The year’s final major, the 2019 British Open, will be played starting outside of Great Britain for only the second time. The must-see 2019 Open Championship begins Thursday from Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland, which also hosted the event in 1951. While the Open 2019 has a reputation as a brutal test given the often rainy and windy conditions, the world’s top players have found it fairly easy lately. The average winning score over the past four Open Championships was 16-under. Sportsbooks list Rory McIlroy, who won this event in 2014, as the 8-1 favorite in the latest 2019 Open Championship odds, followed by reigning PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka (10-1), world No. 2 Dustin Johnson (10-1), world No. 8 Jon Rahm (16-1) and 15-time major winner Tiger Woods (18-1). Before you make any 2019 Open Championship picks and PGA predictions, you’ll want to see what legendary golf expert 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 Koepka, who’s tied for the second-lowest Open Championship 2019 odds at 10-1. “Portrush will be too tight for him,” Johnson said. “And despite saying he gets prepared better for majors, he may be out of energy after winning the PGA Championship and finishing as the runner-up at the Masters and U.S. Open.”

Johnson has a strong read on Woods, who has won the Open three times, but not since 2006. Knowing that Woods’ back can act up in cold conditions, Johnson has studied the weather forecast for County Antrim, Northern Ireland, intensely and will be monitoring it constantly leading up to Thursday morning.

Johnson also has locked in the fate of McIlroy, a Northern Ireland native who at the age of 16 shot a course-record 61 at Royal Portrush. “The No. 1 key for Rory will be putting,” Johnson said. “That has always held him back from being a mega-superstar in the Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods realm.”

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 McIlory 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