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British Open 2012: Underdogs Who Will Contend for Major Championship

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British Open 2012: Underdogs Who Will Contend for Major Championship
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Big names like Tiger Woods will always get a heap of attention heading into major championships, and the 2012 British Open will be no different.

But, the reality is, there have been 15 different champions in the last 15 majors, and it was Darren Clarke who emerged last year in England.

The weather once again looks shabby leading up to the 2012 British Open, which means you may see some of the same names as last year on top of the leaderboard come Sunday, regardless of their recent play. Links golf, combined with the weather, is a completely different animal, and some top golfers simply don't know how to handle it.

Of course, given the weather could shift at any moment throughout the day, luck may have something to do with this year's winner, too.

Here's a look at some underdogs I see vying for the 2012 British Open title.

 

Padraig Harrington

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If this were 2008, Padraig Harrington would be a favorite at the British Open. 

But this is 2012, and Harrington has struggled since winning the British Open in 2007 and 2008.

Still, there are some reasons to believe Harrington will bounce back at Royal Lytham & St Annes in England.

For one, Harrington's putting game has been much sharper than in previous years. He ranks 19th on tour in putting per hole (1.57), per ESPN.

There's also the fact that Harrington has played well in majors this year. He finished eighth at the Masters and fourth at the U.S. Open. The 40-year-old seems upbeat and rested after his U.S. Open performance.

 

Dustin Johnson

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Dustin Johnson tied for second place at the 2011 British Open, backing up a 14th-place finish in 2010. He also owns four top-10 finishes this year, including a victory at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in early June.

Johnson hasn't had much success since that victory, missing the cut at the U.S. Open and finishing 44th and 33rd at the AT&T National and the Greenbrier Classic respectively, but he brings his game at the British Open.

In a field where anyone could emerge victorious these days, Johnson isn't that bad of a bet. 

 

Rickie Fowler

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Will Rickie Fowler finish in the top five of the 2012 British Open?

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Rickie Fowler is still young at 23 years of age, but he showed great focus at the British Open last year, finishing in fifth place. That came after placing 14th in his first year at the British Open in 2010.

Fowler has missed just two cuts in 16 PGA Tour events this year. He also has five top-10 finishes and he won the Wells Fargo Championship in early May. On top of that, he placed second at the Players Championship.

Fowler is the youngest of this group, but he may also have the best chance to lift the Claret Jug come Sunday.

 

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