British Open 2012: Assessing Top Contenders' Weekday Performances

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2012

British Open 2012: Assessing Top Contenders' Weekday Performances

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    Heading into a major championship, pundits become obsessed over who the odds-on favorite is to win the tournament.

    The argue and assess whether that person fits the golf course and whether their recent play befits favorite status.

    Once upon a time, that answer was Tiger Woods and the resounding answer was "yes."  But with Woods' major drought at four years, the gap has closed considerably.

    With a bunch of guys lumped together at this week's 141st Open Championship, how have the favorites done so far this week? Follow along as we update you on the scores of the oddsmakers' five pre-tournament favorites.

Padraig Harrington

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    Pre-Tournament Odds:  16 to 1

    Score to Par After Two Rounds:  +2 (tied for 51st place)

    Harrington's wholly unspectacular weekday scores of even-par 70 in the first round and two-over-par 72 in the second round make a third Open Championship unlikely as we head into the weekend.

    Harrington has been struggling with a new swing throughout this PGA Tour season and it's showed with inconsistent play so far. After looking great in the front nine Friday and posting a two-under 34, Harrington looked lost for the rest of the day and shot a ghastly 40 on the back.  

    At 40 years old, Padraig is a little too old to be this wildly inconsistent.  

Rory McIlroy

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    Pre-Tournament Odds:  16 to 1

    Score to Par After Two Rounds:  +2 (tied for 51st place)

    After a promising three-under 67 in the first round Thursday, McIlroy fell off a cliff in the Open Championship's second round. The 23-year-old North Irishman shot a five-over 75 as over-aggression marred his round Friday.

    McIlroy now sits 12 shots behind leader Brandt Snedeker, so any chance of Rory winning rest on him pulling off something spectacular on moving day.

    While I wouldn't count on it, we've seen crazier things from the best young golfer in the world.  

Luke Donald

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    Pre-Tournament Odds:  14 to 1

    Score to Par After Two Rounds:  -2 (tied for 11th place)

    Donald is not only the world's No. 1 golfer, but he may damned well be the nicest after allowing caddy John McLaren to head home for the birth of his first child before Friday's second round.

    Donald was karmically awarded for his good deed by shooting a two-under 68 and placing him as England's best hope to take home the Open Championship. Regardless, Donald will have to compartmentalize his home-country pressure and concentrate on staying steady as he tries to capture a first major championship.  

Lee Westwood

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    Pre-Tournament Odds:  14 to 1

    Score to Par After Two Rounds:  +3 (tied for 68th place)

    With an uneventful even-par score of 70, Westwood made the weekend's final two rounds by the skin of his teeth Friday.  

    Westwood's struggles off the tee caused the usually consistent golfer to shoot a three-over 73 in the tournament's first round, likely costing the world's No. 4 golfer a shot at the title.

    This comes a disappointment for most overseas, as the Englishman is looked at as a fan favorite and has garnered quite a gallery at Royal Lytham.  

Tiger Woods

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    Pre-Tournament Odds:  7.5 to 1

    Score to Par After Two Rounds:  -6 (third place)

    With consecutive three-under scores of 67, Woods is once again in place to make his patented Tiger Charge on moving day.  

    Woods is brilliantly accurate this week, hitting a tournament-leading 92.9 percent of his fairways. But his most spectacular tournament moment came off an errant approach on final hole Friday. Sitting in a nice lie in a green side bunker, Woods hit a beautiful pitch and gave the patented fist pump at the approach holed out on the left side of the cup.  

    If Tiger can avoid the same pitfalls that befell his U.S. Open performance, he could capture his first Open Championship in six years.