10 picks to win

June 17, 1999|By Don Markus

The obvious

Tiger Woods: He hasn't come close in the Open, but his two recent wins show the 23-year-old superstar is ready to win another major. Given the shot-making that lends itself to Pinehurst, this could be Augusta '97 revisited.

Ernie Els: The 29-year-old South African is not having his best season, yet two Open titles and two other top 10 finishes should revive his confidence.

Colin Montgomerie: Has four second-place finishes in majors, three of them coming at the Open. Given his skirmishes with Open fans, he won't be the people's choice.

Jose Maria Olazabal: Has authored one of the most inspirational comebacks in golf history, his victory at this year's Masters coming after a foot problem nearly forced him to retire.

Tom Lehman: The Open has been more bitter than sweet for Lehman, a tournament in which he played well enough to finish in the top five in each of the past four years, yet not well enough on Sunday to win.

Davis Love III: Given his roots in this state -- he was born in Charlotte and went to school in Chapel Hill -- the former PGA champion will be another sentimental favorite. But winning here might be too emotional for Love.

David Duval: He might have been at the top of the list had he not sustained burns on his right hand last weekend. Still, four victories this season and 11 in the past 2 1/2 years make Duval a player to beat every week.

The dark horses

Scott Hoch: Long remembered for missing a 2 1/2-foot putt to lose the 1989 Masters to Nick Faldo in sudden death, this native North Carolinian has three top 10 finishes in the Open in the past four years.

Jeff Maggert: While most of Maggert's status as the No. 3 player on the PGA Tour's money list is a result of his $1 million payday at the Andersen World Match Play Championship, his lack of emotion will play well over four days.

The long shot

Corey Pavin: His short game has saved him from losing his mind, if not his card, during his two-year slump. Memories of Shinnecock four years ago might be enough to push him over the hump.

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