British Open Predictions 2012: Which Players Will Shine at Royal Lytham?

Luis BatlleContributor IJuly 17, 2012

British Open Predictions 2012: Which Players Will Shine at Royal Lytham?

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    Have no fear, golf fans, the enticing spectacle that is the Open Championship is now upon us.

    Both Tiger Woods and Darren Clarke are easily two of the top talents to watch at the Open and will prove just that in this year's tournament. 

    Whether it's Clarke proving he can take the tournament again or Woods surging to the top of the sport at just the right time, both are sure-fire contenders at Royal Lytham.  

    Clarke's 2011 title at the Open featured top-notch golf in all four rounds and is capable of doing just the same this season. Meanwhile, Woods has won two of his last four tournaments and will look to continue his winning ways.

    These are Woods, Clarke and the five players set to take the tournament by storm.

    Note: All odds listed are based on those listed on VegasInsider.com.

Lee Westwood

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    Odds: 15/1

    Last Three 2012 PGA Tournament Results:

    Wells Fargo Championship: (-11)—5th place

    The Players Championship: (+4) —61st place

    U.S. Open: (+5)—10th place

    The hype may be surrounding Woods and Mickelson as it usually is, but the field needs to pay special attention to this talent.

    In spite of some major struggles at the Players Championship, Lee Westwood is sure to be a fierce competitor at this 2012 Open.

    This is a talent with five top-10 finishes in eight events this season. Yet the most telling statistic of them all is that he had top-10 finishes at both the U.S. Open and Masters this season.

    Westwood is a guy that shows up for majors and has shown he knows how to turn his game up at just the right time.

Phil Mickelson

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    Odds: 40/1

    Last Three 2012 PGA Tournament Results:

    The Memorial Tournament: Withdrawn

    U.S. Open: (+16)—65th place

    The Greenbrier Classic: 142—Missed Cut

    There's no question about it here. Something has got to give when it comes to Phil Mickelson.

    Mickelson is not only a top-five talent in the sport but also a force at the majors. Though his game was atrocious at the U.S. Open, Mickelson was able to finish third at the Masters this season.

    He might not be No. 1 in the sport, but he has to be considered a favorite at the Open. This is a guy who finished second at this same tournament last season. 

    Mickelson can get it going when he needs to and will do just that at this year's Open.

Thomas Bjorn

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    Odds: 80/1

    Last Three 2012 PGA Tournament Results:

    Shell Houston Open: (-2)—51st place

    The Masters Tournament: (+4)—37th place

    U.S. Open: 149—Missed Cut

    There is no doubt that Thomas Bjorn has struggled as of late, but these results are deceiving to say the least.

    Despite his PGA struggles, Bjorn has been especially dominant in the European tournaments he has competed in. He has top-10 finishes in two of the three he has participated in and has a second-place finish at the Celtic Manor Resort. 

    This year has not been a year to remember by any means for this special talent—that is a given. Yet it will be Bjorn coming up with a strong finish at this year's tournament.

    Taking his success in the European tournaments into account, Bjorn should be feared come Thursday.

Darren Clarke

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    Odds: 150/1

    Last Three 2012 PGA Tournament Results:

    The Masters Tournament: 154—Missed Cut

    Shell Houston Open: 143—Missed Cut

    World Golf Championships, Cadillac Championship: (-3)—43rd place

    Darren Clarke? Really?

    Yes, Clarke will absolutely be a contender at this year's British Open in spite of his lackluster play this season.  Last year's champion at the Open will look to defend his trophy in 2012 with full force.

    He has made two cuts in five 2012 PGA tournaments and is posting an average score of 73 per round.Yet when it's all said and done and the pressure is on, his championship experience will kick into fifth gear.

    His five-under performance was impressive to say the least, and he will bring that type of talent to the table in this year's Open as well.

Tiger Woods

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    Odds: 4/1

    Last Three 2012 PGA Tournament Results:

    U.S. Open: (+7)—21st place

    AT&T National: (-8)—1st place

    The Greenbrier Classic: 140—Missed Cut

    People may not want to believe it, but Tiger Woods is back and rocking the sport once again.

    Woods has won two of his last four tournaments on tour after winning the Memorial and AT&T National tournaments. This season, Woods has four top-10 finishes in 12 events and is currently No. 1 on the money list at just over $ 4.2 million.

    Undoubtedly the best player in golf, this talent should take the top spot at Royal Lytham. There are those who question Wood's ability, but the numbers don't lie. He is back to his old form and will prove just the same at the British Open.

    Make no mistake about it.

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