The 137th Open Championship from Royal Birkdale

Michael HicksSenior Analyst IJuly 16, 2008

Yes even without Tiger they will still play the Open Championship this week.

Woods is not bigger than any major but it does not feel the same around Royal Birkdale with him out.

Here is a preview of the 137th Open Championship.


The Course: Royal Birkdale in Southport, England. Royal Birkdale has hosted eight Open Championships, the last coming in 1998. The course has also hosted the Ryder Cup, the Walker Cup, and the Curtis Cup. The course is unique in that no two holes face in the same direction giving obvious problems on the notoriously windy days prevalent to any links.

Yardage/Par: 7,173 yards; par 70

Defending champion: Padraig Harrington:

The Favorites: Royal Birkdale will place a premium on accuracy and on ball striking. A good drive and smart iron play will be the key.

Justin Rose: This is where it all started for Rose in the 1998 Open Championship. He finished fourth then but this year he is playing good enough to take home the Jug.

Lee Westwood: He would be the first Englishman to win the Open since Nick Faldo in 1992. He has been very close he just missed the playoff in the U.S. Open last month.

Sergio Garcia: He is so good with his irons that this course sets up perfect for him to shoot low scores.

Phil Mickelson: Lefty can make birdies he just has to avoid the double-bogeys he always seems to make. With out Tiger Phil should be more comfortable on the weekend.

Geoff Ogilvy: Ogilvy is playing well coming off a top ten at the U.S. Open. The Open would be a great place to get his first major win.

My Pick: Sergio Garcia. Garcia is still searching for that elusive first major championship victory. He as always been close, especially in the British Open. One of the game's top players from tee to green, his putter as been his problem. He seems to have fixed it during the European Open he only needed 21 putts during his final-round 66, describing it as "the best putting round I've ever had." He won the players in Tigers absence and thanked him for not showing up, expect him to thank Woods one more time this time raising the Claret Jug.