British Open predictions, odds 2019: Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari picks from PGA insider

On Thursday at the 2019 British Open, also called the Open Championship, Tiger Woods will begin his quest for his fourth Claret Jug. He won in 2000 and 2005 at St. Andrews and also emerged victorious in 2006 at Royal Liverpool. Last year, Woods finished sixth at the Open Championship, three strokes behind eventual winner Francesco Molinari. In order to best the 2019 Open Championship field, Woods will need to fend off a highly talented group at Royal Portrush that also includes world No. 1 Brooks Koepka, who has won four of the last nine majors he's played. Koepka has already captured one major title this year, the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, while Woods took down the Masters at Augusta. Now, Koepka is the second-biggest favorite at 10-1 Open Championship odds behind Rory McIlroy (8-1), while Woods is going off at 18-1 after opening at 16-1. Before you make your 2019 Open Championship picks and PGA predictions, you need to hear what SportsLine golf insider Sal Johnson has to say.

A media legend and consummate golf insider, Johnson is red-hot this year. He featured Woods in his best bets for the Masters, and Woods walked away with his fifth green jacket. Then, Johnson promoted Koepka in his PGA Championship best bets, and Koepka made a mockery of that major, building a seven-shot lead entering the weekend and cruising to victory.

Last month at the Travelers Championship, Johnson promoted 50-1 long shot Chez Reavie as a potential winner, citing Reavie's momentum following his third place finish at the U.S. Open and noting how his game (second in fairway accuracy, eighth in proximity to hole) suited TPC River Highlands perfectly. The result: Reavie cruised to a four-stroke victory, finishing 17-under for his first PGA title in 11 years. 

And Johnson knows Royal Portrush like the back of his hand, having covered more than a dozen tournaments there over his storied career.

Now, Johnson -- the first producer of "Inside the PGA Tour," a longtime ABC Sports golf producer and the founder of the world's biggest golf stats database -- has issued his highly confident Open Championship picks 2019. He made those picks, which he's sharing at SportsLine, based on his revealing breakdown of Royal Portrush.

"Seven or eight holes will be perfect for bombers, while the rest of the course will appeal to the shotmaker," Johnson told SportsLine.

We can tell you Johnson wants no part of Woods even though he's in the midst of a resurgent season after winning the Masters. In fact, Johnson says Woods doesn't even crack the top 10 at Royal Portrush. "Tiger complained about the chill in the air at Pebble Beach and said his back wasn't the best in 'sweater weather,'" Johnson told SportsLine. "He also missed the cut at Bethpage Black in the cold. Add in possibly wet and windy conditions and it's not going to be a winning week for Tiger."

Johnson has a strong read on McIlroy, who has had an impressive season with wins at the Players Championship and RBC Canadian Open. McIlroy is back up to No. 3 in the world and will have the home crowd behind him at Royal Portrush, where he set the course record by shooting a 61 as a 16-year-old in 2005. However, it's been five years since McIlroy won a major and his putting has been spotty. In fact, McIlroy ranks just 138th in putting from 10 to 15 feet this season and 179th from 15 to 20 feet.

Johnson also has locked in the fate of defending champion Francesco Molinari, who outlasted a star-studded leaderboard that included names like Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, McIlroy and Woods. Molinari followed that win up with an impressive victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but it's been tough sledding since blowing a final-round lead at the 2019 Masters. Molinari has finished outside the top 45 in four of his last five PGA Tour events.

Instead, Johnson is high on an astronomical long shot who thrives on links courses, has a top-five Open Championship finish to his credit, and boasts a strong track record at Royal Portrush. "I strongly feel that he not only will contend but can win," Johnson said. Anyone who backs this underdog could hit it big.

Who wins the 2019 British Open? Where do Woods and Molinari finish? And which massive long shot stuns the golf world? Check out the latest 2019 British Open odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Sal Johnson's full leaderboard and picks, all from the golf insider who nailed the Masters and PGA Championship this year.

Rory McIlroy 8-1
Dustin Johnson 10-1
Brooks Koepka 10-1
Jon Rahm 16-1
Tiger Woods 18-1
Justin Rose 20-1
Xander Schauffele 20-1
Francesco Molinari 20-1
Rickie Fowler 25-1
Patrick Cantlay 25-1
Tommy Fleetwood 25-1
Justin Thomas 30-1
Adam Scott 30-1
Louis Oosthuizen 30-1
Henrik Stenson 30-1
Matt Kuchar 30-1
Bryson DeChambeau 40-1
Hideki Matsuyama 40-1
Jason Day 40-1
Paul Casey 50-1
Graeme McDowell 50-1
Matt Wallace 50-1
Tony Finau 60-1
Gary Woodland 60-1
Marc Leishman 60-1
Shane Lowry 80-1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 80-1
Rafael Cabrera Bello 80-1
Sergio Garcia 80-1
Patrick Reed 80-1
Phil Mickelson 100-1
Ian Poulter 100-1
Eddie Pepperell 100-1
Tyrrell Hatton 100-1
Webb Simpson 100-1

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