Woods, Garcia highlight Open staff predictions

Sergio Garcia is among the favorites for the British Open.

Sergio Garcia is among the favorites for the British Open.

Play our Golfweek Major Challenge and win big prizes, including a Big Green Egg, Oakley gear and a stay-and-play package from Sandestin!

• • •

Tiger Woods is the oddsmakers' favorite. Phil Mickelson is likely now the popular favorite. And then you have three-time 2013 winner Graeme McDowell arguably playing the best golf of his life.

That makes for an interesting pool of players to choose from as our staff makes its Open Championship predictions, with Mickelson getting some late-entry love, while Woods is also on the radar.

Without further adieu, here is a look at our picks:

• • •

Jeff Babineau, Editor

Winner: Matt Kuchar.

The Smiling Assassin takes the next step, following other top 30somethings such as Adam Scott and Justin Rose in jumping into the first-time major winners circle. When the winds howl at Muirfield, the championship will be decided by solid ballstriking, and Kuchar is one of the best.

Sleeper: Alex Noren.

Missed the cut in his last two Euro Tour starts (including the Scottish Open), but he's played very solidly this season, racking up five top 10s. Links golf is different, and the Open Championship always delivers new names to the American golf audience. By Monday, here's guessing folks could be a little more familiar with Alex Noren.

Low amateur: Garrick Porteous.

The young Englishman has had a hot summer, capturing the British Amateur on top of winning a Scottish Stroke Play title. Has now has his ticket to tee it up in Augusta next April, and his big-stage prep starts this week.

• • •

Jim McCabe, Senior Writer

Winner: Sergio Garcia.

Adam Scott in the Masters, Justin Rose in the U.S. Open, the Spaniard in the Open Championship. A big year for those marquee names born in 1980. Garcia? Crazy? Maybe, but he's been top 10 in seven of his last 12 Open Championships and here's a guess that eventually his composure will remain intact and allow his ball-striking skills to shine through.

Sleeper: Graeme McDowell.

If you're going to toss one of the world's best big-time players down at No. 59 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, why not accept the gift?

Low amateur: Ben Stow.

The route from England to the University of Kentucky to a berth in the '13 Open has featured steady progress. That could continue this week.

• • •

Jeff Rude, Senior Writer

Winner: Tiger Woods.

Way overdue to win his 15th major, and Muirfield is where Hall of Famers get it done time after time. And it seems he has had ample time to heal a strained elbow. Now he just needs to chip and putt.

Sleeper: Graeme McDowell.

Yeah, yeah, I know. How can he be a sleeper? Well, he might be No. 6 in the OWGR, but he's No. 59 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings because, well, he has missed too many cuts. Here, the glass is half full. He also has won three of his last eight starts, including the French Open on July 7.

Low amateur: Rhys Pugh.

Sounds like a British Open name from yesteryear. Someone named Rhys should do well at Muirfield. Besides, the Welshman who went 3-0 in the last Walker Cup won the Welsh Open recently.

• • •

Adam Schupak, Senior Writer

Winner: Lee Westwood.

I was all set to go with Tiger Woods, who I haven't picked yet this year at a major, until I watched too much Wimbledon. Lee Westwood reminds me a lot of Wimbledon champ Andy Murray, who for way too long couldn't win the big one. The great Ivan Lendl whipped Murray into a major winner. I hear former British Open champ Ian Baker-Finch has been helping Westwood with his short game. Murray, a Scot, won in England, so maybe Westwood, a Brit, will win in Scotland.

Sleeper: Graeme McDowell.

Personally, I'd classify G-Mac among the favorites, but technically he is outside the top 50 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings so why not? He won two weeks ago at The French Open. He plays well at tough courses. He played in the final group in the British last year. I like his chances. Matteo Manassero is No. 44 in the Sags, but he's my other sleeper pick to be in the thick of it.

Low amateur: Garrick Porteous.

Mostly, I just want to hear Peter Alliss pronounce his last name. But the Englishman, who won the British Amateur, and competed at the University of Tennessee has also captured the 2013 Scottish Stroke Play title and finished second in the Welsh Stroke Play championship. Kids got some game.

• • •

Alistair Tait, Senior Writer

Winner: Ian Poulter.

Given that I hate making predictions, and given that very few people would have selected Darren Clarke and Ernie Els to win the last two Opens, I’m tempted to go for another 40 plus golfer seemingly with no chance. However, I’ll stick with the brief. I’m going for Ian Poulter to win. I know he hasn’t had the best of seasons, but he loves the big stage and will love Muirfield.

Sleeper: Branden Grace.

South Africa’s Branden Grace arrives at Muirfield fresh from just missing out on winning the Scottish Open. The strong South African won four times on the European Tour last year and has the type of low ball flight needed to tame the Muirfield links.

Low amateur: Garrick Porteous

England’s Garrick Porteous is almost a local boy, given that he lives just over the border in England. He’s fresh from winning the British Amateur Championship on a links and has the best chance of taking low amateur honors.

• • •

Lance Ringler, Senior Writer

Favorite: Phil Mickelson

Sure, it's rare to see players win in consecutive weeks, but something about Mickelson winning last week may ignite him more than other players.

Sleeper: Graeme McDowell

Major winner who has won three of his last seven starts. The other four starts, he has missed the cut.

Amateur: Matthew Fitzpatrick

Not a strong amateur field, leaves me taking the junior golfer that has drawn comparisons to Luke Donald.

• • •

Brentley Romine, Asst. Editor, Golfweek.com

Winner: Brandt Snedeker.

Let the Claret Jug slip away last year. Now healthy and with a couple good finishes under his belt heading into Muirfield, expect Sneds to give the 32-year-olds a third major in as many tries in 2013.

Sleeper: Graeme McDowell.

Disappointed at the U.S. Open at Merion, where many picked him to win. G-Mac will bounce back and improve on his fifth-place finish a year ago at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

Low amateur: Matthew Fitzpatrick.

A great balance of conservative and aggressive, not incredibly long but incredibly smart, think of Fitzpatrick as a miniature Luke Donald, and not just because he's signed to play at Northwestern in the fall.

• • •

Nick Masuda, Director, Digital Content, Innovation

Winner: Tiger Woods.

This is the first major in awhile where Woods might be flying a bit under the radar, mostly because of that injured elbow. He did the smart thing by taking a few weeks off -- skipping his own event in the process -- and says he is feeling healthy. This is another course where he might not need to use driver, instead using 3- or 5-wood and keeping it out of the long stuff. I've picked him in all three majors, but this feels right.

Sleeper: Brooks Koepka.

Yes, I am tempted to pick Graeme McDowell. And maybe I should. But Koepka has earned this pick. He went to the Challenge Tour, won three times and picked up a Euro Tour card in 2013. Then he finished T-12 in the Scottish Open, his first event as a full-time member. The Florida State product has learned to play in the elements, but also is wicked long. A true sleeper here, but this could be a major coming-out party for the Florida native.

Low amateur: Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Already calling the kid the next Luke Donald up at Northwestern. Those are some big shoes to fill and its a bit premature, but the kid flashed incredible signs of game at the Junior Invitational in April and is a steady personality, which will be good for the trials and tribulations of a links course.

• • •

Open Championship field according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings

  • 1. Tiger Woods
  • 3. Adam Scott
  • 4. Sergio Garcia
  • 5. Matt Kuchar
  • 6. Jason Day
  • 7. Luke Donald
  • 8. Billy Horschel
  • 9. Rory McIlroy
  • 10. Charl Schwartzel
  • 11. Justin Rose
  • 12. Jimmy Walker
  • 13. Bubba Watson
  • 14. Phil Mickelson
  • 15. Lee Westwood
  • 16. Brandt Snedeker
  • 17. Jim Furyk
  • 18. Dustin Johnson
  • 19. Louis Oosthuizen
  • 20. Bill Haas
  • 22. Jason Dufner
  • 23. Keegan Bradley
  • 24. Peter Hanson
  • 25. Ian Poulter
  • 26. Graham DeLaet
  • 27. Webb Simpson
  • 29. Henrik Stenson
  • 30. Bo Van Pelt
  • 31. Robert Garrigus
  • 32. Carl Pettersson
  • 32. Michael Thompson
  • 33. Jordan Spieth
  • 34. Harris English
  • 35. Nick Watney
  • 36. Rickie Fowler
  • 37. Josh Teater
  • 39. Vijay Singh
  • 40. K.J. Choi
  • 41. Hideki Matsuyama
  • 42. Freddie Jacobson
  • 43. Bernd Wiesberger
  • 44. Matteo Manassero
  • 46. Russell Henley
  • 47. Ernie Els
  • 48. Zach Johnson
  • 49. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
  • 52. Hunter Mahan
  • 54. George Coetzee
  • 55. John Senden
  • 56. Thomas Bjorn
  • 57. Martin Kaymer
  • 58. Kevin Streelman
  • 59. Graeme McDowell
  • 61. Ryan Moore
  • 62. Angel Cabrera
  • 63. Jamie Donaldson
  • 64. Richard Sterne
  • 66. Nicolas Colsaerts
  • 68. Scott Piercy
  • 69. Paul Lawrie
  • 70. Camilo Villegas
  • 71. Justin Leonard
  • 71. Miguel Angel Jimenez
  • 74. Alexander Noren
  • 75. Thongchai Jaidee
  • 77. Francesco Molinari
  • 79. Danny Willett
  • 80. John Huh
  • 82. Hyung-Sung Kim
  • 87. Padraig Harrington
  • 88. Martin Laird
  • 89. Jonas Blixt
  • 91. Stewart Cink
  • 94. Thorbjorn Olesen
  • 95. Gregory Bourdy
  • 97. Tim Clark
  • 101. Branden Grace
  • 104. Stephen Gallacher
  • 106. Scott Stallings
  • 108. Boo Weekley
  • 112. Luke Guthrie
  • 118. Brett Rumford
  • 120. Marcel Siem
  • 121. Geoff Ogilvy
  • 135. Brian Davis
  • 137. Kiradech Aphibarnrat
  • 141. Richie Ramsay
  • 143. David Lynn
  • 147. Shingo Katayama
  • 148. Shane Lowry
  • 151. Ken Duke
  • 154. Chris Wood
  • 160. Bud Cauley
  • 161. Marc Warren
  • 169. Marcus Fraser
  • 174. Shiv Kapur
  • 175. Scott Brown
  • 176. Rafael Cabrera-Bello
  • 190. K.T. Kim
  • 196. Y.E. Yang
  • 198. Thomas Aiken
  • 204. Toru Taniguchi
  • 213. Mikko Ilonen
  • 214. Hiroyuki Fujita
  • 220. Brooks Koepka
  • 225. D.A. Points
  • 227. Kyle Stanley
  • 228. Ben Curtis
  • 233. Thaworn Wiratchant
  • 238. Brendan Jones
  • 246. Steven Tiley
  • 254. Robert Karlsson
  • 264. Lucas Glover
  • 268. Satoshi Kodaira
  • 299. Scott Jamieson
  • 308. Stephen Dartnall
  • 337. Oliver Fisher
  • 348. Tyrrell Hatton
  • 374. Johnson Wagner
  • 375. Ashun Wu
  • 408. Daisuke Maruyama
  • 436. Darren Clarke
  • 487. Alvaro Quiros
  • 502. Gareth Maybin
  • 510. Makoto Inoue
  • 554. Justin Harding
  • 588. Todd Hamilton
  • 635. Mark Brown
  • 641. Kenichi Kuboya
  • 674. Estanislao Goya
  • 704. Steven Jeffress
  • 741. Niclas Fasth
  • 756. Richard McEvoy
  • 788. Lloyd Saltman
  • 811. Oscar Floren
  • 838. George Murray
  • 876. David Duval
  • 904. Darryn Lloyd
  • N/R. a-Ben Stow
  • N/R. a-Garrick Porteous
  • N/R. a-Grant Forrest
  • N/R. a-Jimmy Mullen
  • N/R. a-Matthew Fitzpatrick
  • N/R. a-Rhys Pugh
  • N/R. a-Steven Fox
  • N/R. Eduardo De La Silva
  • N/R. Fred Couples
  • N/R. Gareth Wright
  • N/R. John Wade
  • N/R. Mark Calcavecchia
  • N/R. Mark O'Meara
  • N/R. Nick Faldo
  • N/R. Peter Senior
  • N/R. Sandy Lyle
  • N/R. Tom Lehman
  • N/R. Tom Watson
Welcome to Golfweek.com's comments section.
Please review the posting guidlines here: Golfweek.com Community Guidelines.
All accounts must be verified using Disqus email verification

  • PGA
  • CHMP
  • WEB
[[PGAtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next
[[CHMPtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next
[[NWIDtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next