British Open Preview

The Open Championship is this week and The Hackers Paradise has a contest going for all of our readers to pick their “winning team” for a chance to win a wonderful Rain Suit from Nike Golf. With that being said, we wanted our writers to be held accountable for their picks as well so we put together four questions for each writer to answer about how the British Open will play out this year.

1. Who do you think will win the Open? Why?
2. Who is your darkhorse pick? Why?
3. Who is a favorite that you think will fall flat and why?
4. How do you think this major will be played out?

Golfer Gal
1. Ian Poulter – This is what he has been preparing for all year. He has played decent so far this year and I think the Open will be his time to shine.

2. Henrik Stenson – Sure he won the Players Championship but he hasn’t done much besides that. I think he rebounds here and has a nice chance at major contention.

3. Jim Furyk – I love the guy but if he doesn’t get his putting under control he will never have a chance.

4. I think the weather will play a major role. I think if they don’t start off strong they won’t finish strong, especially for the young guys.

Craig M
1. Call me crazy for picking him but I believe Tiger will win the British Open, he has finished strong in every event he has played in lately. If he keeps his drives in the fairway he will run away with it.

2. Dark horse pick would be Sean O’hair, I feel he has been playing pretty solid this year and is due to put 4 rounds together one of these weeks so why not this week.

3. My favorite that will fall flat is Ian Poulter. He has been fairly solid this year but just hasn’t shown that he is playing at a high enough level to win a Major this year.

4. I think this will be a great Major, and I am expecting the winning score to be under par in the 7-8 under range with several familiar names giving chase on Sunday.

Jason K
1. TW is my winner, perhaps a little boring I know- but each of the last 3 times the Open Championship was held at Turnberry the best player in the world at the time won the title. This is not changing this year either. The only way this does not happen is if Woods falls on the unlucky side of the draw concerning weather. In that case look for Hunter Mahan to break through.

2. Adam Scott- a few years back he was anything but a dark horse, but after free falling clear down to 43 in OWGR and currently standing at 100 in FedEx Cup points, he has to be considered a dark horse now. I think that suits him better than being a #2 ranked golfer with all the hype. He has a strong record in the British and he’s my dark horse pick for 2009.

3. Kenny Perry- he hasn’t played in the British since a MC @ Hoylake in 2006 and for good reason, he has a less than stellar record at this event and this year will not be much different for the now 4th ranked golfer in the world.

4. We’ll hear a TON about how TW has never seen nor played an event at Turnberry yet miraculously beat the field to it’s knees with an arsenal of stinger 3 woods and 2 irons off the tee. He might need his driver more than his Hoylake triumph, but if they get poor weather his ball might not get more than 6 ft off the ground more than once or twice per round. As usual we’ve got a lot of great stories coming into the British Open, weather will likely be a pretty big factor with the forecast looking to be rainy and cool everyday except Sunday. Get on that lucky side of the tee time draw and you’ll have a better chance of winning, get a bad draw and you’ll struggle big time.

Josh B
1. Paul Casey is my winner. He has played extremely well this year and despite a letdown at the US Open, has played well recently. His game fits this course well and he has prepared for the weather conditions.

2. Nick Watney – earlier in the year calling him a dark horse was just not the case. He was on fire and really just fell out of the top tier. He has not done much in the last couple of months and I think this tournament suits his game very well.

3. Anthony Kim will fall flat. AK has had a bad year so far for the most part, but in the last month or so has shown some flashes of the AK of old. I do not think his game fits this course or the conditions expected very well, and I will be surprised if he is around come the weekend.

4. I agree with GolferGal that weather is once again going to dictate the scores as it usually does at the British Open. I believe that if you are on the wrong side of the draw, you could be completely taken out of your game. The coverage will be dominated with news such as Tiger never playing this course and can he find the fairway in the conditions, but I think this event is won off the tee more than on the green this year and think that the players that keep it in play have the best chance at becoming successful. There are players that I think will shine such as Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods, and more, but I think in the end, Paul Casey brings it home.

Harry Lonshanks
I removed the tin foil lining in my hat just long enough to allow The Visitors to broadcast their supernatural thoughts on this year’s Open Championship into my brain.

1. Tiger Woods. Because he’s a freakin’ alien too. How else can you explain him? He didn’t have a knee operation. He just had to go back to the home planet to recharge. The only way he loses is if the Sun’s yellow rays which give him his powers, like Superman, are blocked by pervasive bad weather.

2. Justin Leonard. He’s not an alien, but he is a Texas boy who knows how to play links golf by keeping his ball down in the wind. If his game is on, he’s a fairways a greens player with maybe the best putting stroke of anyone in the game right now. His one major win is a British Open and, in a perfect storm, he could take a second at Turnberry where, at just over 7,200 yards, the course is playing slightly shorter than the Masters or recent U.S. Open sites.

3. Rory McIlroy. Although Turnberry is just a hop, skip and a jump from his home, his refusal to get his hair cut will be his undoing. The winds will kick up and his Irish-fro will act like a spinnaker on his 5 foot 9 inch frame, causing instability in his putting stroke.

4. Lakers win – 4 games to 1.

Caleb C
1. Hunter Mahan is my favorite to win. Forget the fact that he hasn’t missed a cut this year, or that he drives the ball almost 295 yards on average and ranks in the top 15 in Greens in Regulation. I like Hunter because he has the guts and the poise required to win an Open Championship. In 2007 at Carnoustie, Hunter quietly finished T6 after posting third and fourth round scores of 69 and 65, better than anyone in the Top-10 including Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington who went head-to-head in a playoff, capping one of the most exciting Open Championships in recent memory. Although he missed the cut last year, Mahan has matured on and off the golf course. His game is peaking right now and as a result, I expect to see him standing with the Claret Jug on Sunday.

2. There might not have been a better “dark horse” story in recent years than global golf icon Greg Norman who made a serious run last year at Royal Birkdale. What a ride it was: Opening rounds of 70-70-72 to lead the field thru 54 holes. Before the golfing media could type the word “redemption” next to his name, the pressure proved to be too much for the Shark and he laid a final round egg (77). My dark horse pick this year is not from Australia nor does he have a catchy nickname. Nor does he have anything to lose. No, this chap likes to fly under the radar as evidenced by his one-under T30 finish at the Masters and fifth place finish at Beth Page. His name is Ross Fisher, the Englishman who has won twice on the European Tour and is on the verge of a career changing win. Don’t be surprised to see Fisher string together a few solid rounds and make life difficult for the front-runners. Again, Fisher has nothing to lose.

3. While he has been dominant on U.S. soil, Kenny Perry hasn’t factored into an Open Championship since 2005 when he finished T11 with Nick Faldo. He failed to make the cut in 2007 and opted out of last year’s Open after his John Deere win. So how can we expect KP to show up and challenge after his hiatus? Perry will also be drained emotionally with questions from media about missing last year and his Masters letdown. My prediction is that KP makes the cut, but finishes near the bottom.

4. Hunter Mahan shoots four-under-par and staves off a late charge by Tiger Woods and Rory Sabbatini to win his first career major.

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