’s experts make their 2007 British Open picks

1 of 7 Robert Beck/SI
Cameron Morfit Senior Writer, GOLF Magazine Pick: K.J. Choi Choi is my favorite because he drives it so damn straight, and he's probably the hottest player in the game at the moment. He's pretty much fearless when he gets around the lead, and the next logical step in his career is to win a major. Also, I'm not impressed by the recent play of the usual suspects (Tiger, Phil and the rest). Dark horse: Hunter Mahan Mahan is my dark horse because absolutely no one expects him to win, and I liked his fire in winning the Travelers. He's also first in the Tour’s total driving statistic, which combines distance and accuracy, and Carnoustie's fairways are famously tough to hit.
2 of 7 Al Tielemans/SI
Gary Van Sickle Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated Pick: Angel Cabrera Maybe it's crazy to think a guy who had never won a major before last month is going to win back-to-back Opens, but he's an impressive player. He's got the length to dominate any course, and Carnoustie plays long. He's a terrific iron player — we saw that at Oakmont. The weakest part of his game is putting, and I think the typically slower greens at Carnoustie might be his cup of tea. Dark horse: Steve Stricker He hasn't even played in the British Open in five years, but he's been playing some of his best golf in '07. His runner-up finish at the AT&T Invitational was his second of the year. He was a contender at Oakmont until his putting blew up on the final nine. He's been driving it well, and he's normally an outstanding putter. I wonder how much cheese will fit in the Claret Jug?
3 of 7 Robert Beck/SI
John Garrity Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated Pick: Phil Mickelson There's no reason why Phil Mickelson can't win at Carnoustie. Well, actually, there may be several reasons, the most obvious being the wrist injury that has hampered him for weeks. But Lefty's near victory in the Scottish Open should remind us that he can do some hurtin' if he isn't hurtin'. Butch Harmon's swing tweaks have given Phil plenty of confidence, and a confident Mickelson is a scary-good Mickelson. Dark horse: Ben Curtis My dark horse pick is Ben Curtis, the 2003 British Open champ, who continues to be dismissed as a fluke despite his two PGA Tour wins of 2006. Curtis hasn't done much lately, but he could be a latter-day Andy North, a very good player who got minimal respect for winning the U.S. Open twice.
4 of 7 John Biever/SI
David Dusek Deputy Editor, Pick: Jim Furyk Furyk hasn't made the cut in five of the last six Open Championships, but let's look past that. He finished fourth at Royal Liverpool last year, and the last time players faced Car-nasty, in 1999, he tied for 10th. Carnoustie is going to demand complete control off the tee and from the fairway, and no one has better control than the guy with the ugly swing. Furyk is starting to develop a reputation as a guy who is always in the running but never closes the deal. Winning the Claret Jug will end those discussions. Dark horse: Colin Montgomerie OK, I know what you're thinking: "How can the perennial hope of English golf at the Open Championship be a dark horse?" Because deep down, you don't really think that Monty is ever going to win a major because he's fallen apart and disappointed so often. But fate is a funny thing. Maybe, just maybe, now that most everyone has written off the man sometimes called "Mrs. Doubtfire," he can fulfill his destiny.
5 of 7 David Walberg
Michael Bamberger Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated Pick: Davis Love III My prediction is Davis M. Love III. Gamblers are reminded that I picked Davis to win the U.S. Open at Oakmont. He missed the cut. Still, my faith in him is unabated. I have watched him make swings for 20 years, and the swing is as good now as it was then. Dark horse: Davis Love III An off-the-radar contender? I'm going with Davis in that category, too. (Is he on your radar?) The greens at Carnoustie should suit him, and so should the low expectations.
6 of 7 John Biever/SI
Jim Gorant Senior Editor, Sports Illustrated (Golf Plus) Pick: Padraig Harrington Everyone always expects him to be a great bad-weather player because he's from Ireland, but that hasn't really been the case over his career. Still, I'm going with him because he's got game and he's twice won the Dunhill Links at Carnoustie. Dark horse: Robert Allenby With the tight fairways, nasty hazards and potential for weather, it's the kind of course where a great ballstriker who is not as strong a putter could prevail. Who fits that description? Sergio Garcia, Charles Howell, Adam Scott. Still, I'll go with Robert Allenby, because he's been playing well lately and he's got more experience.
7 of 7 PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Alan Shipnuck Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated Pick: Phil Mickelson Yeah, his sloppy finish at the Scottish Open evoked memories of his bungling of the L.A. Open, which had stirred the ghosts of Winged Foot. But Mickelson is a momentum player, and he made a ton of birdies at Loch Lomond, an inland course that is actually good prep for Carnoustie. More than any other track in the British Open rota, Carnoustie must be played through the air, as the front of almost every green is heavily bunkered. This is Phil's game. And with his season so far mostly a bust, expectations are lower than usual. We all know this guy is at his most dangerous when you count him out. Dark horse: Angel Cabrera Can the U.S. Open champ be considered a sleeper? Well, pre-Oakmont, Cabrera was one of the most overlooked talents in golf, so he's used to being taken for granted. He loves Carnoustie, having finished one shot out of the playoff in '99, and with his elevated confidence he's now a threat to win every time he tees it up.