’s Experts Make Their 2007 U.S. Open Picks

1 of 8 Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Cameron Morfit Senior Writer, GOLF Magazine Pick: Padraig Harrington I don't like Tiger, whose recent results have been too average (pathetic, actually, for him). If Phil's wrist is as bad as feared, this could be a wide-open Open. A brash, young player (Sean O'Hair or Ryan Moore) will contend for 36 or 54 holes, but this is the U.S. Open, where youthful indiscretion is punished severely. Geoff Ogilvy is playing well enough to defend his title, but he looked alarmingly susceptible to the big number at this year's Masters. Padraig Harrington is in the middle of a nice season, including an encouraging T7 at the Masters. He rebounded nicely from a 7 on the 18th hole in the third round at Winged Foot last year, but by his own admission got a little edgy Sunday when three closing pars would've won the thing. He's more seasoned now, and he's my pick to win. • See the latest news about Padraig Harrington
2 of 8 Chris Condon/PGA TOUR/
Michael Bamberger Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated Pick: Davis Love III I think Davis Love III will win the U.S. Open. Actually, I have no idea. What I'm really saying is I'd be deeply pleased to see Davis Love III win the U.S. Open. He represents much that is good in the game. I can think of few golfers less likely to spit in a cup (a la Sergio) or use performance-enhancing meds (no names owing to U.S. libel law). DL3 is one major victory shy of a Hall of Fame career. He won his PGA Championship at a manly course, Winged Foot, and it would be fitting to see him win another major at an equally manly course, Oakmont. By that logic, you should expect me to pick him for the British Open at Carnoustie. I may or may not do that, depending how decisive his win at Oakmont is. • See the latest news about Davis Love III
3 of 8 David Walberg/SI
John Garrity Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Pick: Vijay Singh My U.S. Open pick is Vijay Singh. He's already won three majors, and I see him as a career grand-slam quality player. Furthermore, he has a solid record in the event with seven top-10 finishes and ties for sixth the last two years. In fact, Vijay has finished out of the top 30 only once in 12 starts. So why not Vijay? Why not now? My dark horse pick is Geoff Ogilvy. What? How can the defending champ be a dark horse pick? Well, he's a dark horse because only four players have repeated at the Open. The last one was Curtis Strange in '88 and '89. • See the latest news about Vijay Singh
4 of 8 Fred Vuich/SI
Josh Sanburn GOLF Magazine Assistant Editor Pick: Adam Scott Last year, a young Aussie, Geoff Ogilvy, took the U.S. Open title as Phil Mickelson stumbled on the 72nd hole. By most predictions, that young Aussie should have been Adam Scott, who had been tapped as Australia's next great champion. Well, this year at Oakmont, Scott has the opportunity and the ability to make good on the PGA prognosticators. Sure, Scott had a disastrous Sunday finish in Memphis, but he has been playing very well lately. He tied for sixth at the star-studded Players and fifth at the Memorial. He's yet to miss a cut this year and has four top 10s. But how will he fare on Oakmont's wildly contoured greens? Scott's in the top 15 in putting average, and he's hitting 68 percent of greens in regulation. As long as he can steer clear of the U.S. Open's graduated rough, he'll make a legitimate run at a back-to-back Aussie victory. • See the latest news about Adam Scott
5 of 8 Fred Vuich/SI
David Dusek Deputy Editor Pick: Jim Furyk The straightest driver on the PGA Tour this season is also one of the game's toughest competitors. Jim Furyk's combination of accuracy off the tee, consistency from the fairway and touch on the greens should produce his second career U.S. Open title. The pace of play will be slow at Oakmont because players will be forced to study even the shortest putts, but Furyk is a grinder, a fighter, and the harder the course gets, the more his patience and focus will come into play. This Pennsylvania native's win will not be as big as Palmer's would have been back in 1962 (Arnie lost to Nicklaus in a Monday playoff), but the crowds will certainly be behind the man with the ugly swing. • See the latest news about Jim Furyk
6 of 8 Al Tieleman/SI
Alan Shipnuck Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Pick: Zach Johnson Everyone who predicted a Zach Slam at the start of the year, raise your hand. OK, neither did I, but his game is built for the U.S. Open. Presently Johnson is fourth on Tour in driving accuracy. Finding fairways is always crucial at the Open, but even more so this year, as the rough at Oakmont is so freak-nasty that even the USGA has begun crying foul. Johnson has built on his Masters breakthrough with fine play at Harbour Town, the ultimate ball-control course, and a win in Atlanta that looked almost too easy. No one comes in to the Open with more confidence or a sharper game. Memo to Mayor Bloomberg: It's not too early to start mapping out the ticker-tape parade. • See the latest news about Zach Johnson • Will success spoil the Tiger Woods of Iowa? • 5 Weird Questions with Zach Johnson • Complete Coverage of Zach Johnson's Masters victory • Video: Zach Johnson's favorite putting drill • Video: Stiff wedges like Zach Johnson
7 of 8 David Walberg/SI
Alan Bastable GOLF Magazine Senior Associate Editor Pick: Padraig Harrington As none of you will remember, the Dubliner was also my Players pick. He struggled at Sawgrass but still made the cut (his ninth cut made in nine attempts this year in the States), and a week later won his own country's Open, sending Ireland into a stout-toasting frenzy. If Harrington can carry that buzz to Oakmont, he'll thrive. His U.S. Open record is imposing — since 2000, he has two top 5s and four top 10s — and he had a good chance to win the thing last year before his four-bogey finale. He's also a plodder, and plodders excel on long, tough, head-splitting layouts. It's Harrington's time. Ready the Guinness. • See the latest news about Padraig Harrington
8 of 8 David Walberg/SI
Gary Van Sickle Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Pick: Steve Stricker History suggests that the game's best players rise to the top when the Open comes to Oakmont — Hogan, Nicklaus, Miller. Tom Watson was the game's best in 1983, but Larry Nelson sank an unlikely 60-footer at the 16th. Colin Montgomerie was in his prime when he nearly won the '94 Open, and Ernie Els was no slouch, either. Oakmont is so demanding, only the best of the best can handle it. That would be Tiger Woods. He can't drive it in the fairway? It doesn't matter. He'll still find a way. And doesn't the thick rough around the greens play into his hands? With the exception of Phil Mickelson, no one is in Tiger's class when it comes to flop shots. But there is no sport in picking Tiger, so I'll go with Steve Stricker. He's played some of the best golf of his career for the last year. I think the Oakmont winner will be someone who drives it straight and putts great. That's Stricker, and this isn't his first time around the block. He's been on the board in majors and won't faint if he's in the lead. At 40, he's ready to win the big one. In the wake of Zach Johnson at the Masters, '07 could be the year of the Nice Guy Grand Slam. • See the latest news about Steve Stricker More from the U.S. Open • Holy Terror: A Hole-by-Hole Look at Oakmont • Magnificent seven: Oakmont's past champions • The Critic: Johnny Miller • Geoff Ogilvy: One Step Ahead