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Ken Brown's six UK contenders

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Rob Hodgetts | 19:05 UK time, Tuesday, 12 July 2011

With two Englishman topping the world rankings at a course named after the nation's patron saint, hopes of a home Open champion are high.

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are flying the flag at Royal St George's this week as England looks for a first Open winner since Nick Faldo won at Muirfield in 1992.

The UK as a whole is also yearning for a new hero after Scotland's Paul Lawrie last won at Carnoustie in 1999.

So who will finally slay the dragon this week? BBC golf commentator Ken Brown picks his six most likely contenders to break the UK major duck.

Luke Donald playing a practise round at Sandwich ahead of the Open

Luke Donald is world number one and as such must go into this Open as the Brit with the best chance of winning. Photo: AP

Luke Donald
Age: 33
World ranking: 1
Opens played: 10
Best Open finish: tied 5th in 2009
Top 5s: 1
Last year: tied 11th

A seemingly calm and unruffled demeanour, come rain or shine. His greatest attribute is that ability to stay on an even keel, not get too high with birdies or too depressed when he gets some bad luck. I would say he's the best chipper and putter in the game and he holes out so beautifully.

He's also a wonderful iron player, particularly short irons, but if you asked him which area would most concern him I suspect it would be 'how am I going to drive?' He's not the longest, or sometimes the most accurate, but if he can find a few extra fairways he could be a very tough man to beat.

But you can never tell. You can get the wrong side of the draw - if a breeze is blowing in the morning and not in the afternooon - and play the best golf as Bernard Langer did here in 1985 and still not win. You need a bit of lady luck but Donald comes in as the favourite of the home players.

Lee Westwood plays a chip shot at the Scottish Open last week.

38-year-old Lee Westwood finished second at last year's Open, and will want to go one better in 2011. Photo: Getty

Lee Westwood
Age: 38
World ranking: 2
Opens played: 16
Best Open finish: second in 2010
Top 5s: 3

On his day no-one strikes the ball sweeter. He's a great driver, a super iron player and his short game has improved vastly. It comes down to whether he can hole those five/six/seven footers. If he gets a bit of confidence and starts seeing the line on the greens he'll be close.

Lee has the advantage that he has played the course a few more times and has experienced a few more Opens. Rather than adding to his demons, each near miss will add to his confidence. What could add to the pressure on him is that he knows the majors are running out. There is not an endless supply as you get nearer to 40, but in saying that these days 45 is not old as guys are fitter and stronger.

His level of consistency in majors in outstanding and he understands you don't have to play your best to win. Just stick in there, hole a few six footers when they come along and see what happens. More often than not that's the difference.

Rory McIlroy watches his ball fly off after a bunker shot

The Boy Wonder is at the centre of the golfing universe at present, but can he ignore all the attention? Photo: Getty

Rory McIlroy
Age: 22
World ranking: 4
Opens played: 4
Best Open finish: tied 3rd in 2010
Top 5s: 1

Since Sandy Lyle he is without doubt the most naturally gifted home player that has come along. He's got everything, he freewheels, he's a glorious hitter, loves his links golf and has played some wonderful stuff at St Andrews over the years. He seems to be enjoying the attention that comes with his US Open win and seems to be handling it well.

But this is not the US Open and he'll have to accept, as everyone will, the odd bad break and hopefully he can find that wonderful putting touch he had at Congressional. If he can he's a world beater, a lap-the-field man. But there are a lot more variables this week than at the US Open.

Graeme McDowell practising his putting on a Kentish green.

Graeme McDowell is a sound and steady force. Photo: Getty

Graeme McDowell
Age: 32
World ranking: 9
Opens played: 7
Best Open finish: tied 11th in 2005
Last year: tied 23rd
Top 5s: 0

Loves links golf, is a proven major winner and wants to win more. He's played some very sound, steady golf but does his form coming in gives him the confidence to say 'yes, I'm ready to contend again'? Then again, you wouldn't necessarily have picked him before his US Open win last year.

He's gutsy, brave, much longer than he was five or six years ago, and hits it with a nice trajectory with his irons - not too high. So he's probably the next one on the list.

Paul Casey and Ian Poulter in discussion at the 2010 Masters in Augusta.

Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, seen here at the 2010 Masters in Augusta, both need to have a confident week on the greens. Photo: Getty

Paul Casey
Age: 33
World ranking: 14
Opens played: 9
Best Open finish: tied 3rd in 2010
Top 5s: 1

Ian Poulter
Age: 35
World ranking: 16
Opens played: 10
Best Open finish: 2nd in 2008
Last year: tied 60th
Top 5s: 1

Casey and Poulter are both wonderful players who rely on confidence. If they get off to a good start and get into the round, it snowballs, but they lack a bit of consistency. Casey is a high ball player and a terrific striker of an iron, Poulter is a little shorter with a terrific short game. What they need to feature this week is to have a confident week on the greens. If they start holing a few putts and seeing the lines, they could easily go close.

Both believe they have got it in the locker to win a major. They have seen the other lads getting into contention and they are right there in the position they want to be, it's just a matter of producing the goods at the right time.

That's what Ken thinks but who are you tipping to triumph at the Open? Have your say in the comments below.


  • Comment number 1.

    1. Rory, 2. Westwood, 3. Garcia.

  • Comment number 2.

    My money is on Rory McIlroy to lift the trophy. He won the big one last time in USA, and so, no reason at all why he shouldn't do it again here.

    I don't know about the so-called World No1 and No2, it only counts when you start winning the Big Ones, so Rory in my opinion could have lifted the previous one to his US triumph, but apparently something must have upset him on the third day to bring about his loss of form.

    But he has come good since, so, GET IN THERE RORY !!

  • Comment number 3.

    Going to be brave and pick an American to win a Major at last...

    Matt Kuchar performed well at Castle Stuart last week and makes Putting looks too easy at times. Under-rated this side of The Atlantic, I think Kuchar stands a real chance of troubling the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.

    Elsewhere, I would like to see someone like Matteo Mannassero have a good week, and suspect he might just. A certain major winner in years to come. He could plump up the verve to have a real run at The Open this week. Edoardo Molinari is also fantastic value at 150/1 too. A decent showing last week when defending The Scottish open title he won in 2010, The Italian has shown he can cope with links Golf.

    Kuchar from Manassero, Donald and Molinari.

  • Comment number 4.

    As a Nottingham lad, born and bred, I will never say anyone other than Lee Westwood to win, and that aint changing here today.

    Come on Westy, be relentless and grind it out. 4 solid days, no duds. Do it.

  • Comment number 5.

    Lee, Luke, Rory, Kuch, Poults - yes, all of those but The Open often throws up an unexpected winner - Watson nearly won it 2 years ago, Norman did brilliantly the year before...who was it beat Watson again? 2009 is the only year, I suspect, when everyone will remember the guy who was runner-up more easily than the victor.

    My dark-horse choices: Jason Day, who just seems to love golf and laughed in Hawaii when he duffed a tee shot, before spanking a driver off the deck and rescuing a 4; and Francisco Molinari. If things go their way, they could be holding the Auld Mug aloft come Sunday.

    Also, keep an eye on Manassero - he looks the business pretty much every time he sets out.

    But I'd love to see a European and, even more a Brit. Come on the home boys!

  • Comment number 6.

    Not quite related to this subject .... but the great Alex Hay died yesterday. For 26 years, along with Peter Alliss, he was the voice of Golf on the BBC. I had the great pleasure of meeting Alex some years ago and he was one of lifes great gentlemen.

    However, I can find no mention of Mr Hay passing on the BBC website ... anywhere. Shame on you BBC

  • Comment number 7.

    @5 Jason Day a dark horse ? he was runner up in the last 2 majors hardly a dark horse.

    I really do hope this is Westwoods time he really deserves that major , wouldn't suprise me in the slightest to see Rory go back to back either.

  • Comment number 8.

    number 7. you get what you deserve in sport, if he wins hes deserved it if he doesnt then clearly he wont have been good enough to win one! mcilroys done it already and hes 16 years younger than lee..

    mcilroy to go back to back and spank the field again (hopefully) the english lads are up there but for sheer entertainment and all round genuine skill then mcilroy for me. come on rory

  • Comment number 9.

    Don't discount Harrington - he could win again!. I know I may appear to be a little sentimental but there is logic and evidence to suggest he could get a hat-trick of British Open wins.

    1 He's a proven British Open (twice) and US PGA Major Winner
    2 14th place in Scotland in a quality field suggests he is there or there abouts
    3 He says his practice is far better than his tournament results so far this season
    4 He badly needs the world ranking points (and FedEx points) - he is best when his back is against the wall.

    Apart from the above I have this feeling that it's going to be an Island of Ireland 1,2,3 of Harrington, McIlroy and McDowell. And wouldn't it be great to see those 'eyes' going down the back nine on Sunday evening!

  • Comment number 10.

    SimonNZ, there is a tribute here:

  • Comment number 11.

    Ken - Robert Rock is the (English) man. T7 last year at St Andrews, loves difficult conditions. Yes, a dark horse, but he can do the business, playing with confidence at the moment.

  • Comment number 12.


    Thanks for the link to the tribute to Alex Hay. Good tribute.

    Having said that, I have scoured the Sport front page and the Golf page and I cannot find the link to this tribute. Well found I must say!

    I do think the BBC could make this a bit more prominent in respect of the great man.

  • Comment number 13.


    Much as I would like to see a UK player I think an American is in for it. Steve Stricker is just fantastically on form.

  • Comment number 14.

    Even though I am a diehard Rory and Ulsterman/fan who lived in Holywood for many years, I think the level of attention and demands may swing the favour elsewhere(although I sincerely think I am wrong).For a long time I have had a gut feeling this British Open is destined for an englishman, boy it is due and with donald,westwood,poults,rose,fisher ETC.... it is going to be an english open winner I sense.It is so hard in golf to nail the winner but I go westwood to win and fisher as a lively outsider.No-one would begrudge Lee and time is running out!!!

  • Comment number 15.

    For me it is going to come down to a question of short game. With the nature of St. George's, it will not be a question of smooth driving down fairways and crisp irons onto greens, but rather unfortunate bounces and run off's. As Ken says above, Luke Donald, in his rich vein of form, is a wonderful short game player. Americans won't like this course, but don't discount a long-odds winner from anywhere. However, whoever beats Luke will win it.

  • Comment number 16.

    "Graeme McDowell, here practising his putting on a Kentish green..."-what-with his caddy still wearing his Barclays Scottish Open bib???

  • Comment number 17.

    Is Rory McIlroy playing in The Open? Haven't seen it mentioned anywhere on the BBC?

  • Comment number 18.

    Dark horse for the Open.......S Dyson, get on him!

  • Comment number 19.

    I like Robert Rock as an each way bet - but I fancy a random winner... Stenson or Quiros maybe?
    If Quiros is hitting it well, he's difficult to keep up with - I just doubt he'll keep it up for 4 days.

  • Comment number 20.

    I think this is Westwood's time and that's where my money is going. He is going in the right direction - 3rd in 2009; 2nd in 2010 - and, now, 1st?? I think if he can just jog along for the first three rounds and go out, say, third/fourth from last group on Sunday he will have a great chance.

    Others I like the look of? Jason Day - 40-1 on a player who has been runner up in both majors this year are odds you just can't turn down. And Sergio - back with a bang and with wind looking likely his shot-making could see him go close. He also was top 10 last time out at St George's - I know, because I followed him on the final round!

  • Comment number 21.

    Agree with #6. Where's the article on the passing of Alex Hay? For those of us (which is a lot) grew up in the 80s and early 90s watching golf he was as much the voice of golf as Peter Alliss.
    Bad way to treat the passing of one of your own BBC! Not good!

  • Comment number 22.

    16. ChasScoobs - good spot.

    Come on BBC - it's your job. With the number of errors in recent blogs we might as well start watching Sky!

  • Comment number 23.

    Must have taken you a while to choose them Ken!

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm here at work just over a mile from the course. It's quite breezy & likely to get windier, probably going to rain as well.

    So who do you all reckon are the best players is those conditions?

  • Comment number 25.

    "Ken Brown picks his five most likely contenders...": 1. Luke Donald; 2. Lee Westwood; 3. Rory McIlroy; 4. Graeme McDowell; 5. Paul Casey; 6. Ian Poulter. Sorry, Ken, but that's a 'U' grade in your "counting up to six" GCSE.

    Still, it's bettter than Graham Poll, who failed his "counting up to two" exam in the 2006 World Cup.

  • Comment number 26.

    Ken really going out on a limb by tipping 6 golfers in the top 16 in the world. Also, 2 of them have already 'broken the UK major duck'. What a waste of the very little time he put into this article.

  • Comment number 27.

    Watch out for Kaymer in my opinion, everyone is going for the form men but I don't see it going that way and in fact players like Kaymer, Mickelson and Rose who haven't been at there best are due performances and I just don't see it going with the form books. McIlroy and Donald are in wonderful form and wouldn't be surprised if they gave a top 10 finish as they rarely finish lower but I don't see them wininning it.

  • Comment number 28.

    I watched the tribute to Alex Hay, thanks to Jamie as I'd never have found it otherwise. I was lucky enough to play a round of golf with Alex a few years ago.He left me 60ft from the 1st hole and I drained the putt. His reaction was just like his commentaries, restrained but spot on, no drama. He waited until the end of the round to give me one of the best pieces of golfing advice I have ever received.
    An English winner please, even if it comes with a huge amount of luck, we're desperate.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am hoping for a westwood win too. He has been close several times now and this might just be his week.
    As I am from Belgium, what do you guys think of Nicolas Colsaerts? He is one of the most improved player on tour and I hope he does well this week.

  • Comment number 30.

    How about Australia's Jason Day....he's been hot on McIlroy's heels lately ?

  • Comment number 31.

    Leave poor Ken alone. Ye Brits need to be talked up as much as possible so the disappointment is even greater come Sunday evening. Is it annoying for English golf fans that other non English Brits have won majors now? I think there is a lot more pressure on the English contingent, especially Westwood, to land the jug. I predict a Scandanavian winner. A lot of the Sweds in good form and knocking on the door. Alexander Noren, Robert Karlson, Fredrick Jacobson.

  • Comment number 32.

    Being a Scot, i am putting my money on Paul Lawrie, he has been showing some good form, and is a good wind player, for an outside bet, Scott Jamieson !!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Its building up to be one of the most exciting british Opens in a long time. Alot of players on top form. After the Masters...the british Open is my next favourite tournament to watch.

    Come on Luke Donald!

  • Comment number 34.

    I do hope that the SIX players making up Ken Brown's team of top FIVE contenders do not share his mathematical skills when completing their scorecards.

  • Comment number 35.

    Peter Hanson is a great EW shout at 80-1 - also like KJ Choi at 50's if the weather behaves.

  • Comment number 36.

    Looks like Lee Westwood has prepared really well for The Open and is in the right frame of mind to win. Perhaps his Bioflow Sport wristband is helping his focus and fitness?

  • Comment number 37.

    Lee Westwood has been in the proper frame of mind many times before and although he does great for 54 holes, he always falls away.

    Im afraid I dont fancy Lee's chances at all. He's the new Monty...moodly and majorless.

  • Comment number 38.

    Its Garcia for me, especially if its breezy the first few days...there is no better long iron player in the wind and his touch around the hard greens will be key...if he can keep his short putts in order...which he has improved its garcia to win it for Seve ....Kuchar 2nd Westwood 3rd....

  • Comment number 39.

    Britains Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will definately be there come Sunday, then its down to who has the bottle. Their fellow country man Colin Montgomery came close to winning his national Open title in 1995 when he came 2nd.

    Can Britains Luke or Lee go one better?

  • Comment number 40.

    Likely OPEN result!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hanson Stricker Manassero.

    Shame UK again again again. Might win when pigs can fly.

  • Comment number 41.

    Cabrera and Harrington could be two to look out for perhaps... *might* just be Donald's year, Masters champ Schwarzel might be dangerous. All will be revealed over the next few days!

  • Comment number 42.

    I genuniely hope Donald & Westwood are challenging on the final day. There's nothing better than the best challenging at the end. I think Carl Schwartzel looks in excellent nick though

    In terms of value bets I'm plumping each way for:
    Schwartzel 40/1
    Cabrera (finished 2nd last week) 80/1
    Jimenez 150/1

  • Comment number 43.

    Tim Douglas-Riley - you're right of course. Things got complicated by the fact that Ken kind of picked Casey and Poulter as his joint fifth, which I agree technically makes it six!

    Sinequanon - harsh. The piece was to look at the most likely UK contenders which is likely, therefore, to yield the best players. I named some others for the sake of argument, but he discounted them. It's a way of Ken giving us his honest assessment and providing general fans with a bit more detail.

  • Comment number 44.

    well, Schwartzel is a class player, he should be involved and Donald will be a threat too.

    I do like to look of Karlsson's form coming into this tournament and Nick Watney is a fine golfer.

    That's it for me!

  • Comment number 45.

    Indeed. He didn't have to think that hard about it because there are 6 players in the top 16. Why doesn't he just go out his way and pick someone who is ranked 500th? It would completely defeat the purpose of the article. Unbelievable.

    In saying that, I do find that whenever I look at the odds on majors I always search for the rank outside who could win me a bit of money (I am so far on a 100% losing streak). This year I fancy Paul Lawrie to have a good week. Strong finish last week and always seems to do okay round the links. At 250/1 it's not a bad e/w shout... though given my track record I'd recommend placing your money elsewhere.

  • Comment number 46.

    I reckon it could be an outside bet. Goeff Ogilvy's my shout..

    They were just talking about the player odds on The Open's Live Channel, which is pretty cool:

  • Comment number 47.

    Chalkey, it might have escaped your attention but the last major was won by a UK player, you can be forgiven for not knowing this as it was barely reported in any of the major international sports media, Rory something I think they called him.

  • Comment number 48.

    Have to agree with those dissing this article. Very lazy, standard cut and paste job. No regard given for course form , preferences.
    Who'd have picked Mcdowell last year? 4th and 1st going into the US Open might have been a hint at some form, non?
    How Casey makes the final 5/6 I don't know. Would rate Rose, Dyson and Lawrie over him easily. New boys Whiteford and Jamieson showing very well this year too. Doubt very much that Ken wrote such a vacuous piece.

  • Comment number 49.

    There is only 1 winner here and his name is Phil Mikleson.. time to get back on to winning ways..

  • Comment number 50.

    Please everyone stop taking rubbish odds with the bookies. Use oddschecker or the like to check prices available. Betfair will usually have the best price of anywhere if you can't be bothered to check. Anyone backing Jimenez at 150/1 when he's available at 290 shouldn't be betting.

  • Comment number 51.

    would LOVE to see Garcia in amongst it sunday afternoon.... so pleased hes been improving recently at last! Also, Jason Day has got to be due a major soon- everytime you watch the golf on a major sunday - hes always there!

  • Comment number 52.

    No disrespect to Ken, but they're hardly what you would call 'tips' as the headline imples though I guess that's probably not his fault. The top 6 British and Irish players in the world rankings would probably be a better way of putting it so it stands to reason that the most likely player to break the duck would come from that group - hardly rocket science.

    Much as i'd like to see Westwood win I still think he has bottle issues and not sure how Rory will cope with the wind forecast or how that might affect Donald with his percieved lack of length. Of those listed I would give McDowell the best chance, so giving my own tipping record he's got no chance.

  • Comment number 53.

    I dont think an American will win the british open this year...even tho they have dominated in the past I think there are too many great European players.
    I think the winner will come from Britain or Ireland.

    Donald, Westwood and Poulter have a great chance of making it a british winner but then with McIlroy, Harrington and McDowell they have a very strong chance of making it another Irish major winner.

    Im so excited now I want it to kick off...ill be following the british open all day at work tomorrow. Cant wait.

  • Comment number 54.

    So we are trumping the 4 englishmen then ? No problem with that, all extremely fine players but grand total of majors ? Errrrrrrrrr, sound of silence.

    None of the 4 are wet behind the ears, they have been in the game long enough but I dont think their case is that solid. Opens, Woods apart, the fancied runners dont tend to live up to the hype.

    Another winner from the "didnt reckon on him" area but whatever I hope the conditions are such that the course is not made a monkey of, heres to a riveting 4 days.

    and remember Alex Hay................... he was a wonderful cohort to the master who is still commentating.

  • Comment number 55.

    As ever Kens assessments of the relative merits of the players is spot on. Just a pity the article was spoiled by the casual racism of the opening paragraphs. Apparently a "home" winner will either be English or a UK resident. Twelve years into devolution and some people still aren't getting it.

    I also agree with some of the comments about Alex Hay. A fine scholar of the game and an absolute gentleman. Shabbily treated by the BBC. Twice now.

  • Comment number 56.

    @ james mathews, stop posting your thoughts. They are making you seem like a proper fool. Writing off Westwood in 37, bigging him up in 39.
    The scandalous use of British Open in 53 your worst crime. If there's more than one james mathews posting then I apologise for singling you out and suggest you both seek help.

  • Comment number 57.


    Sorry if I seem to be contradicting myself but what I ment with Westwood is that I think he will certainly be there come Sunday but I dont think he has the bottle to close out a major. He might supprise us but its unlikely as he seems to be made of the same mould as his fellow country man Colin Montgomery.

    I do think there will be a 'home' winner of this years british open and that is Luke Donald. Althought there is a great chance of another Irish major winner with Rory, Harrington and GMac all playing well.

  • Comment number 58.

    @ ShellBunker Home winner obviously means someone from the UK or NI. Seems you are yet another Scotsman with a complex.

  • Comment number 59.

    Agree with 1 or 2 others that Jason Day looks a good e/w bet at around 40-1 also Manassero could go well at around double those odds. Oh and "James Matthew" there is no such tournament as the "British Open" its the Open Championship.

  • Comment number 60.

    The flutter eachway on Scott and Schwartzel both over 50's

  • Comment number 61.

    Maybe sneak a fiver each way on Sean O'Hair at 350/1

  • Comment number 62.


    Im sorry I dont mean to offend you its just what I have always known the british open to be called since it is played all around britain.
    Just like the USOpen and US Masters, they get the prefix of the country they are played in.

    I think your just trying to stirr me...lets all just enjoy the british open and hope its as exciting as we think it will be.

  • Comment number 63.

    Watch out for Manaserro. He often plays short, sometimes low, so in gusty conditions he could be at an advantage. Playing the 'average' will win this one with the forecast possibly as it is.

  • Comment number 64.

    39.At 11:06 13th Jul 2011, james mathew wrote:
    Britains Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will definately be there come Sunday, then its down to who has the bottle. Their fellow country man Colin Montgomery came close to winning his national Open title in 1995 when he came 2nd.

    Would that be the fellow countryman Colin Montgomery (from Scotland) of Westwood and Donald, who are from England????

  • Comment number 65.

    No doubt that Rory will be in the mix at the open but I think one to watch will be Ernie. He is due a good showing and starting with Rory may get him back into matchplay mode.... the Big Easy

  • Comment number 66.

    #64 simpa09

    Was what I said wrong?
    Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Colin Montmomery are all fellow country men being that they are all from Britain. Like they would all play together in the Olympics or have the same passport.

    I dont see the issue?

  • Comment number 67.

    @ james mathew

    The reason The Open Championship is so called and not the 'British Open' is because the British invented the sport and set up the rules of the game and therfore get to name it the definitive article. No need to add British, all the other countries have to add their country as identification of their own events.

    Same applies to the FA. There is no English FA as we inveneted it. FIFA hate us for it too... and I love it!

    You may have always known it as the British Open but that does not make it correct, more perhaps that you have never been corrected.

  • Comment number 68.

    I'm rooting for Adam Scott @ 60/1, but will be monitoring Justin Rose closely too, both have been playing really neat golf recently, should be great tourny !!

  • Comment number 69.

    Having backed oosthuzien last year at 125/1 I thought I might give you all my tips to make a few quid. Top americans Bo van Pelt J Overton .Top euro T Olsen S Garcia I know he is only 5/1 for top euro but Garcia is a great place bet for the Open. Bo is one of the best ball stirkers on the pga tour Overton is very long and coped will in the wind Olsen after finishing second in France when it was blowing a hooley is some geart value.A couple of pennies in 4 e/w doubles will get you quite a return. Both Stricker and Mickelson to miss the cut would pay about 16/1.T aiken from SA is in with a squeak as is Sabbittini.But there is only one winner and you won`t make a fortune Rory at 8/1 outstanding price good luck all

  • Comment number 70.

    Some of you clearly haven't read the article properly. Those fools giving Ken Brown stick with comments like "really going out on a limb Ken picking 6 in the top 16" or "you've only picked British players" - the clue is in the article title kids.

    Ken 'on the course' Brown is a legend in broadcasting! We love you Ken.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hi Everyone.

    I'm off to Sandwich on Friday, so excited to be going to my first Open Championship....I tried to get there 8 years ago but my Mum put petrol in her hired diesel car, halfway to Kent, and tears ensued.

    I've got a couple of cracking bets for those that are interested.

    Sweden's Robert Karlsson, at a very generous 80-1 (with some bookmakers). I've got a feeling he's going to play very well this week after a very solid start to his season. He's got the game, a strong mentality, and I think he's owed a big championship.

    And Ernie 85-1, far too good to refuse. I know his putting is a bit dodgy, but still, for a player of his stature and ability, that is fabulous value.

    To be honest, as long as we get a British winner, I don't really care. And if that winner just happened to be Lee Westwood, I'd be delighted to lose all my money :)

  • Comment number 72.

    #50 - I use highstreet bookies only, but your right oddscheck is quality and ive used it to get the best average for my picks.

    Quite jealous of #71. I wish I was going! But i'm suprised its took 8 years to get the car fixed.........

    And yes, a Brit winner would be fantastic.

  • Comment number 73.

    Can Westwood go one better then his fellow country man Colin Montgomery did in 2005 and win the british open?

  • Comment number 74.

    #73 James - now you're just trying to wind some people up!

  • Comment number 75.


    How am I? I'm getting really confused with some of the comments made of about my posts. In school I learned that Britain is a country? If im wrong then please correct me and I'll let the rest of the world know.

  • Comment number 76.

    I wonder how many of these posts are argueing/commenting on what country players are from or not from, what the British Open/Open should be called. I've finally got to the end of this list, would have been a lot quicker without them. Saying that, this post is completely pointless also.

    p.s. Go Westwood

  • Comment number 77.

    75: Because you know that some people like to be factually correct and call it its proper name.

    And also because you continually quote English majors winners in the last 40 years and refer to Rory as Irish rather than British. As far as I'm aware he can be either British or Irish depending on how he wants to be referred and has never answered his questions, probably because there are too many nut cases out there in the world that would make his life a misery either way.

  • Comment number 78.

    methilmilan There is only one "OPEN" . McIlroy won an American copy.

    Put you money on a Swede for the real one tomorrow.

  • Comment number 79.

    Right. My tips for the All-English Open are the Midlander Westwood, followed by the Englander Poulter. I think the African Els has a chance and the Antipodian Day. Top Europeans might be Donald and Garcia. Don't rule out Yanks such as Stricker and Ulsterman McIlroy and Brit McDowell. There - happy now!

  • Comment number 80.

    I would bet that an unfancied player will win the Open. Who would have thought that Oostheuizen would have won last year and Curtis would have won the last time it was played at Sandwich.

    The wind is going to blow it appears according to the forecasts, and if it is windier in one half of the day compared to the other, that could effectively take out a lot of the big hitters in the unlucky half of the draw. One bad round is all it takes to take you out of the running (like McIlroy last year)

    Whilst I like Rory and was really pleased for him to win the US Open I just don't understand the hype around him at this championships. Yes he's a great player and the manner of his win at Congressional was outstanding and I'm sure he'll win more majors, but the BBC have taken that victory and turned McIlroy into the dominant man in world golf when he is not (yet). I also don't know how well McIlroy will do this week, because he was blown away by the wind last year at St Andrews and with it going to be windy every day this year, he could struggle to challenge for the title. I expect him to easily make the cut but I think he'll be around top 20.

  • Comment number 81.

    Not too sure about the criticism of the BBC further up the thread in relation to Alex Hay (RIP). I watched a tribute from Peter Alliss on one of the golf links and although it was short,it brought back memories of my childhood, sunday dinners & his infectious sense of humour and laugh.Also and this is a fact, the BBC website for golf is far more superior to any of the Sky Sports stuff as the blogs are current,busy with clued in people contributing! Also, throw in a wonderful Seve tribute with a gem of a bio-doc on Rory and it is self indulgence for a golf fan! No shame as far as I am concerned.Liking the tips and contrasts - Alberto Quiros??hahaha
    If he wins I will streak around Oxford Street in mid winter.
    An englishman,trust me (and I am Northern Irish who DOES NOT work for the BBC)!!!

  • Comment number 82.

    I'm concerned at McIlroys lack of competitive practise since winning the US Open. Why has he not played tournament golf since? This is all too typical of British sportsmen who win something big and then rest of their laurels, have a good time, party, get interviewed by everyone and forget to play. Tiger Woods went out after his first Grand Slam and played the very next tournament, and the next and the next. British golfers are just too pampered to do this. Westwood could win but he is not fit enough to play 4 rounds of hard golf.

  • Comment number 83.

    Don`t care were Rory is from as long I collect off him again.

    And #67 Joroda I think the Dutch or Germans might just disagree with you about were Golf was invented.Dont you just hate being corrected :)

  • Comment number 84.

    Can't really argue with Ken's picks however, historically many of the past winners of The Open have been surprises such as Curtis, Daly, Cink, to name a few. So we need perhaps look for lesser well mamed people like Jason Day who has done very well in the last two majors and/or Cabrera who looked last week as if he has got the bit between his teeth in finishing third last week.

  • Comment number 85.

    Jason Day a lesser name??!
    Number 7 in the world.
    And Cink was due but he is a dull character and was totally overshadowed by the fact Tom Watson came so close to doing something absolutely preposterous.
    Only a matter of time for Jason Day and the 'new garcia' mannasero,vegas,kim etc...

  • Comment number 86.


    If winning mickey-mouse events make them World Class, then they are in the wrong tournament.

    This is for the MEN not boys !! Get in there RORY !!

  • Comment number 87.

    While one can always expect surprise winners at St Georges, I suspect Luke Donald has the temperment and skill set for this course. A soft blow, not a gale would help. Tougher conditions would, I think, favour Westwood. I can't dream of McIlroy holding it together after the amazing US Open result.
    Peter, Switzerland

  • Comment number 88.

    Why is it that the BBC (particularly TV) and other British media claim Rory to be British/UK when he's winning and Northern Irish when not performing well? He's catholic but he takes a very neutral and sensitive stance when it comes to this matter. He played for Ireland in the World Cup and after his US Open win said it was great for Irish and Northern Irish golf. Why not respect what he wants to be and that's Northern Irish.

  • Comment number 89.

    @ Religion & Politics about Rory - forget it, he is a catholic who is proud to be from Northern Ireland, end of story. In the same way Gerry Armstrong was proud to score for Northern Ireland in 1982 and 1,000 s of other.NORTHERN ireland - end of story!
    What is more concerning is the influx of z list critics of sport.
    Who in gods name is Jay Townsend?
    Why have Jeff Tarango as a 'critic' for wimbledon?
    Is it just me but is it hard to stomach Stan Collymore judging footballers for others?
    Or maybe robbie savage?
    Thank god for Peter Alliss and Jeff Stelling I say.

  • Comment number 90.

    "Why is it that the BBC (particularly TV) and other British media claim Rory to be British/UK when he's winning and Northern Irish when not performing well?"

    Complete tosh.

  • Comment number 91.

    Fallenfaith, same for Scots & Welsh (vis Andy Murray?).

    Well, there's an embarrassing lack of these 6 in the final 2 days. Rory McIlroy has proven himself to be a major winner, the Masters experience changed him into a winner. What of the others?

    McDowell is obviously also a winner, just on a bad streak which started in the Scottish Open final round and got worse this week. He has said as much. Whether he'll win another major remains to be seen. Depends on his mental state.

    Westwood has had too long to win a major - he won't ever. Hasn't got the mental stuff.

    Luke Donald is making a great living at golf, but doesn't have the extra undefinable part of his make-up which brings him to the highest pinnacle of a major - it takes a mental strength which he does not have. In common with several others we have expected to win majors and haven't - Montgomery, Adam Scott, even Phil Mickelson - but he managed to turn his mental state around.

    Poulter and Casey are even further away, they will never win a major between them. No mental stamina for it.

    So what does it take? Who is to come? We have had quite a few one-off winners, quite a number of them rather by accident (Paul Lawrie, Ben Curtis, Louis Oosthuizen etc). They just happened to be on the right score at the right time when others faltered - they did not go out and win the tournaments (although Paul Lawrie's 3-3 finish in his play-off was pretty impressive). Probably goes for both Sandy Lyle's majors too, certainly his Open.

    Promising looking players abound - but do they have the mental stuff? Impressed with Tom Lewis, he seems to have a great attitude, he could win this year if he has his head together (possible at that age / level of experience?). Ricky Fowler looks to have promise, good poise and attitude. Very difficult to pick out very many. No Americans other than Fowler. I do wish Sergio Garcia would get his head together for it, but I've got my doubts (a Spanish winner this year might be rather appropriate). Any of the Scandinavians? Can't see it at the moment. Others? Again having difficulty seeing any. So maybe the "accidental" winners will come to the fore.

    Rory McIlroy will, undoubtably, win more. He has proven himself between the Masters and US Open, his mental state is now good.

  • Comment number 92.

    Oh, and I've no idea at all who is going to win this one.

  • Comment number 93.

    Ken... Maybe you should stick to just commentating:

    Luke Donald - Missed the cut
    Lee Westwood - Missed the cut
    Rory McIlroy - Can't find US Open form
    Graeme McDowell - Missed the cut
    Paul Casey - Hanging on by a thread
    Ian Poulter - Missed the cut

    Hindsight is a great tool, but maybe the fact your six choices didn't stray outside of the UK was a little... short sighted??


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