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.