Okay time for my British Open picks. This year's championship returns to St. Andrews Scotland, the home of golf. As I say every year it is unique as this tournament celebrates pure history and tradition-small historic English and Scottish towns, cramped hotel rooms, travel by train, and, for what it is worth, unspoiled seaside scenery and tradition links golf courses. Oh, and my favorite tradition, the plane from the John Deere Classic in the heartland to England and Scotland-there is no more a culture change than this.
Without further delay, here are my picks. Again, unprecedented parity in golf have made majors impossible to predict, I have yet to have a correct prediction since I started this blog and my expectations are not too high for this week. Links golf is even more of a crapshoot then other events because it is played in weather and course conditions that most players do not regularly deal with. I do not mind that as it shows there is a deeper talent pool in golf.
Five top contenders
1. Phil Mickelson-He has already won the Masters and the wide open nature of this course gives him the best chance to win a British Open. He also is on the lookout for No. 1 in the world. This isn't the Open he wants but he will take it.
2. Tiger Woods-Tiger has not been Tiger as of late but he is the two time defending champion at St. Andrews and a third would put him in a class by himself.
3. Lee Westwood-He has been knocking on the door at majors the last few years and will break through at some point.
4. Steve Stricker-He has the game primed to win a major someday and he has been consistent in terms of contending and winning tournaments. He won this past week at John Deere and this week he could get it done.
5. Ernie Els-Strong play at the U.S. Open and British is where he has his best record. He is positioning himself for an elusive fourth major and this could be his year.
Five Sleeper Picks
1. Graeme McDowell-Never look over the most recent major champion. If there is one title he wants more than a U.S. Open at Pebble, a British at St. Andrews would be the one.
2. Stewart Cink-It is his title until someone takes it away.
3. Sergio Garcia-Not playing well but Spain is on a roll right now.
4. Rory McIlroy-The next big thing. Not a bad place to break through than the British Open at the Old Course
5. Justin Leonard-I am still waiting for a second major from him.
It starts Thursday, should be a memorable week.