A Quick Nine: Who will win the Open Championship?

Steve Stricker
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For the third consecutive season, Steve Stricker comes into Open Championship week on the heels of a victory.
By
T.J. Auclair, Interactive Producer

Series: A Quick Nine

Published: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | 8:48 a.m.

One of the best week's of the year on the golf schedule is upon us -- Open Championship week. This week, the world's oldest major returns to Sandwich, England, at Royal St. George's. The last time the Open was played at Royal St. George's was in 2003 when Ben Curtis shocked the world.

This time around, Rory McIlroy comes in as the pre-tournament favorite after his emphatic victory in the U.S. Open last month.

A Quick Nine

This week, the third major championship of the season -- The Open Championship -- takes place at Royal St. George's.

Lee Westwood has been playing great this year, as has Luke Donald, who has soared to No. 1 in the world.

Steve Stricker won the John Deere Classic for the third consecutive year last week and made it his second win of the season.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to an Open course and they all depend on the conditions.

For this week's, 'A Quick Nine,' feature, we asked our PGA.com Facebook fans this: Who do you think will win the Open Championship?

Here are your answers:

1. Lee Westwood. The Englishman is right up there -- if not at the very top of the list -- when you discuss the best players never to have won a major. Being that he's English and this year's Open is in his home country, rest assured that the man with 11 top-10 finishes in majors, including four in the Open, would love nothing more than to shed that title this week.

Facebook fan quotes:

"I think Westwood will finally get his." -- Jeff Bardel

"Westwood all the way..." -- Stuart Morris

2. Rory McIlroy. Young Rory is one of the hottest players on the planet at the moment. However, he hasn't teed it up in a tournament since that magnificent eight-shot romp over the field at Congressional in the U.S. Open. Does that matter? Maybe, maybe not. We'll see. All eyes will be on him this week.

Facebook fan quotes:

"Rory, Rory, Rory! Did you see the pairing; best pairing I've ever seen! Rory, Rickie and Ernie, awesome!!" -- Zach Johnson (not that one)

"RORY!!" -- Jaxon Page

"Rory McIlroy." -- Kellen Nicholas Crow

3. Luke Donald. If Rory is, "one of the hottest players on the planet," it's only because Luke Donald is THE hottest player on the planet. The world's No. 1 player has three wins in 2011. When he's not winning, Donald always seems to be in the hunt. He's never won a major, but has knocked on the door a few times. He's as complete a player as he's ever been and this could be his week.

Facebook fan quotes:

"Everyone knows that Tommy Watson will shine again but the winner will be Luke Donald I'm 100 percent sure." -- Chris Tussing

"Luke Donald." -- Roger Van Deroef

"Go ahead and carve Donald's name on the trophy." -- Jason Moore

4. Padraig Harrington. We haven't heard 'old Paddy's name much in the last couple of years. But if there's any player who can turn it on out of the blue, it's the man who has three major titles, including consecutive victories in the 2007-08 Open Championship.

Facebook fan quote:

"I think Padraig Harrington is due to surprise all." -- Bill Kern

5. Phil Mickelson. In 17 Open Championship starts, believe it or not, Lefty has just one top-10 finish. That was a third-place finish in 2004. He does have one win in 2011, but other than that, he hasn't shown great form. Is this really the week he's going to turn it around?

Facebook fan quotes:

"Phil Mickelson." -- Rich Smith

"Mickelson." -- Ryan Grontkowski

6. K.J. Choi. Do not sleep on K.J. Choi. The Players Champion has six top-10 finishes in 2011 and seems to play his best when conditions are most difficult.

Facebook fan quote:

"I'm rooting for K.J. Choi." -- James Boudreau

7. Nick Watney. He's No. 1 on the PGA Tour money list so far in 2011, thanks to eight top-10 finishes, including two wins. There's no denying that Watney is one of the best young players in the game right now. Is he ready to win a major? Well, he won his last start before this week -- AT&T National -- and tied for seventh in the 2010 Open. I'd say he's got a shot.

Facebook fan quotes:

"Watney! GO DOGS GO!" -- John Pricklepants Maldonado

"Watney." -- Brent Cutts

8. Graeme McDowell. In 2010, it was G-Mac-mania. The man was unstoppable. A U.S. Open win at Pebble Beach... Holing the winning putt for Europe in the Ryder Cup. Since then, McDowell has been struggling to find some form.

Facebook fan quote:

"G-Mac." -- Frankie Pearson

"G-Mac!" -- Steve O. Campbell

9. Steve Stricker. At No. 5, Stricker is the highest-ranked American in the world rankings. Last week, he did what he's done each of the previous two seasons -- won the week before the Open. Even with as well as he's playing, you'd have to think at age 44, Stricker's chances of winning a major are beginning to run out. Who wouldn't love to see this guy hoist the Claret Jug come Sunday?

Facebook fan quotes:

"Stricker." -- Alex Russ

"I'm pulling for Stricker... what he did this weekend at TPC Deere Run was awesome!" -- Vanessa Proehl

"Stricker's hot right now. I like his chances." -- Tony Jandora 


 


Comments

mjgionta

I am going for the rookies first Manassero, then Goosen then Schwartzel. I like to go for the underdogs...

brian.g.johnston

Westwood Donald GMac or Gracia ?