advertisement

Roundtable: U.S. chances

If an American is to win at Royal St. George's, who will it be? A wily veteran? A fast-rising young gun? The PGATOUR.COM crew chews over the possibilities and gives us their educated guesses on who might claim the Claret Jug.

kuchar-040711-480x288

There's no consensus among our roundtable participants, but more than one of our experts like Matt Kuchar's chances. (Getty Images)

Not since Americans first started winning majors in 2011 has the U.S. gone six consecutive majors without a win. As we come to Royal St. George's, though, the drought is at five -- and counting. So if an American is to end that drought, who will it be? A few PGATOUR.COM staffers and correspondents weigh on with their predictions.

STAN AWTREY: Matt Kuchar jumped across the pond to play in the Scottish Open, so he won't have any issues with jet lag. Kuchar continues to amaze with his consistently superior play. In his last four events on the PGA TOUR, he's finished no worse than a tie for 16th. Kuchar's dependable game (12 top-25s in 15 starts with no missed cuts) should be a good fit for Royal St. George’s, where par is typically a good score. Kuchar tied for 27th a year ago at St. Andrews, making the cut after missing his first three attempts as a professional.

CRAIG DOLCH:  When I go to a major championship, I always get intrigued by possible storylines, because there’s just too many times when things happen almost ordained, whether it was Ben Crenshaw winning his second Masters just days after he buried his dear friend and teacher, Harvey Penick, or Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning the Daytona 500 a year after his father’s death. That said, my best story line would be for Hunter Mahan to return to Britain and leave a champion. We all remember how Mahan was involved in the crucial moment in the Ryder Cup, and he no doubt has become a better player by going through that tough experience. How neat would it be for Mahan to leave with the Claret Jug?

MELANIE HAUSER: Davis Love III. Thought I would go with Nick Watney, right? Came thisclose. He's a great choice -- the best of the young guns -- and my second one. But Love is playing some terrific golf and -- when he's playing well -- has a pretty good Open Championship record. He tied for fourth at Royal St. George's in 2003 and his Open history will serve him well on this, the quirkiest of the courses in the rota. Magic does happen with older players in this championship.

MIKE McALLISTER: The last two Americans to win the Open Championship at Royal St. George's are Bill Rogers (1981) and Ben Curtis (2003). Both were unexpected wins. Should that trend continue, then we might want to look at another under-the-radar American, such as ... Jeff Overton. Although he's never won a PGA TOUR event, Overton has knocked on the door a few times and recently posted his best finish of the year, a tie for third at the AT&T National. Even more telling -- in the last two Opens, he finished tied for 13th (in 2009) and tied for 11th (in 2010). His performance at last year's Ryder Cup shows he can get fired up playing overseas and doesn't get intimidated. Yes, Overton's a long shot -- but that might just make him the perfect American fit.

HELEN ROSS: OK. I will go with the obvious. Nick Watney comes to Royal St. George's confident and playing extremely well after making the AT&T National his second win of the season two weeks ago. He certainly doesn't fit the Ben-Curtis-under-the-radar theme on the links at Sandwich. But given the recent dearth of American major champions, I've got to go with one of our top guns. Watney tied for seventh at St. Andrews last year and he learned a lot about himself -- and how to handle final round pressure -- a year ago at Whistling Straits. Don't look for another meltdown if Watney gets the chance on Sunday at St. George's.

BRIAN WACKER: Anyone have a dart and a board I can borrow? Really, when it comes to Americans winning majors right now it's anyone's guess. I don't think he'll win, but if I had some quid to put down on low American I'd go with Matt Kuchar. He doesn't exactly have a good Open record -- five missed cuts and a tie for 27th (last year) -- but I like his flat backswing, and he showed a little bit of an ability to play the ball along the ground with that shot he hit on the final hole of last year's Barclays. Plus he's played well this year with eight top-10s.