ESPN.com conducted a poll a few days back asking whether or not John Daly would ever contend for a major championship again. Always a fan-favorite, even though perhaps he hasn't exactly lit up the course lately, Daly got about a 45 percent yes vote from America.
It's major time again, which of course means time for predictions. I've never picked Daly to win in a major. I've picked him to contend, and I've picked him as a sleeper to not a lot of success in the past few years. This column is either going to make me look like the smartest sports writer on the planet or the dumbest. But we in the predicting business are used to that. And for the most part when I've made sports predictions, I've been right. More than Daly's 45 percent, I've been closer to 70-75.
So here goes nothing. John Daly will win the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry.
What evidence do I have that the man will even make the cut? A little. He did earn a second-place finish this year in a European Tour event, and made the cut at the only PGA event he's played in thus far. But other than that, who's to say he won't post an 80 on the first day and be packing early for a trip back to the states?
The easy pick is to say he won't be anywhere near the top of the leaderboard. It''s probably the smart pick as well.
But I will say this. When Daly wins, it's always completely out of nowhere. There is no indication that he's going to. It's not as if he has a string of great finishes leading up to his victories. The only thing to suggest Daly will do even reasonably well is his change in attitude and his commitment to the game at this point in 2009.
There is no question he wants it. The problem is the sevens and eights he sometimes posts on the scorecard that just obliterates his chances.
Yes, I am an idiot for John Daly. If you've read anything by me in the last five years, you know this.
I'm picking him to win the whole freakin' thing. How great would it be to see him hoise the Claret Jug in Loudmouth pants. I hope he wears the polka dot ones on Sunday if he's in contention.
As for other contenders, here's who's stacks up.
1. Martin Kaymer - Kaymer is going for his own 3-peat, much like Padraig Harrigton. Except Kaymer has won the last two European PGA Tour events. He is hot right now, and could very well make it three straight this weekend.
2. Tiger Woods - Always a no-brainer in the majors, it's easy to pick Tiger cause he's always there. No reason to think he won't be this week at Turnberry.
3. Miguel Angel Jiminez - I've been big on Jiminez for a while now cause he's so solid overseas. Jiminez isn't far from a major title, and what better one for him to win than the British? He's successful in Europe all the time. It's only a matter of time before it happens in a big event.
4. David Duval - I don't think that Duval's play in the U.S. Open was by accident. I truly think he's turning the corner and will be back in contention consistently soon. I like his chances this week, assuming he gets off to at least a reasonable start. You will know what he's going to do pretty quick after he tees off today.
5. Sergio Garcia - Forget the ex-girlfriend, forget the negativity, forget it all. Sergio is going to win a major. It's just a matter of time. He should of won this one by now. This week, assuming he doesn't drop a million three-putts anywhere, and Garcia will be in the hunt.
Others who could surprise: Sean O'Hair, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo (yes, Nick Faldo), Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, Ben Curtis, Luke Donald, Francesco Molinari.
E-mail B.J. Lisko at email@example.com