SportsNation Blog ArchivesSN Blog Archives Ernie Els

The first two majors of the season saw first-time winners of golf's biggest tournaments -- with Adam Scott at The Masters and Justin Rose at the U.S. Open. Will this week's The Open Championship be the third straight new winner? Or will someone like reigning winner Ernie Els or Tiger Woods capture another title? The 14-time major winner Woods has not played since the U.S. Open due to an elbow injury. Submit your rankings now!

Top Open Contenders

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods
World Ranking: No. 1

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy
World Ranking: No. 2

Justin Rose

Justin Rose

Justin Rose
World Ranking: No. 3

Adam Scott

Adam Scott

Justin Rose
World Ranking: No. 4

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson
World Ranking: No. 5

Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar
World Ranking: No. 6

Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell
World Ranking: No. 7

Brandt Snedeker

Brandt Snedeker

Brandt Snedeker
World Ranking: No. 8

Luke Donald

Luke Donald

Luke Donald
World Ranking: No. 9

Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker
World Ranking: No. 10

Louis Oosthuizen

Louis Oosthuizen

Louis Oosthuizen
World Ranking: No. 11

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood
World Ranking: No. 12

Ernie Els

Ernie Els

Ernie Els
World Ranking: No. 13

Charl Schwartzel

Charl Schwartzel

Charl Schwartzel
World Ranking: No. 14

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia
World Ranking: No. 15

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson
World Ranking: No. 16

Jason Day

Jason Day

Jason Day
World Ranking: No. 17

Keegan Bradley

Keegan Bradley

Keegan Bradley
World Ranking: No. 18

Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson
World Ranking: No. 19

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter
World Ranking: No. 20

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Ernie Els recovered from a six-shot deficit in the final round of the Open Championship to win his fourth career major, his first since 2007. But was his comeback victory a bigger story than Adam Scott letting a four-shot lead slip away?

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Whether you call it the Open Championship, the British Open, or the thing with all the gorse, the oldest major in golf is back. And so is the man who may eventually hold more major titles than anyone since the first Scot grabbed a niblick and knocked his feathery stiff (that last sentence was actually suitable for family consumption, believe it or not).

Tiger Woods is back after a year's injury-induced hiatus from the British Open, and the tournament is back at Turnberry in Scotland for the first time since before he turned pro.

Not surprisingly, Woods is SportsNation's favorite against the field, although the close call in voting is more evidence we're not convinced he's as good as ever after knee surgery.

But Woods is not the only new face at the top of the expectations leaderboard. SportsNation's top five for last year's tournament went as follows: Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Adam Scott and Jim Furyk. Mickelson is absent for family reasons, but of the other four, only Furyk remains in the 'Nation's early top five this year.

jetsrunway

I have a hard time calling [Tiger's first-round playing partner] Ishi a "phenom." He's been nothing exciting on the PGA Tour ... Winning on the Japan Tour is nice, but it's still the Japan Tour. I wish it was Tiger, Paul Casey, and Rory Mcilroy ... That'd be an exciting group. With this grouping ... I see Westwood shooting average rounds, Ryo missing the cut, and Tiger playing great.

-- JETsrunway
RoMizzou

[Wojciechowski's] article describes how I feel about the Open. The history, the quirkiness, the weather ... it the ultimate experience for a golf nut like myself. I look forward to the day when I can see the Open Championship in person.

-- RoMizzou

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