2011 British Open Golf Preview: The Top 10 Contenders.

Tiger Woods will be missing another of golf’s majors. His knee injury has kept him out of the U.S Open and now the British Open.

With Woods stuck at 14 majors since 2008, we are starting to gain a greater appreciation of Jack Nicklaus ‘s record of 18 major champions. You need to be a great golfer, and you need to be great golfer for long period of time. We’ll see if Woods can make it back for the PGA Championship.

With Woods on injured reserve Rory Mcilory made a statement at the U.S Open winning by 8 shots. He looks like the real deal, and with British Open being played near his home of Northern Ireland, he’ll enter tournament as the favorite.

The last time the British open was played at Royal St. Georges an absolute unknown named Ben Curtis  won.

1) Rory Mcilory  

Mcilory overcame his collapse at Augusta by overwhelming the field at the U.S Open. Now the pressure won’t be when he’ll win a major but how many more majors will he win? He finished T3 at last year’s British Open and there aren’t really any reasons why he can’t win this week. If he plays his best he’ll be a back to back major winner.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 5 to 1

2) Lee Westwood

It was another major another top 5 finish for Westwood. A T3 at the U.S Open marked Westwood’s 5th top 5 Major finish in the last 7 he’s played in. He’s from England, so he knows links golf. He plays well in majors. We just pointed out his recent major record.

It would be a shame if a player as good as Westwood never wins a major. I expect we’ll see his name on the leaderboard Sunday.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 10 to 1

3) Luke Donald 

Luke Donald enters the British Open as the World’s number 1 player and is coming off a win at the Scottish Open. He’s won 3 times on the European tour, and won the WGC World Match play. You’d think being from England, that Donald would have better British Open record, but he only has 1 top 10 finish. That’s said no one has played more consistently in the world this year. It might be Donald’s time to win a major.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 12 to 1

4) Graeme McDowell 

It’s pretty wild that my top 4 favorites for the British Open are all from the British Isles. Northern Ireland native McDowell had a stellar 2010 with 3 WorldWide wins including a U.S. Open. He hasn’t been quite as good in 2011, but when he gets going McDowell is a fierce competitor. He went toe-to-toe with Tiger Woods late last year and won in a non-sanctioned event. I like players that know links golf, so that favors players from that part of the world.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 15 to 1

5) Nick Watney

Don’t blame Nick Watney if you think American golf is slipping. Watney is a two-time winner on the PGA tour this year. He has 8 top 10 finishes this year, and has had success at the British Open. He finished T7 at least year’s event. Watney is a solid all-around player that along with Steve Stricker gives America it’s best chance to win this year’s third major.

All Sports Discussion s odds of Winning: 20 to 1

6) Steve Stricker

The John Deere Classic is over and Steve Stricker won it… again.  That’s 3 wins in a row for Stricker in that tournament, and 7 PGA wins since 2009. He’s an underappreciated player, but he just might be the best American player on tour today. He’s got a couple of top 10’s at the British Open, and at 44 he seems to be getting better with age.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 22 to 1

7) Retief Goosen 

The British Open more than any other major, does have an element of luck involved. There can be strange bounces and or bad weather. That’s why an unknown like Ben Curtis or Todd Hamilton can win it, or a nearly 60 year old Tom Watson  can contend. Retief Goosen has finished outside the top 25 of British Open only once since 2000. I wouldn’t be surprised if you seem him hanging around the leaderboard all weekend.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 25 to 1

8) Phil Mickelson 

Phil Mickelson doesn’t play the British Open well. He only has one top 10 finish in his career there. This ranking is basically a testament to the Mickelson’s talent. If Ben Curtis can catch lighting in a bottle at Royal St. Georges why can’t Mickelson?

Mickelson’s recent play in majors, he doesn’t have a top 10 major finish in over a year, does make you wonder which direction his game is heading.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 30 to 1

9) Jason Day

Quick name the only golf in the world with top 2 finishes in the last two majors. It’s Jason Day. The 23 year old Australian is quietly turning himself into one of the world’s best players. He hasn’t won a lot, but has loads of talent. After 3 consecutive top 10 finishes in majors, he’s one to keep an eye on.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 35 to 1

10) Sergio Garcia

Garcia has had a rough past few years. He hasn’t won a tournament since 2008 and sounded like he didn’t even enjoy playing anymore. There are signs he’s starting break out of his slump though. In June he nearly won the BMW International Open and was a T7 just 3 shots back of Jason Day in the B Flight of the U.S Open. He has 6 top 10 British Open finishes including one (T 10) in 2003 Open Championship played at Royal St. George’s.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 40  to 1

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