British Open Picks 2012: 5 Golfers You Can't Miss

Tommy Stokke@StokkeTommyCorrespondent IJuly 18, 2012

British Open Picks 2012: 5 Golfers You Can't Miss

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    Going back to 2008 when Padraig Harrington won the Open Championship and PGA Championship consecutively, its been 17 straight majors without a repeat winner.

    Is this the major that changes the trend? Will we see a Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson or Rory McIlroy raise the cup?

    Or does the streak reach 18 with a first time winner such as Lee Westwood or Rickie Fowler?

    What seems even more likely is that we're all wrong, and a name like Simon Dyson will come away the victor.

    Either way, here are five names to watch that are surely to be at the top of the leader board.

Rickie Fowler

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    Ranked No. 20 in the world, Fowler is due to break into the elite category.

    He won the Wells Fargo Championship to go along with four other top-10 finishes in 16 tournaments this year. He finished fifth in the British Open last year after appearing to have a grip on the lead.

    Fowler's three rounds of 68 in the last two Open Championships give reason to believe he's ready to break through.

    The 23-year-old experienced enough in the last two years that a run in this year's open will show the maturation in his game that has come full circle.

Jim Furyk

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    Furyk hasn't played well since his collapse in the U.S. Open, missing the cut at The Greenbrier Classic and a 34th place finish at The AT&T National.

    However, prior to those two events Furyk sandwiched fourth place finishes around a 13th place finish in his previous three tournaments.

    One of those fourth places included the U.S. Open, where he held the 54 hole lead.

    His experience and recent play gives reason to believe he can succeed in this tournament.

    With over 200 bunkers at Royal Lytham, Furyk's sand play will be crucial. Fortunately for him, he ranks 7th in sand saves on the PGA Tour.

Rory McIlroy

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    After bouncing back from a disappointing final round at the 2011 Masters with a dominating win in the U.S. Open, Rory McIlroy was virtual lock to be the next Tiger Woods. He then went on to become the World No. 1.

    Somewhere along the way, McIlroy forgot he still had to win—or at least make the cut—to live up to both accolades.

    He's missed three of the past four cuts, with a 7th place finish at the St. Jude Classic and a runner-up performance to Rickie Fowler at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    If McIlroy is to bounce back, there's no better place to do it than the British Open.

    If he doesn't, the pressure will mount for McIlroy.

Matt Kuchar

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    With three top-15 finishes in his past five tournaments, Kuchar is a model of consistency on the golf course.

    He won't cost himself with inexcusable errors. And he's ready to take the next step.

    The 13th rated player at saves, Kuchar's game fits well at Royal Lytham.

    At a course where many players will shoot their way out of contention, look for Kuchar to remain steady. If other players falter, Kuchar is a good bet to be there waiting to take advantage.

Tiger Woods

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    First and foremost, he's the greatest to ever play the game.

    He won the Memorial, bombed a major, followed by a win at the AT&T National and missing the cut at Greenbrier.

    Isn't he due to win, according to that trend?

    He's fifth in driving and ninth in greens in regulation on the PGA Tour, both major factors in this weekend's tournament.

    But most important, isn't he just fun to watch?

    When Tiger Woods is golfing, people are watching. You won't want to miss this.