The Rose is smelling sweet, Westwood steps aside for a bit and the Tiger is growling in the media tent but not on the course. There's a lot to talk about as we head into the teeth of the summer schedule.
Justin Rose: Make it two wins in three starts for the post-hype sleeper made good, and as we all know he should have won in Connecticut as well. He has the game off the tee to compete in any event, he has the game on the greens and he's finally got the nerve to handle a final round. This breakthrough was worth the wait.
Miguel Angel Jimenez: Don't forget The Mechanic when you're assembling your British Open sleeper list. Jimenez bagged a win at the French Open in the playoff, and I don't care what the calendar says, you're only as young as you feel (Jimenez is actually 46). Jimenez is eyeing a Ryder Cup slot and wants to make this a strong statement year as he winds down his career.
Jeff Overton: He hits it all over creation and that can be an issue at times, but the rest of the toolbox is full: Overton is 20th in driving distance, 37th in GIR, ninth in putting, a profile that will work anywhere. He's grabbed five major checks since the breakthrough in late April at New Orleans and should be a Top-35 player the rest of the season.
Ricky Barnes: He just keeps rolling merrily along, cashing five solid checks in his last five events (T16, T5, T27, T3, T7). Some injuries on Tour have opened up a British Open spot for Barnes, and he's got the confidence and the fortitude to throw a run at us. Barnes has always looked like he should be a star on this circuit; now he finally believes it himself.
Lee Westwood: He's battling a leg injury, and it's possible we won't see him at St. Andrews. That's a downright shame, as he'd surely be one of the top choices.
David Toms: We knew all along that his shoulder wasn't right and the other soft spike has dropped; Toms is officially out of the British Open. While the gutsy Toms was able to cash in six of his last eight events, he has just one six-digit check all season and hasn't been close to winning (nothing in the Top 10).
Dustin Johnson: This is just a mild downgrade - we still love Johnson's overall pedigree and we figure on him being a major contender for the next 10-15 years. But the crash landing at the U.S. Open fed into his trunk slam at AT&T National, and his limited experience at the British Open makes him a potentially overrated commodity when the third major of the year kicks off next week.
Tiger Woods: Four more rounds in the 70s en route to a T46 check at the AT&T National. Give us a page when he starts dominating again. His swing, his mind and his karma are not in place to make him a legitimate British Open favorite. That's not to say he couldn't win, but those Tiger-vs-the-field days won't be coming back in 2010, if ever.