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Ernie Els is one of the favorites heading into the 137th Open Championship. (Franklin/Getty Images)

Field Study: The Open Championship

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Need to study up on every player in the field this week at the Open Championship? Don't worry, PGATOUR.COM's Helen Ross has you covered.

Sure, everyone is missing Tiger Woods. But what about the field that is here? In fact, what about every player in the field? Helen Ross evaluates every player (in order of their Official World Golf Ranking) who will tee off in Thursday's first round.

RankNameStartsBest Finish
2Phil Mickelson153rd (2004)
His major championship form this year is nothing to inspire and he's only had one top-10 at the Open
3Geoff Ogilvy5T5 (2005)
He has the patience to play tough courses well and confidence to boot after six top-10s in 2008, including three straight
4Adam Scott8T8 (2006)
His playoff win in Dallas was Scott's sixth on the PGA TOUR but a balky wrist makes the Aussie a question mark
5Ernie Els17Win (2002)
It's been feast or famine for Els this year but the big South African makes it look effortless when he's on and Opens are his forte
6Stewart Cink10T6 (2007)
Cink is rested after a three-week break and five top-three finishes, including a win in Hartford in his last start, should do wonders for his confidence
7Sergio Garcia112nd (2007)
Few have more imagination and creativity than THE PLAYERS champion which is just what an Open demands so look for him on Sunday
8Steve Stricker8T8 (2007)
He showed signs of regaining his form at Congressional two weeks ago but Royal Birkdale presents a whole different set of challenges
9Justin Rose6T4 (1998)
The young Englishman was 17 when he made his Open debut here at Birkdale and it would be a fitting spot for his first major championship
10Vijay Singh19T2 (2003)
He's been close this year with five top-fives, including two seconds, and his chances to lock up a career Grand Slam are getting limited
11K.j. Choi8T8 (2007)
That win in Hawaii back in January seems a long time ago as Choi hasn't finished higher than 41st in his last six starts
12Jim Furyk124th (1997, 1998 and 2006)
The straight-shooter Furyk has regained a comfort zone with links golf after five missed cuts and he could contend
13Anthony Kim0N/A
No one is hotter than this two-time winner and that confidence should offset any lack of Open Championship experience
14Padraig Harrington11Win (2007)
He injured his neck two weeks ago and his wrist on Saturday, so the affable Irishman is a question mark for his title defense
15Trevor Immelman5T15 (2005)
The reigning Masters champ nearly made it two wins in 2008 when he lost a playoff in Memphis but he's struggled since
17Henrik Stenson4T34 (2005)
The elegant Swede started fast with top-10s in his first five European Tour starts, including third in Tucson, but has cooled off since
18Rory Sabbatini6T26 (2006)
The brash South African hasn't had a top-10 since he tied for third at the Buick Invitational
19Lee Westwood134th (2004)
Westwood, who has three top-sixes already this year, came within a shot of the U.S. Open playoff. This would be a popular win
20Miguel Angel Jimenez15T3 (2001)
The ageless Spaniard has two wins this year - can he follow Rafael Nadal and the Spanish national soccer team as champions?
22Aaron Baddeley4MC
He's never broken 70 at an Open Championship venue and he hasn't cracked the top-20 on TOUR in his last five starts
23Robert Karlsson12T5 (1992)
He's had seven top-10s in his last eight European Tour starts but has nine missed cuts at the Open. You do the math.
24Andres Romero23rd (2007)
The young Argentine, who won in New Orleans earlier this year, is fearless and creative which has produced two top-10s at the Open
25Stephen Ames9T5 (1997)
This Canadian transplant has had a solid, if not spectacular, season with four top-10s but rare success across the pond
26Angel Cabrera9T4 (1999)
Joint fifth at the Accenture Match Play Championship is his best on either side of the pond so the other Argentine may be a better bet
27Justin Leonard13Win (1997)
A straight driver and a good wind player, Leonard, who won in Memphis last month, should contend
28Boo Weekley1T35 (2007)
This Southerner entertained the UK writers last year in his debut and the shotmaker in him seems suited for an Open Championship
29Graeme McDowell4T11 (2005)
The man from Portrush all but locked down a Ryder Cup spot last week with a win in Scotland. Can he take the next step?
30Robert Allenby15T10 (1997)
Four top-10s in his last six starts -
including a tie for third at Congressional - should send Allenby to the first tee with confidence
31Zach Johnson4T20 (2007)
This straight driver would seem to have a game suited to an Open but last year's tie for 20th broke a string of three missed cuts
32Martin Kaymer0N/A
Kaymer comes to Birkdale for his debut with a heavy heart after the death of his mother but he's playing well with two European Tour wins
33Woody Austin1MC (1996)
Austin hasn't played in an Open in 12 years but a strong performance could certainly impress U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Paul Azinger
34Hunter Mahan3T6 (2007)
Mahan took a while to get untracked, but he's had top-20s in his last three starts, including a tie for second in his title defense at Hartford
35Mike Weir9T8 (2007)
The diminutive Canadian has been quietly playing well this season with top-20s in each of the first two majors and a tie for second at Memorial
36Tim Clark4T23 (2005)
The young South African usually plays the tough courses well but he's only contended once this year at the Crowne Plaza Invitational
37Retief Goosen13T7 (2004)
The two-time U.S. Open champion has shown signs of life this year and six top-10s in the Open make him a possible contender
38Brandt Snedeker0N/A
He learned about major championship pressure playing in the final group on Sunday at the Masters; now he needs to learn links golf
39Stuart Appleby11T2 (2002)
He's cooled off after a hot start that included five straight top-fives and the playoff loss at Muirfield was Appleby's lone Open glory
40Soren Hansen4T8 (2002)
The Dane finished fifth at the European Open two weeks ago but he hasn't had much Open success since Muirfield
41Sean O'Hair3T14 (2006)
Top-20s in his first two Open starts show O'Hair has the game but he needs to regain the form that lifted him to the PODS Championship title
42Ian Poulter7T11 (2005)
His clothes may make more of a splash this year than the talented Englishman, who only has one top-10 on either side of the Atlantic
43Scott Verplank11T7 (2005)
The Oklahoma State product will keep it in the fairway, which is a key at Royal Birkdale
44Rod Pampling5T27 (2007, 2004)
Aussie has five top-10s this year, including two in his last six starts, but keeping it in the short grass could be problematic
45Oliver Wilson1MC (2007)
You may not know the name, but watch out for this 27-year-old Brit who is beginning to make a name for himself with four seconds in 2008
46Niclas Fasth52nd (2001)
Missed cuts in his last two starts, as well as at the U.S. Open and THE PLAYERS, don't bode well for the 36-year-old Swede
47Richard Green8T4 (2007)
The left-handed Aussie tied for third in Scotland but missed the cut at the Masters in his only other major start this year
48Paul Casey6T20 (2004)
Young Englishman hasn't played particularly well this year but two-top 10s in his last three starts show his game may be rounding into form
49Fredrik Jacobsen7T6 (1996)
The 33-year-old earned his spot with a tie for third at the AT&T National in his last start. Can he take advantage?
50Rocco Mediate8T18 (1996)
Will the summer of Rocco continue?
52Camilo Villegas0N/A
He's got length and imagination to go with top-10s in two of his last four starts, including a tie for ninth at Torrey Pines
53Jeff Quinney1MC (2001)
Quinney is playing in his first Open as a pro but he showed he could handle major pressure in finishing third at THE PLAYERS
54Pat Perez2T20 (2007)
This Arizona State product has the tools but he's often too hard on himself
55Ross Fisher1MC (2007)
The 27-year-old Englishman made a big leap up with world rankings with his win at the European Open two weeks ago
56Ryuji Imada0N/A (2005)
He's played well this year with his first TOUR win and three other top-fives but he's a novice at links golf
57J.B. Holmes1MC (2006)
That second win at the FBR Open earlier this year has been the only real highlight for the big-hitting man from Kentucky
58Anders Hansen5T57 (2007)
Open record isn't stellar and he needs to get back on track - the Dane hasn't broken 70 since that playoff loss in Munich
59Nick O'Hern5T15 (2005)
He's steady but the 36-year-old Aussie's major record isn't anything stellar and he's yet to win on either side of the pond
60Jerry Kelly8T26 (2006)
Kelly, who has two runner-up finishes this year, got in when David Toms withdrew, now can he take advantage?
61Richard Sterne2MC (2006, 2007)
He hasn't made a cut since he tied for 66th at THE PLAYERS Championship
62Bart Bryant2T23 (2005)
The veteran from Texas should be able to handle the wind and he puts the ball in the fairway
63Toru Taniguchi6T37 (2001)
The 40-year-old vet has won his last two starts on the Japan Tour but missed the cut in the first two majors of the year
64Nick Dougherty2T42 (2007)
Born in nearby Liverpool, the 26-year-old protege of Nick Faldo has missed the cut in three of his last four starts
69James Kingston2T57 (2004)
The 42-year-old vet from South Africa took second in Scotland on Sunday, shooting 67-66 on the weekend
70Brendan Jones1MC (2004)
The 33-year-old Aussie has spent most of the year on the Japan Tour where he has three top-10s
71Prayad Marksaeng1MC (2007)
The 42-year-old from Thailand has two wins on the Japan Tour this year and four top-10s in Asia
72Paul Goydos0N/A
Contend like he did at THE PLAYERS, where Goydos lost the playoff to Sergio Garcia, and this could be another major feel-good story
73Charles Howell III4T42 (2004)
Augusta's own missed the cut at the Masters, PLAYERS and U.S. Open but has shown signs of regaining form in his last two starts
76Hennie Otto2T10 (2003)
He picked up his maiden European Tour win in Italy just weeks after squandering a five-stroke 54-hole lead in Portugal
78Mark Calcavecchia21Win (1989)
The ailing Calc may have the experience but he hasn't made a cut since the Masters
81Colin Montgomerie182nd (2005)
The much-maligned Scot deserves an Open but this won't be the year. The Ryder Cup is in jeopardy, too.
82Soren Kjeldsen3T41 (2006)
Steady Dane has only missed one cut in 18 starts on the European Tour but he hasn't really contended, either
86Ben Curtis5Win (2003)
He made his first Open cut last year since that win at Royal St. George's
88Steve Webster3T41 (2005)
His tie for 10th at the BMW PGA Championship was his third top-10 of the year but he hasn't finished higher than 38th in four starts since
99Scott Strange0N/A
The 31-year-old from Perth picked up his first European Tour victory at the Celtic Manor Wales Open
105Hideto Tanihara3T5 (2006)
He picked up his seventh win on the Japan Tour earlier this year
109Simon Dyson5T34 (2005)
Five missed cuts in his last eight starts don't bode well for the 30-year-old Englishman
111John Rollins270th (2003)
The affable man from Virginia is rounding into form after struggling early to adapt his swing to a 30-pound weight loss in the offseason
117Gregory Bourdy1T53 (2007)
His lone top-10 this season just happened to be the Frenchman's second European Tour win, in Portugal
126Tom Lehman14Win (1996)
Less than a year away from his 50th birthday, the steady Lehman continues to impress with three top-10s on TOUR
131David Smail4T67 (2006)
Smail, the 38-year-old from New Zealand, has five victories on the Japan Tour but none since 2005
133Wen-Chong Liang0N/A
This will be the third straight major start for the man from China and just his second appearance on a links course
134Lucas Glover2T27 (2007)
One of his two top-10s came in his last three starts -
Glover shot 16 under at the Buick Open to finish seventh
136Pablo Larrazabal0N/A)
The promising 25-year-old from Barcelona won his first European Tour event earlier this year in France
145Richard Finch0N/A
The 31-year-old Englishman has won twice on the European Tour this year
150Matt Kuchar3MC (1998, 2002, 2007)
Hard to believe, but Kuchar played at Birkdale in 1998 when he was a 20-year-old amateur, shooting 75-75
151Gregory Havret1MC (2007)
The Frenchman's claim to fame is beating Phil Mickelson in a playoff at last year's Barclays Scottish Open
156Davis Love III21T4 (2003)
The 1997 PGA champion wanted to play so badley he entered and advanced through international qualifying in Detroit
160Johan Edfors2MC (2006, 2007)
His five top-10s this year came in his first eight starts of the European Tour season
161Michael Letzig0N/A
The PGA TOUR rookie has ties for 10th and 12th in his last three starts as he makes his major championship debut
162Alexander Noren0N/A
The Swede who played at Oklahoma State has four top-10s in his second season on the European Tour
166Phillip Archer0N/A
The accomplished snooker player and avid Manchester United fan has missed the cut in 12 of 21 starts on the European Tour this year
170Damian McGrane0N/A
He's missed the cut in six of his eight starts since winning his first European Tour event at the Volvo China Open
174Alex Cejka4T13 (2001)
He's coming off a tie for ninth at Congressional, the second top-10 in his last three TOUR starts
177Craig Parry16T4 (1999)
The man they call "Popeye" is playing most of his golf on the Japan Tour these days where he has one win and a tie for 10th this year
179Hiroshi Iwata0N/A
The 27-year-old ranks 12th on the Japan Tour with five top-10s this year
183Simon Khan0N/A
Watching Seve Ballesteros win at St. Andrews in 1984 inspired Khan to take up golf and now he's playing in his first Open
198David Frost206 (1987)
The 48-year-old South African earned his Open spot when he finished fourth at the European Open
202Jay Williamson0N/A
A tie for second at the John Deere Classic sent the TOUR veteran to the Open Championship for the first time
217Pelle Edberg1T12 (2007)
The Swede, whose family owns a resort with two golf courses, made a name at Carnoustie with his play and his headline
218Kevin Stadler1T51 (2007)
Stadler placed fourth in the HSBC Champions at the start of 2008 but only has one top-10 on the PGA TOUR this year
227Paul Lawrie15Win (1999)
The 39-year-old Scott hasn't won since 2002 but he is coming off a tie for ninth before the home crowd at Loch Lomond on Sunday
237Anthony Wall3T11 (2006)
Another consistent season on the European Tour still has produced just one top-10
238Shintaro Kai0N/A
The 27-year-old has two runner-up finishes on the Japan Tour in 2008 and will be playing in his first major championship
243Azuma Yano0N/A
A tie for second at the Mizuno Open Yomuri Classic gave Yano the chance to play in his first major championship
249Tim Petrovic2MC (2002, 2005)
The devout "Doors" fan has two top-10s this year on the PGA TOUR but has only made one cut in his last four starts
252Simon Wakefield3T48 (2006)
The Brit's best finish of 2008, solo second at the BA-CA Golf Open, has been followed by three missed cuts and a tie for 33rd
261Jeff Overton0N/A
The Indiana product contended at Congressional two weeks ago before tying for ninth
262Rich Beem6T20 (2007)
Beem already has a major under his belt, the 2002 PGA, but his results in 2008 have been missed with just one top-20
263David Howell9T42 (1998)
The talented Englishman is still fighting his way back after a spate of injuries over the last few years
323Peter Baker12T14 (1998)
While he's missed the cut in his last three European Tour starts, the 40-year-old Englishman's best Open finish came at Birkdale
334Jean-Baptiste Gonnet0N/A
Both his parents played professionally - his father, basketball and his mother, tennis
337Ewan Porter1MC (2007)
The 26-year-old from Sydney won the Moonah Classic earlier this year on the Nationwide Tour
367Angelo Que0N/A
The 29-year-old from the Phillipines won his second Asian Tour event earlier this year
370Peter Fowler11T22 (2003)
The 49-year-old Fowler only has cached five checks this year but two have been for top-10 finishes
374Ariel Canete0N/A
After failing to play the weekend in seven of his last 10 starts, don't look for this Argentine to contend
388Adam Blyth0N/A
His father, Steve, caddied for Blyth when he qualified for the Open in Singapore
412Michael Campbell13T3 (1995)
The 2005 U.S. Open champ has fallen on hard times this year, making just two cuts in 12 European Tour events
427Doug Labelle II0N/A
Comes to Birkdale to play in his first Open Championship having missed six straight cuts on the PGA TOUR
495Paul Waring1MC (2007)
Waring, a 23-year-old European Tour rookie, notched his first top-10 in his second start
500Martin Wiegele0N/A
He won the European Tour qualifying last year and has one top-10 in his rookie campaign
507Danny Chia1MC (2005)
The 35-year-old from Malaysia came to Southport a week ago to start his preparation
524Jose-Filipe Lima1MC (2007)
French by birth, he used to play as Phillipe but now he has changed his name to reflect his parents' Portuguese nationality
537Andrew Tampion0N/A
Tampion came from the same Australian golf program that produced Geoff Ogilvy, Stuart Appleby and Aaron Baddeley, among others
602Tom Gillis1WD (1999)
The well-traveled Gillis who has played golf on every continent opened the Nationwide Tour season with three finishes inside the top 13
605Craig Barlow0N/A
The former UNLV golfer has struggled this year with seven missed cuts in 14 starts
615Michio Matsumura0N/A
The 24-year-old Japan Tour rookie is playing in his first major championship
643John Daly14Win (1995)
With tendonitis in his left elbow and a cyst in his right hand don't expect Daly to contend
646Greg Norman25Win (1986, 1993)
Recently married to tennis legend Chris Evert, the 53-year-old Norman knows links golf better than almost anyone
652Scott McCarron3T18 (2002)
The 43-year-old UCLA product is still seeking his first top-10 of the season
709Darren Fichardt3MC (2000, 2002 and 2004)
The South African's European Tour record this year includes just one paycheck
710Thomas Aiken1MC (2006)
Two top-10s on the South African Tour in 2008 have not paved the way for European Tour success
714Yoshinobu Tsukada1MC (2004)
A tie for third at the Mizuno Open Yomuiri Classic earned the 38-year-old his second Open spot
721Sandy Lyle32Win (1985)
Now playing the Champions Tour, Lyle still made the cut at the Masters earlier this year and finished 45th
751Mark O'Meara23Win (1998)
The 51-year-old, who has two top-10s on the Champions Tour this year, won the last time the Open was played at Birkdale
838Douglas McGuigan2MC (2005, 2007)
The 37-year-old from Durban, South Africa hasn't finished higher than 43rd in seven European Tour starts
N/APeter Appleyard0N/A
This club pro from the Wildernesse Golf Club in Kent is a former winner of the Birkdale Goblet
N/AJon Bevan3T63 (2007)
The Weymouth club pro tied for first at the final local qualifying event for the Open
N/AGary Boyd0N/A
The up-and-coming 21-year-old already has two runner-up finishes on the European Challenge Tour
N/AJoshua Cunliffe0N/A
The 24-year-old from Johannesburg won the International Final Qualifier to make his Open debut
N/AJamie Elson0N/A
The Augusta State product qualified for the Open at Hillside Golf Club next door to Birkdale
N/ADavid Horsley0N/A
The 2007 Walker Cupper has gone on to limited success in his rookie season on the European Tour with one top-10
N/ABarry Hume1MC (2004)
The Scot, who lost his Asian Tour card in 2007, is currently playing the EuroPro Tour and hoping to pay back friends who have backed him
N/AChih Bing Lam1MC (2007)
The 31-year-old from Singapore arrived in England on Friday and played Royal Liverpool before heading over to Birkdale
N/ABrad Lamb0N/A
Lamb has found the Nationwide Tour difficult, tying for 37th in his first start and then missing his next nine cuts
N/AJonathan Lomas3T11 (1994)
The son of a chicken farmer, he overcame sciatic pain in both legs to win once on the European Tour and three times on Challenge Tour
N/AJean Van de Velde8T2 (1999)
The Frenchman's name will forever be linked to the Open with his triple-bogey collapse on the 72nd hole in Carnoustie
N/APhilip Walton12T36 (1998)
Walton, who secured the 1995 European Ryder Cup victory with a singles win over Jay Haas, is playing in his first Open in 10 years
N/ATom Watson30Win (1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983)
Watson was the most dominant links player of the modern era
N/ADavid Duval11Win (2001)
This would be a comeback story to top them all -- Duval has only shot one round in the 60s all year
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