Found July 17, 2013 on Taking Bad Schotz:
Four players. Each with the same goal: take the Claret Jug home on Sunday. These four are four different players and will use different tactics to try to achieve the same goal. Three of them are very known fan-favorites. The other is an up-and-comer that will loom among the top at many majors to come. Here they are in order of likeliness to win: 1. Tiger Woods- The world’s number-one is the heavy favorite at Muirfield this week. Even though it has been over five years since his last major victory, this course favors him. It will run firm and fast, so the driver will not be necessary off the tee. This takes his weakness out of it. Also, he plays well on quick greens like at Augusta National. He hasn’t won The Open Championship since 2006, but if the weather stays fairly nice, unlike the last time the championship was here, watch out for Woods. 2. Phil Mickelson- Lefty hasn’t ever hoisted the Claret Jug. Links golf hasn’t been his favorite style, but he’s started to adjust well. Last week at the Scottish Open proved it. He came out on top for the first time in Europe since 1993. He will also not even have a driver in the bag, like at Merion a month ago. If he plays like he did there, he could leave Scotland only a U.S. Open shy of a career Grand Slam. 3. Jordan Speith- The 19-year-old didn’t even pack for this trip four weeks ago. After three great weeks of golf, including his first career win last week, the phenom has truly arrived. He’s never played in The Open, which could be good and bad. He doesn’t have any bad experiences to remember, but he also doesn’t have any experience with how to deal with the weather and the knee-high rough. But he does have six top-ten finishes already in 2013 and three straight top-25 finishes in the last three weeks. Look for him to at least compete on the weekend and possibly become the first rookie since Ben Curtis in 2003 to win The Open Championship. 4. Rory McIlroy- This is the darkhorse of the group, even though saying McIlroy is a darkhorse is unheard of. The Northern Irishman doesn’t have a win this year, but does have four top-tens, including a second on the PGA Tour. He also hasn’t missed a cut. The only time he didn’t finish all four rounds was a withdrawal at the Honda Classic. He hasn’t played well at the Open in past years, but he did have a T3 in 2010. Like Mickelson, with a win, McIlroy will be one short of a career Grand Slam. Will he finally get off the bump in 2013 and conquer the links of Scotland? Other guys not to be forgotten are defending champion Ernie Els, Masters champion Adam Scott, who blew a late lead at The Open last year, U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, and Graham McDowell, who’s already won three times this year. The chase for the Claret Jug commences on Thursday at 7:32 local time or 1:32 on the east coast. Let the games, and hopefully the crazy, unpredictable weather, begin. -O’Shea
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