I won't count on it though. ;-)
I'm going to pick a top World player, a top American player, and a couple of dark horses. My choices are seriously influenced by the fact that Royal St. Georges is considered just plain weird by most players and is thus likely to give us an unexpected result. Remember, Ben Curtis won the last time the Open was played there. It was his first major and he'd never played links golf before.
- Top World Player: I'm going with Luke Donald yet again. Hey, the guy has 3 wins this year -- more than any other player -- they're all against pretty strong fields and the last one was on a links course, for Pete's sake! It was wet (what an understatement) and the rough was much thicker than at RSG. If Donald's going to win an Open, this could be just the kind of quirky course where his short game (especially his sand play) comes up big. I think the other two favorites -- McIlroy and Westwood -- will contend but not win. While Westwood has the game for any major, I still think the PGA is a better chance for his breakthrough win, and I think McIlroy is in for a surprise at just how much pressure he's going to face this week.
- Top American Player: Again, I'm going against common logic. I like Steve Stricker this week. I know he's been so-so in Opens, but this is RSG where inexperienced players like Curtis can win. Stricker, like Donald, has multiple wins this season and a great short game. And like Donald, he seems to be recreating himself this year. This could be his time.
- Dark Horse #1: First on my list is Sergio Garcia. Yeah, Sergio's on record that he doesn't like RSG and most people view that as a bad thing. I like the fact that he doesn't like it and doesn't care who knows it! That means Sergio's expectations shouldn't be very high -- just the kind of situation he needs in order to break through.
- Dark Horse #2: My other dark horse is Jason Day, who I just believe is ready to get one of these babies. Even Rory singled Jason out as someone who's ready to win... and he should know, don't you think?