Top contenders at Royal Birkdale

By Associated PressJuly 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
Open ChampionshipA look at some of the top players who could contend in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale:

  • Age: 31
  • Country: Australia.
  • World ranking: 4.
  • Majors: U.S. Open (2006).
  • Best result at a British Open: T5 at St. Andrews in 2005.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-T39, US Open-T9.
  • Worldwide victories: 6.
  • British Open highlight: Going 67-69 on the weekend at St. Andrews in 2005 to tie for fifth.
  • British Open lowlight: Making his debut in 1999 at Carnoustie with an 81.
  • Noteworthy: In the last 50 majors, he's the only winner from Australia.

  • Age: 28.
  • Country: Spain
  • World ranking: 7.
  • Majors: None.
  • Best result at a British Open: Playoff loss at Carnoustie in 2007.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-MC, US Open-T18 Worldwide victories: 17.
  • British Open highlight: Getting into a playoff with Padraig Harrington at Carnoustie.
  • British Open lowlight: Losing the playoff and whining about never getting any breaks.
  • Noteworthy: He has finished in the top 5 at the last three British Opens

  • Age: 38.
  • Country: South Africa
  • World ranking: 6.
  • Majors: US Open (1994, 1997), British Open (2002).
  • Best result at a British Open: Won.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-MC, US Open-T14.
  • Worldwide victories: 60.
  • British Open highlight: Winning at Muirfield in the only sudden-death finish ever at a British Open playoff.
  • British Open lowlight: Going head-to-head with Todd Hamilton over the final 40 holes at Royal Troon before losing in a playoff.
  • Noteworthy: Has finished runner-up to Tiger Woods seven times, more than any other player.

  • Age: 27.
  • Country: England
  • World ranking: 9.
  • Majors: None.
  • Best result at a British Open: T4 in 1998.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-T36, US Open-MC.
  • Worldwide victories: 6.
  • British Open highlight: Pitching in for birdie on the 18th hole at Royal Birkdale to tie for fourth as a 17-year-old amateur.
  • British Open lowlight: Turning pro the day after Birkdale and missing the cut in his next 21 tournaments.
  • Noteworthy: He has not had a top-10 finish at the British Open since turning pro.

  • Age: 38.
  • Country: United States.
  • World ranking: 2.
  • Majors: Masters (2004, 2006), PGA Championship (2005).
  • Best result at a British Open: 3rd at Royal Troon.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-T5, US Open-T18.
  • Worldwide victories: 35.
  • British Open highlight: Finishing one shot out of a playoff at Royal Troon in 2004, his only top 10 in the British Open.
  • British Open lowlight: An 85 in the third round at Royal Birkdale in 1998, his highest score as a professional.
  • Noteworthy: In 15 appearances at the British Open, he has finished only three tournaments under par.

  • Age: 28.
  • Country: Australia.
  • World ranking: 3.
  • Majors: None.
  • Best result at a British Open: T8 at Royal Liverpool in 2006.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-T25, US Open-T26.
  • Worldwide victories: 15.
  • British Open highlight: Making his major championship debut at St. Andrews in 2000.
  • British Open lowlight: Failing to break par on the Old Course to miss the cut.
  • Noteworthy: Has not finished in the top 10 of a major since 2006, the only player in the worlds top 10 with such a streak.

  • Age: 36.
  • Country: Ireland.
  • World ranking: 13.
  • Majors: British Open (2007).
  • Best result at a British Open: Won.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-T5, US Open-T36.
  • Worldwide victories: 19.
  • British Open highlight: Holing a 3-foot bogey putt to win a playoff at Carnoustie.
  • British Open lowlight: Twice hitting into Barry Burn on the 18th hole and making double bogey at Carnoustie to lose a one-shot lead.
  • Noteworthy: He has not won since the British Open.

  • Age: 35.
  • Country: England.
  • World ranking: 18.
  • Majors: None.
  • Best result at a British Open: 4th at Royal Troon in 2004.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-T11, US Open-3.
  • Worldwide victories: 28.
  • British Open highlight: British bookmakers installed him as a co-favorite with Tiger Woods at Royal Birkdale in 1998.
  • British Open lowlight: Shot 78-78 on the weekend at Royal Birkdale to tie for 64th.
  • Noteworthy: His only top 10s at the British Open have come at Royal Troon.

  • Age: 45.
  • Country: Scotland.
  • World ranking: 80.
  • Majors: None.
  • Best result at a British Open: 2nd at St. Andrews in 2005.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-DNP, US Open-MC.
  • Worldwide victories: 37.
  • British Open highlight: Within one shot of Tiger Woods with nine holes to play in 2005 at St. Andrews and finished alone in second.
  • British Open lowlight: Tripped on his way to breakfast and injured his hand in 2003, then withdrew seven holes into the first round.
  • Noteworthy: Has missed the cut in his last two British Opens.

  • Age: 34.
  • Country: United States.
  • World ranking: 28.
  • Majors: None.
  • Best result at a British Open: T35 at Carnoustie in 2007.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-T20, US Open-T26.
  • Worldwide victories: 2.
  • British Open highlight: Going into the weekend four shots out of the lead at his first British Open.
  • British Open lowlight: Asking former British Open champion Paul Lawrie if he had to qualify to play at Carnoustie last year.
  • Noteworthy: The British Open is his favorite major because you aint got to hit just one club.

  • Age: 23.
  • Country: United States.
  • World ranking: 14.
  • Majors: None.
  • Best result at a British Open: First appearance.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-DNP, US Open-T26.
  • Worldwide victories: 2.
  • British Open highlight: Moving into the top 50 after first victory to qualify for the first time.
  • British Open lowlight: Watching on TV last year.
  • Noteworthy: Two victories this year have come at Quail Hollow and Congressional.

  • Age: 35.
  • Country: United States.
  • Majors: None.
  • World ranking: 5.
  • Best result at a British Open: T6 at Carnoustie in 2007.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-T3, US Open-T14.
  • Worldwide victories: 7.
  • British Open highlight: Playing with Padraig Harrington in the final round of Carnoustie in the third-to-last group in 2007.
  • British Open lowlight: Failing to break 80 in two rounds at Carnoustie in 1999.
  • Noteworthy: Won for the first time in four years at the Travelers Championship.

  • Age: 27.
  • Country: Argentina.
  • World ranking: 25.
  • Majors: None.
  • Best result at a British Open: 3rd at Carnoustie in 2007.
  • 2008 Majors: Masters-T8, US Open-T36.
  • Worldwide victories: 5.
  • British Open highlight: Made 10 birdies in 16 holes during the final round at Carnoustie.
  • British Open lowlight: Made two double bogeys on the back nine in the final round at Carnoustie.
  • Noteworthy: Has finished in the top 10 in both British Open appearances.

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