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Rolling the dice in high winds

Predicting the British — better to be lucky than good

July 18, 2009
By B.J. LISKO, Salem News Sports Editor

We in the prediction business are either lucky, good, or both. When it comes to predicting the British Open, I'm not exactly sure what I am, and I don't think anyone else that predicts it is either.

Players look great one second, the wind picks up, and suddenly there are 30 provisionals being hit, balls rolling off of greens and professionals looking more like amateurs than at any other tournament.

With that being said, through three rounds, here's where my British Open picks stand.

1. John Daly -Likely the biggest wild card of my selections, I took Daly to win it, and wouldn't you know it of everyone I mentioned he's at the top of the pack at 2-over par. He's avoided the ghastly hole(s) and has played steady, solid golf for three days. Realistically, anyone within five or six of the lead has a chance tomorrow if they can get hot when the field continues to slip backwards. It might just be Daly's day.

2. Martin Kaymer -Kaymer is shooting for three-straight wins in Europe this week and he, like Daly, has played a solid three rounds of golf. A 74 on Saturday hurt somewhat, but Kaymer sits at 3-over par, seven shots off the pace. He'll need to get hot in a hurry on Sunday to make a run.

3. Tiger Woods -All you Vegas gamblers out there that took Tiger at 2-1 to win certainly didn't expect him to miss the cut. It almost seems as if Woods is trying to live up to his own hype these days. I've never seen him play so angry, and it's as if he's pushing for things to happen too hard. Even when he's won, it's almost as if he's doing it uncomfortably if that makes any sense. Regardless, he's the best player of all time and what I just mentioned wouldn't even be an issue if we were talking about anyone else.

4. Miguel Angel Jiminez - Jiminez looked great after day one. Looked okay after day two still sitting pretty at 3-under. Two double bogeys late on Sunday dropped him to 3-over par and with a lot of work to do. He'll need another 64 if he's going to win this thing. Not sure if that's going to be in the cards for anyone today.

5. David Duval -Remember what I said about Duval's U.S. Open performance not being a fluke. Scratch that. I really don't think the world's former No. 1 cares a whole lot anymore as he went back to missing the cut per usual. I like Duval and would love to see him succeed. It just seems like other than the U.S. Open, he's been going through the motions for years now.

6. Sergio Garcia -Sergio was fine until a 76 on Saturday dropped him to 5-over par. If he could ever learn how to putt, he'd be the biggest threat to take over the No. 1 slot in the world. Until he stops putting like I do though, it's not going to happen.

My notables: Sean O'Hair is 8-over. Greg Norman played like he had better things to do. Nick Faldo is on his way back to the booth. Hopefully someday he replaces Johnny Miller on all networks. Jim Furyk is 1-under and definitely has a shot to take the Claret Jug today. Ben Curtis went 65-80 and missed the cut. Sounds like another thing that only I could do on a golf course. Luke Donald is in a large group at 3-over with a shot if he gets really hot. And the big-hitting Italian Francesco Molinari is with Daly at 2-over.

Whether 59-year-old Tom Watson hangs on to win or not, it's shaping up to be an exciting day of golf, even without Tiger.

E-mail B.J. Lisko at



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