson (United States)

273 (-15)

1st Prize - £1,150,000



2014 – Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)

271 (-17)

1st Prize - £975,000



2013 – Muirfield

Phil Mickleson (United States)

281 (-3)

1st Prize - £945,000



2012 – Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club

Ernie Els (South Africa)

273 (-7)

1st Prize - £900,000



2011 – Royal St George's Golf Club

Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland)

275 (-5)

1st Prize - £900,000



2010 – St Andrews

Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa)

272 (-16)

1st Prize - £850,000



2009 – Turnberry

Stewart Cink (United States)

278 (-2) PO

1st Prize - £750,000



2008 – Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Padraig Harrington (Ireland)

283 (+3)

1st Prize - £750,000



2007 – Carnoustie Golf Links

Padraig Harrington (Ireland)

277 (-7) PO

1st Prize - £750,000



2006 – Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Tiger Woods (United States)

270 (-18)

1st Prize - £720,000

The Open Championship Free Bets

The British Open is one of the most exciting golfing events of the year, made even more exciting by our free bet offers. You can use our betting advice outlined above, and our tournament previews to make your selections and pick out the best bets for the Open Championship. Additionally, through Monsterbet, you can also have a free bet with our top recommended bookmakers, by simply choosing a free bet from our specially compiled list of bookmakers we recommended for betting on the Open Championship and on Golf in general. Good Luck!.