Greenbrier experts' picks

July, 3, 2012
07/03/12
11:29
AM ET
Each week of the season, our experts will share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: The Greenbrier Classic, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Horse for the Course


Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Steve Stricker
I know it's hard to call a guy who's never played an event a Horse, but in this case, it's fitting. It's a course similar to TPC Deere Run, and we all know the success he's had there. Expect a very good showing from Steve, especially after not having to deal with the heat of DC last week; he didn't play, so he'll be very well-rested and hydrated.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Stuart Appleby
In the 2010 Greenbrier Classic, the 41-year-old Australian shot a course-record 11-under-par 59 to win the tournament.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Brendon de Jonge
Although he had a poor final round at Congressional, de Jonge was in the final group. And he's played well at Greenbrier, posting a tie for fourth and a third-place in two appearances.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Brendon de Jonge
In the two years of the Greenbrier Classic, de Jonge owns a pair of top-4 finishes. Add in the fact that he held the 54-hole lead last week at the AT&T National and the Virginia Tech product should be wowing the West Virginia crowds all week.


Birdie Buster


Michael Collins: Tiger Woods
I can't pick him to win two weeks in a row, but I won't be surprised if he has a chance to win coming down the stretch on Sunday. I think it's going to be a little too hard to win at this course without ever playing it in competition.

Farrell Evans: Seung-Yul Noh
The 21-year-old South Korean is the Sean Foley student that you probably don't know. But he will become a household name if he continues showing up on leaderboards. In his last three starts, he has had a tie for 7th, a tie for 18th and a tie for fourth at the AT&T National.

Bob Harig: Tiger Woods
Playing at the Greenbrier for the first time, Woods is coming off a victory at the AT&T National, his third win in seven starts that put him atop the FedEx Cup standings.

Kevin Maguire: Marc Leishman
Coming off a T-32 at Congressional the week after earning his first PGA Tour win outside Hartford, the Aussie knows he needs birdies in bunches if he wants to play well this week. And he'll have more on his mind than just the Greenbrier Classic as he sits atop the mini-money list that gives the top two players a spot in the upcoming Open Championship.


Super Sleeper


Michael Collins: Chris Couch
Sometimes you just need to get to a comfortable place to get your game back in order. That's what Chris will be doing this week at the Greenbrier. He's been having a horrible year: 16 events, 7 cuts and only two top 25's. But believe me when I tell you, a week in the backwoods of West Virginia, where last year he finished 11th, will do Chris a world of good.

Farrell Evans: Billy Hurley III
Before his surprising tie for fourth last week at the AT&T National, the 30-year-old former Naval officer had missed six of his last seven cuts.

Bob Haig: Stuart Appleby
Since shooting a final-round 59 at the inaugural Greenbrier Classic two years ago, Appleby has not done much. He has just a single top-10 finish, and this year, he has missed eight cuts while not finishing better than 18th.

Kevin Maguire: Billy Hurley III
The Naval Academy grad who had his best career PGA Tour finish last week outside Washington, D.C., might be running on fumes & or he might be primed for a great stretch of golf that helps him secure his job for next season. After moving up 58 places on the money list (to No. 135) with his T-4 at Congressional -- and earning more than $250K in the process -- he still has some work left if he wants to remain on the PGA Tour in 2013.


Winner


Michael Collins: Bill Haas
Oh how quickly we forget last year's FedEx Cup winner. Oh yeah, he did already win once this year at the Northern Trust Open. But I guess when you miss four of your last six cuts, it makes it easy for people to forget how good you can be. It's OK though. After a couple weeks off after the U.S. Open, Haas gets his groove back at the perfect course for his game.

Farrell Evans: Tiger Woods
After passing Jack on the all-time wins list on Sunday at Congressional, the 74-time winner will edge closer to Sam Snead's tour-best 82 victories with his fourth win of the year, at Greenbrier.

Bob Harig: Bill Haas
A tough-luck loser in a playoff at the Greenbrier a year ago, Haas gets it done for his second victory of 2012.

Kevin Maguire: Tiger Woods
We're not at the point where Tiger's the favorite to win every tournament he plays, but after watching him last week at Congressional, it's hard to think anyone else could supplant him atop the leaderboard come Sunday.

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