The English Open, currently the Cazoo Classic, was introduced in 1988 with the aim of being a genuine national open for England. The Open Championship played the role of national open for Britain but England was lacking a professional event to do that job and it was very well supported by the European Tour right from the off.
English winners of the tournament included Mark James and Lee Westwood while other big names to triumph were Ian Woosnam, Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke who won his third English Open in 2002 before the event fell off the European Tour schedule. The event was reborn in the face of the adversity of 2020 as the Hero Open and played at Forest of Arden, the host of the previous three editions and could be set for a long spell back as a European Tour event.
Betting Tips for 12th to 15th August 2021
The European Tour’s run of events in the British Isles comes to an end this week with the Cazoo Classic. Is there anything Cazoo don’t sponsor at the moment? The idea behind this tournament is that it picks up the baton from the now defunct English Open and provides another chance for England to host a big European Tour event.
Despite being scheduled just ahead of the PGA Tour playoffs, the Cazoo Classic has been supported by some big names of European golf. Many of those stars have spoken about their desire to compete at the Heritage course at London Golf Club. The Kent track has hosted several European Tour events in the past and should provide a fair, though not too taxing, test for the high class field assembled.
The Jack Nicklaus-designed Heritage course can be a real challenge when the weather conditions are tough. Temperatures should be perfect for golf this week but there is some fairly gusty wind in the forecast which could keep a check on scoring. That suggests that players who are able to manipulate their ball flight and can remain patient to avoid making silly mistakes on the tougher holes should be favoured.
The market likes the chances of Austrian ace Bernd Wiesberger and the home player Andy Sullivan, who are available at 14/1 and 22/1 respectively this week. Wiesberger is a proven winner who has got the job done in eight different countries but he’s never won in England and won’t find it easy to change that record this week. Sullivan, however, does make appeal from a class angle. A couple of missed cuts in recent weeks have taken the shine of his form (but also lengthened his odds) but Sullivan is right to feel good about his game and can put on a show on home soil.
Many of the players this week will be learning the Heritage course for the first time. That was not an issue for Ross Fisher who won the 2008 European Open here without the benefit of even a practice round but previous course form could play into the hands of the powerful Alvaro Quiros. The Spaniard does need an advantage over the field as he is languishing way down in the world rankings. There were some signs of life with a battling 16th place at last week’s Hero Open and the big hitting Spaniard can outperform his odds which, frankly, are far too big at 175/1.
|2021||London Golf Club||Calum Hill|
|2020||Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club||Sam Horsfield|
2021: Calum Hill
It’s been a tough spell for Scottish golf in recent years but things are beginning to change for the better. Robert MacIntyre is leading the charge and his performances around the world have been an inspiration to others including Calum Hill. The 26-year-old became the second Scotsman to earn their maiden European Tour win in a fortnight with a one shot win in the Cazoo Classic.
This was a big win for many reasons for Hill. Perhaps most impressively it showed that he has a real steely desire to get the job done. Not only did he chase down a three shot deficit in the final round of the Cazoo Classic but his win came just a week after he threw away the 54 hole lead at the Hero Open last time out. As happy as he was for Grant Forrest to win at Fairmont St Andrews, Hill was upset with himself to miss that golden opportunity and it is to his immense credit that he gathered himself to go again at London Golf Club.
As with any first time winner on the European Tour, the job facing Hill is to make sure that he is no one hit wonder. “This is the starting point,” he said. “Hopefully I can keep pushing on from here and see where I can take it.” With three wins on the Challenge Tour, Hill clearly knows how to get the job done and he’ll be seeking to make the most of this strong run of form to move even higher than his current ranking of 22nd on the Race to Dubai.
2020: Sam Horsfield
Challenges always bring opportunities. The European Tour had a huge challenge reworking the schedule after the enforced shutdown of golf in the spring of 2020 and one of the opportunities created was the chance to resurrect the English Open. Sam Horsfield rose to the challenge to take advantage of the newly minted Hero Open, edging out Thomas Detry by one shot at the Forest of Arden for his maiden European Tour title.
Horsfield was full of confidence having been in contention at the British Masters a week earlier but this time he was able to maintain his title challenge. The 23 year old ended his final round with the same one shot advantage that he carried overnight for an extra special first win as it came in his native England, a feat that has so far eluded his long term mentor Ian Poulter.
While Horsfield coped with the pressure well, Detry crumbled to make a mistake at just the wrong time. The Belgian got himself into the lead with a birdie on the 17th but handed that shot back on the last. That bogey still left Horsfield in a share of the lead but a birdie-par finish proved enough for the victory.