Pundits pick their Open winner
They say talk is cheap, but it is not if it yields the winner of the Open.
The time for cogitating, pontificating, blustering and plain making stuff up is over.
Here, then, are the learned predictions of golf's finest media brains. Who is going to win at Royal Lytham & St Annes? Read on.
Iain Carter, BBC golf correspondent
Winner: Lee Westwood. The course demands straight hitting from the tee and there's no-one better in that regard. There is also no-one more consistent in golf currently at turning up with a game to challenge for a major.
So near yet so far so often - could this be Westwood's major breakthrough? Photo: Getty
Big week: Ian Poulter. He will put his Ryder Cup hopes back on track because he has the ability to thread the ball through the bunkers. He has a stellar short game which every Lytham champion has had and he played well in France in his last outing. He loves the big stage and did well at Royal Birkdale when conditions were pretty similar.
Andrew Cotter, BBC golf commentator
Winner: Graeme McDowell. Lytham is, as McDowell himself, puts it a "threader's course". Length is not a premium; hitting it straight and plotting your way between the vicious rough and the 206 bunkers is, which is his speciality. McDowell is also in great form and has gone well in the majors this year - 12th at the Masters and second at the US Open.
Big week: Ernie Els. On the surface it might seem strange, but his form is certainly coming back. He wasn't far away in the US Open and, although he missed the cut the last two years, his overall record in the Open is outstanding. The slower greens may be kinder to his putting again, and as for his liking of Lytham? Well, he finished second here in 1996 and third in 2001.
Ken Brown, BBC golf commentator
Winner: Luke Donald. If ever a course was made for Luke Donald, this is it. He is tailor-made for Lytham. He can thread the ball between the bunkers, he is the best sand player from around the greens, he holes out well and chips well and is pretty accurate. And tactically he's very sound.
Big week: Lee Westwood. His time is absolutely there. He has got such a good major record, everything about his game lends itself to winning majors. If he has a short game with him I just can't believe one of these majors is not going to fall his way. He is too good for it not to happen.
Eddie Birchenough, head pro, Royal Lytham & St Annes
Winner: Luke Donald. He's got a recovery game par-excellence and everyone will need that at some time in four rounds around here, I can assure you.
Big week: Lee Westwood. He keeps the ball in play better than almost anyone else on tour and will therefore stay out of trouble more than most, which is the key requirement at Lytham.
Jay Townsend, BBC Radio 5 live golf pundit
Winner: Steve Stricker. It is going to be a very open Open - we have had 15 different winners on the bounce. It is going to about sticking the ball on the fairway and putting. I think Stricker is due and he is playing well. Typically, in the last three years he has won the week before in the US, which is never a good sign. He didn't do that this time, so he will win.
Big week: Jeev Milkha Singh. A real outsider, although I don't know how much of an outsider he can be when he won in Scotland on Sunday. But when he plays well, he plays well for a while. He is comfortable on links golf courses and there are going to be difficult conditions this week. He puts the ball in the fairway very well, he is a tough competitor and I think he will have a top-10 finish.
Peter Dixon, The Times
Winner: Lee Westwood. This is his time. The course is not fiery, so his length off the tee and his accuracy will help him because he will be able to thread the bunkers. Tee to green he is flat and the greens here shouldn't be too tricky for him. He struggles on the greens but these are quite big and flat. He has got that look about him, too.
Big week: Tiger Woods. We're going to get a big week from Tiger but he might just fall out of the reckoning at the last minute. He wants to win a major now more than anything. You can see when he wins an ordinary event now, what it means to him because it says 'I'm back'. But he won't truly be back until he wins a major and I think that is what is holding him back at the moment.
Jamie Corrigan, Daily Telegraph
Winner: Rickie Fowler. He has really impressed me the way he has played links golf the last couple of years and it is going to take someone with imagination this week. It was a massive step for him beating Rory McIlroy in a play-off earlier this season.
Big week: Ian Poulter. His season hasn't been as bad as people say and he played well to finish fourth in France recently. He hasn't really backed up his second place at Royal Birkdale in 2008 but the Ryder Cup means so much to him he might even get a top three and seal his place.
Kevin Garside, The Independent
Winner: Rory McIlroy. I've got a sneaking feeling he will do well here. He is in great shape, his mind is focused, he's got the game and the weather will relent. I know it's a different course with a different set of demands but if you look at what he did at St Andrews on the first day and days thee and four in 2010, where he ripped it to shreds. He just had a bad day in the wind on day two, so I'm going with him.
Big week: Dustin Johnson. He has returned from his injury absence and won straight out of the box, we know he has got a fantastic long game, but he is subtle around the greens and he can putt. He played really well last year and chased Darren Clarke home.
Derek Lawrenson, Daily Mail
Winner: Lee Westwood. Hopefully that is not my heart speaking but my head. He is so straight and so consistent and always there or thereabouts. It is time he was there.
Big week: Justin Rose. He is coming into the prime of his career, he is so consistent and seems to have found something with his putting.
Neil Squires, Daily Express
Winner: Padraig Harrington. He is nearly back to his best, though there are still some question marks over his putting maybe. You couldn't get a better man for a wet Open, and I think he has got his confidence back and his mojo. He will be a threat and I think he will be right there this week.
Big week: Graeme McDowell. He is a scrapper who will relish the real tough challenge and conditions. He was brought up on links golf and he enjoyed featuring and coming runner-up at the US Open so he will be a man to watch.
Rob Hodgetts, BBC Sport golf writer
Winner: Tiger Woods. This story has far more to run. The shot-making he displayed in three wins this year has been stunning and if that continues, rather than the ragged form he showed at the Masters, then no-one will be better equipped to tackle Royal Lytham. There is still some magic left in the pot, as we saw when he chipped in en route to the Memorial title, and you wouldn't bet against him sprinkling a bit more around this week. He still knows how to close these things off and I can see him dashing home hopes again.
Big week: Padraig Harrington. He had that mad-eyed stare in his eyes when in contention for the US Open last month and clearly enjoyed the feeling again. With three majors tucked away he won't be scared to do it again and will relish the intellectual challenge of plotting his way around Lytham, dodging the squalls.