Coming off his first missed cut in a major, he acknowledged being rusty at Winged Foot, particularly with his short game. He must be careful with his tee shots because of out-of-bounds on a number of holes. Will try to become the first player since Tom Watson (1982-83) to successfully defend his title. If his career indeed parallels Jack Nicklaus, the British is the first major Nicklaus won after his father died.
2 of 14AP
Most eyes will be on Lefty to see how he responds to his 72nd-hole collapse at the U.S. Open. Has already made one trip to Hoylake, although knowledge won't go as far as it did at Winged Foot. His record at the British Open is poor except for 2004, when he contended in all the majors. Despite his great majors record, he hasn't played as well as he did in 2004. Had two great weeks (BellSouth and Masters), and the rest has been average by his standards.
3 of 14AP
Ended his 10-month drought at Westchester, and hung around most of the week at the U.S. Open without sustaining any kind of momentum. Putting will always be hit-and-miss for the big Fijian, but it all starts off the tee. He must find a driver and stick with it. The flat, fast greens at Hoylake won't hurt his chances.
4 of 14Andrew Redington/Getty Images
A game that was peaking at the Masters but has fallen into the abyss, especially missing the cut at the U.S. Open. Has been steady at the British Open without coming seriously close to winning. Has power and relative accuracy, which should help him at Hoylake, and he recently switched putters to improve his luck. Has not won on the PGA Tour since last August at the International.
5 of 14US Presswire
He was among the favorites at Winged Foot and lived up to the pressure until missing a 5-foot par putt on the 18th hole that would have gotten him into a playoff. He has to be considered a contender at Hoylake because he's good, and he's having a strong year. But the major where he once thrived has now become his bane. Furyk reshaped his swing to handle PGA Tour courses, and lost some of the feel that helped him on the links.
6 of 14Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Not only is he the U.S. Open champion, he has become a major force in the Grand Slam events, having finished in the top 10 in three of the last four. He showed his complete game at WingedFoot -- more than adequate power, a terrific iron player and a clutch putter. Might still be overwhelmed by the turn of events at the U.S. Open, but levelheaded enough to try to join elite company -- only Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Lee Trevino have won both Opens in the same season in the last 50 years.
7 of 14Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Everyone keeps waiting for his game to find another gear after knee surgery last year, yet the Big Easy is in danger of letting another year go by as a forgotten man. Already has slipped out of the "Big Five" by not winning this year, and has been another face in the field at the first two majors. This is his best major, however, and Hoylake might be the place for him to make his return.
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He's not the best player to have never won a major, but he's the best young player without one. The Spaniard has had a poor year with his putter, and now is dealing with back issues. But he might be the best combination of power and accuracy off the tee, and perhaps being overlooked -- by record and injury -- could be what he needs to give him a chance at the Open.
9 of 14Warren Little/Getty Images
He once said it was hard to dream of winning theBritish Open when he couldn't win his club championship as an amateur. He is a late bloomer, but a very solid player. Missed last year with injury, and missed the weekend the previous four times he played. Has played consistently, but not spectacularly, at the first two majors. He should be a force on the Ryder Cup team in September, and this would be a good place for him to let Americans know who he is.
10 of 14Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Expectations will be high again, which is not a good thing for Monty. He has played his best at the majors in recent years when no one expects as much from him, such as St. Andrews last year and Winged Foot last month. As much as Mickelson threw away the U.S. Open, Montgomerie is the one who really choked by hitting a fat 7-iron from the middle of the fairway. Despite his runner-up finish last year, top 10s are rare for Monty at this major.
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As it relates to the golf community, he's about as popular as The Beatles, so he should fit in at Royal Liverpool. He probably should have won the Masters except for an atrocious final round putting, and his age doesn't seem to be a problem as long as he can walk. Rarely misses the cut in majors, and usually finds a way to contend. Still has hopes of making the Ryder Cup team, and he'll need a big week.
12 of 14David Cannon/Getty Images
Played as well as anyone Sunday at Winged Foot until the final few holes, then contended the next week at Booz Allen. Despite what the ranking says, he is generally considered the best European during the last couple of years. Fred Daly won at Hoylake in 1947 and remains the only Irishman to win the British Open. The Emerald Isle is due.
13 of 14Andrew Redington/Getty Images
An inconsistent record at the Open, much like his career. He could have won two majors, the '03 British Open at Royal St. George's and last year's PGA Championship. Plays smart, but he must be playing well. Bjorn is outside the Ryder Cup team and motivated to state his case at Hoylake. As good a candidate as any to end Europe's drought in the majors.
14 of 14AP
Cabrera is well aware of the history at Hoylake, how Roberto De Vicenzo won in 1967 the last time the British Open was played here. If he gets a chance, it wouldn't hurt to talk to his fellow Argentine about how to play this venerable links course. He has tremendous power, which has helped him at Augusta National. Now he has to hit it straight and make a few putts.
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