The 2019 British Open begins on Thursday. Royal Portrush will re-establish itself as one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world as host of the 148th iteration of this iconic event, which is also known as the 2019 Open Championship. Royal Portrush is the only course outside of Great Britain to host and the 2019 Open is its first opportunity since 1951. Located on the North Atlantic coast about seven miles from Giant’s Causeway, the venue has been filled with memorable moments over the years. As a 16-year-old, Rory McIlroy set the course record by firing a 61 at the 2005 North of Ireland Championship. Now, the Northern Ireland native is installed as the 8-1 favorite in the latest 2019 Open Championship odds. The top two players in the world, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, are sitting right behind McIlroy at 10-1 in the latest Open Championship odds 2019 and both will be highly motivated to spoil McIlroy’s homecoming. Before you make your 2019 Open Championship picks and golf predictions, be sure to see what SportsLine’s PGA Tour 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 taken golf by storm once again with wins at the 2018 Tour Championship and 2019 Masters. After going over five years without a win and nearly 11 years without a major championship, Woods has gotten both monkeys off his back in the last year. However, his back could be a major hurdle at the Open Championship 2019. Woods’ spinal fusion will be put to the test at Royal Portrush with rainy and windy conditions expected.

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