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Golf Barometer: British Open Picks

David Ferris

Ferris covers the PGA Tour for RotoWire. He is an award-winning sports writer and a veteran fantasy columnist. He also is a scratch golfer.

The usual rules apply before a major, let's check in with some big names and make a few predictions.

Tiger Woods:
Is it possible to want something too badly? How healthy is Woods? Can he make the knee-buckling, have-to-have-it 10-footers as often as he used to? Are we done asking rhetorical questions? Finish: T9.

Ernie Els:
He knows how to negotiate this tournament as well as any current player. There certainly isn't any pressure on him, anything nagging at the Big Easy. He's a made man already with four majors, and maybe he'll make a run at a fifth when no one expects it (like last season, natch). Finish: T5

Sergio Garcia:
He hasn't met the right sports psychologist yet, that's for sure. Even if Garcia sets himself up well for the weekend, he'll throw up a 74 when you can't have it. Finish: T31

Rory McIlroy:
The underachiever of the season, even if he does have four Top-10s (without much fanfare) on the PGA Tour. But he didn't get a call in either major, and it's not like he's intent in playing his way into sharpest form. Maybe we can buy low on the kid next year. Finish: Outside Top 25.

Phil Mickelson:
The win at the Scottish Open was a step in the right direction, but come on - we're not ignoring Lefty's mediocre record at The Open Championship. You need to prove it to us first. Finish: Outside Top 25

Brandt Snedeker:
If he's finally good to go physically, he's getting close to a major breakthrough. Snedeker bagged a T3 at The Open last year, and he was quietly T6 at the Masters and T17 at the U.S. Open. He might be the best putter in the world when he's right. Finish: T17

Dustin Johnson:
His skill set doesn't logically point to this tournament, but he's been handy in his last three visits across the pond: T14, T2, T9. Maybe getting away from the U.S. lifestyle for a couple of weeks is what DJ needs to jump start his sluggish season. Finish: T13

Luke Donald:
Does it feel like the window is closed for good on this guy? We hear a slamming sound. Bring Lee Westwood with you. Finish: Missed cut

Matt Kuchar:
He made some headway at The Open last year (T9), but otherwise this is a lost week for him just about every season. Kuchar has the look of someone who wins a PGA Championship someday, not an event with which he has little familiarity. Finish: Missed cut

Jason Day:
The hand issue shouldn't be a problem this week and obviously Day was awfully close to breaking through at tricky Merion a few weeks back. He's one of the best putters around, in part because he's one of the smartest and most deliberate (read: slow) players around. His time is getting closer. A win at Muirfield would surprise no one. Finish: T9

Justin Rose:
He hasn't played a lot since the U.S. Open breakthrough, not that we discount him for that. But here's the crazy thing - Rose doesn't have a Top 10 at The British Open since the storybook T4 as an amateur in 1998. Another major win is coming for Rose someday, maybe a handful - but it's hard to pick them back to back. Finish: T23

Zach Johnson:
Does it make sense to play the week before a major, especially when there's significant travel and culture adjustment necessary? Johnson was in fine form at the John Deere (losing in a playoff) and he's been surprisingly useful across the pond, but the timing doesn't feel right for 2013. Finish: Outside Top 30

Graeme McDowell:
There's a level of variance to this pick - the three trophy grabs are wonderful, but he's also missed five cuts this year. And it's shocking to see him misfire in both majors, following his U.S. Open win in 2010 and last year's deep run in all four big ones. Something doesn't add up here. Finish: T27

Richard Sterne:
It's surprising to see him about 100-1 in a lot of shops - Sterne stands 34th in the World Rankings, fourth in the Race to Dubai and second in European Tour scoring average. Have him ready for your sleeper list. Ah, the heck with it, go big or go home. Finish: Win