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Sergio Garcia won THE PLAYERS back in May, but is looking for his first major championship. (Redington/Getty Images)

Expert Picks: Feelin' the Serge at Royal Birkdale

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Despite the fact that Americans historically have done well at Royal Birkdale, where they've won five of the last six Open Championships played there, many of our experts are going with Spaniard Sergio Garcia to raise the Claret Jug on Sunday.

Editor's note: PGATOUR.COM has tried to make our experts work a little harder when they make their picks each week. The favorite can be anyone in the field, although Tiger Woods can only be used seven times during the year. Sleepers can't have won in 2008 or had a top-10 in their last five starts. A sleeper can't be ranked in the top 30 in the field, either.

T.J. Auclair
PGATOUR.COM Interactive Producer
Pick: Sergio Garcia

There's never been a better time than now to win a major championship. Garcia has finished in the top 10 in seven of his last eight
Open Championship starts, including the playoff loss to Padraig Harrington last year. Garcia enters this Open just a few months removed from the biggest win of his career at THE PLAYERS Championship. That confidence, along with the comfort of knowing there isn't a Tiger clawing at his heels, should be enough to carry Garcia to his first major championship.

Lauren Deason
PGATOUR.COM Editorial Coordinator
Pick: Sergio Garcia

Thought about Jim Furyk, but decided that Garcia is the way to go. Some might say he's a good pick because of last year's heartbreaking loss in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. After all, he has plenty of Open Championship demons to exorcize with his six top-10 finishes in the last seven years. But, in my opinion, he released some of that pressure -- and all that comes with wearing the "Best Player Never to Win a Major" label -- when he won THE PLAYERS earlier this season. A more relaxed Garcia with less to prove will finally earn that first major this week.

Melanie Hauser
PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
Pick: Ernie Els
Came oh so close to taking rookie Anthony Kim, who's a major in waiting.
But with the injured one crutching around his house, we think this one's
wide open and set up perfectly
for an Els comeback major. Paddy loves Birkdale, but it's hard to see him going back-to-back. Phil? Wait until Oakland Hills. Sergio? Sergi-uh-o time. Ernie? Now that Jos and Ricci are back in the fold ...
who Els?

Dave Lagarde
PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
Pick: Lee Westwood
Westwood learned a valuable lesson about patience in major championships at the U.S. Open in June. He will put the experience into practice at Royal Birkdale to get in position to claim his first.

Win McMurry
Host, PGA TOUR Today
Pick: Justin Rose

He's older and wiser now with 11 years under his belt since his spectacular tie for fourth at the Open when he was a 17-year-old amateur. The Brit is still looking for his first PGA TOUR Victory, and why not go big? You know he's pumped to be back at Birkdale.

John Maginnes
PGATOUR.COM Contributor
Pick: Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia is not the same player who has spit the bit in majors for the last seven or eight years. His victory at THE PLAYERS Championship raises not only his profile but his confidence. The clutch putts that he made down the stretch prove that he is ready to claim his first official major. The monkey may not be completely off Sergio's back, but it is certainly loosening its grip.

Scott Pianowski
The Fantasy Insider
Pick: Sergio Garcia
I don't see how you can look past him in this spot. He's got six top-10 finishes at the Open Championship over the last seven years, he cleared the confidence hurdle with the statement win at The PLAYERS, and there's no Tiger to trip him up. Sergio's going to bag his first major here, and I won't be surprised if he does so in emphatic fashion, winning by multiple shots.

Helen Ross
PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
Pick: Stewart Cink
Cink finally picked up that long-awaited fifth PGA TOUR win at the Travelers Championship last month. Could it be time for his first major? Well, Cink has seven top-10s in 15 starts this season, including two seconds and a pair of thirds. He tied for sixth last year at Carnoustie, too, so look for him to be a factor.

Dave Shedloski
PGATOUR.COM Senior Correspondent
Pick: Geoff Ogilvy
If Phil Mickelson had performed better at the Scottish Open, we'd have given him the nod, given Royal Birkdale's accommodations to Americans. But Aussies also have had their day in Southport, England, so we're looking past No. 2 Mickelson to No. 3 Ogilvy, who earlier this year won the World Golf Championship-CA Championship and was in contention at the U.S. Open.

John Swantek
PGATOUR.COM Productions Fantasy Insider
Pick: Ernie Els
No player has been more overshadowed in big events during the Tiger Woods era than Els, and no player stands to gain more from Tiger's absence. Ernie's mind should be sharp and focused, as his game is. His tie for ninth last week in Loch Lomond indicates that the Butch Harmon swing changes are settling in. Furthermore, the
Open has always been Ernie's most productive major championship, with eight career top-five finishes and a victory in 2002. Easy does it at Royal Birkdale.

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