St Andrews hosts the 2015 Open golf championship next week. Here is what to look for, and some suggestions for who to back

Recommendations

Dustin Johnson 14-1 BetVictor (each way Six places)

Paul Casey 33-1 Betfair Sportsbook (each way Eight places)

Brooks Koepka 50-1 Betfair Sportsbook (each way Eight places)

Tommy Fleetwood 80-1 Betfair Sportsbook (each way Eight places)

The previous seven Opens at St Andrews were won by a previous major winner.  Nicklaus, Ballesteros,  Faldo and Woods won six of them and it is a venue where fancied golfers tend to do well. Big names tend to populate the leaderboards.

The last five majors have been won by players under the age of 30 and the last four have gone to either Rory McIlroy at the last Open and USPGA, or Jordan Spieth, the US Open and the Masters.

Like the US Open this year, on a links layout, long-hitters will enjoy a significant advantage. Wide, fast fairways suit the “bombers”. In addition to the ability to drive several par-fours depending on the wind, the most powerful are able to take avoid the bunkers on the tougher holes with more conservative tee shots and longer second shots.  Good long putting is also essential given the size of the greens.

Recent form is important too and it could be that Chambers Bay is a decent guide to strong performers at St Andrews. With all this in mind I have once again selected four golfers for a “portfolio”. Two are in the top ten in the betting, two are outsiders.

Many lists would have included 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, but the news that he will miss the Open with ankle ligament damage meant a market shake up as he was 9/2 favourite prior to the injury. Many will transfer their betting allegiance to new favourite, Jordan Spieth, available at at 6/1.

Shop around for the best terms in the run up to the event. Betfair Sportsbook are each-way EIGHT places (maximum bet £25 per player) and PaddyPower and Skybet are SEVEN places, with plenty of six place books around

Dustin Johnson 14-1 BetVictor (each way Six places)

An unfortunate three-putt on the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay blew a chance to win his first major and give this column a nice win. Nevertheless, after personal bests in the Masters and US Open, finishing sixth and second, he is very close to a breakthrough major title. Johnson could overpower the Old Course as a very long hitter and is available at 14-1 if you think he has overcome his dramas in the US Open.

Paul Casey 33-1 Betfair Sportsbook (each way Eight places)

Runner up here five years ago and back in contention for tournaments in the last year after injury and off-the-course problems. Has lost i n two tour play-offs this year and has five top-six finishes in his past 12 starts. A big hitter with recent and course form.

Brooks Koepka 50-1 Betfair Sportsbook (each way Eight places)

Brooks Koepka rose to 19th in the world rankings when he won the Phoenix Open this year and has finished in top 20 in three of his last five majors (including at Chambers Bay), making the cut each time. Another big hitter, and often a good performer in bad weather, always a possibility on British links events. Good recent form, tied 4th on the USPGA a fortnight ago in the St Jude Classic

Tommy Fleetwood 80-1 Betfair Sportsbook (each way Eight places)

An excellent recent record at St Andrews and a links specialist having grown up on the coast at Southport. Ranks second for ball-striking on the European Tour over the past three months.  Still only 24 his recent form is much improved after coach Pete Cowen ironed out a technical flaw in his game. One of the liveliest outsiders in the field for St Andrews.

Recommendations

Dustin Johnson 14-1 BetVictor (each way Six places)

Paul Casey 33-1 Betfair Sportsbook (each way Eight places)

Brooks Koepka 50-1 Betfair Sportsbook (each way Eight places)

Tommy Fleetwood 80-1 Betfair Sportsbook (each way Eight places)