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2012 British Open Top Player Biographies
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Luke DonaldBritish Open Stats

Age: 34
Country: England
World Rank: 1st
Appearances: 11
Cuts Made: 5
Rounds played: 32
2011 Finish: Missed Cut
Best Finish: T5 (2009)
Low Round: 67 (R4 - '09)
Scoring Average: 72.87
Money Won: $475,058
The world's No. 1 player is still majorless after basically a year atop the ranking perch. While he's won twice worldwide this year, Donald struggled in the majors. He didn't contend at Augusta, and missed the cut at Olympic Club. This past weekend, he tied for 16th at the Scottish Open. Donald didn't compete at the 2001 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Time for the Englishman to either perform like the game's best or just be a guy who wins three regular events a year.
Rory McIlroyBritish Open Stats

Age: 23
Country: Northern Ireland
World Rank: 2nd
Appearances: 4
Cuts Made: 4
Rounds played: 16
2011 Finish: T25
Best Finish: T3 (2010)
Low Round: 63 (R1 '10)
Scoring Average: 71.50
Money Won: $478,732
The 2011 U.S. Open champion looked unstoppable at the start of the year with six top-5 finishes in his first six starts. Since, McIlroy has admitted his practice habits have been lacking and he's missed four cuts in his last six starts. It hasn't been a great season in big events for McIlroy with a tie for 40th at the Masters and missed cuts at both the Players and U.S. Open. It's simply a question of which Rory shows up. If it's the guy who was spectacular in the first half of the year, he could match that 63 he had at St. Andrews two years ago. If it's the more recent Rory, he and girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki can sightsee on the weekend.
Lee WestwoodBritish Open Stats

Age: 39
Country: England
World Rank: 3rd
Appearances: 17
Cuts Made: 12
Rounds played: 58
2011 Finish: Missed Cut
Best Finish: 2nd (2010)
Low Round: 67
(Three times - most recent R1 '10)
Scoring Average: 72.32
Money Won: $1,819,159
Westwood injured his right groin and knee slipping on the way to the first tee two weeks ago Saturday at the Open de France. He played on Sunday and did fine and with a week off, should be alright for the British Open. Played in last two Opens at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, but didn't contend at either. Finished second two years ago, but it was a country mile behind Louis Oosthuizen. Has been in the top 10 in both majors this year. The clock is ticking on Westwood's major chances. He's not an old man, but he's had plenty of opportunities. Any chance of winning a major will rely on his short game, which abandons him sometimes.
Tiger WoodsBritish Open Stats

Age: 36
Country: USA
World Rank: 4th
Appearances: 15
Cuts Made: 14
Rounds played: 58
2011 Finish: Did Not Play
Best Finish: 1st (2000, 2005, 2006)
Low Round: 65
(Three times - most recent R2 '06)
Scoring Average: 70.56
Money Won: $4,405,793
Woods is a three-time winner of the claret jug, but his record at this event has been spotty of late. He missed last year's tournament and the 2008 edition with injury and missed the cut in 2009. Woods played the last two Opens at this venue and finished in the top 25 both times, including in 1996 as an amateur. Picked up his third win of the year at the AT&T National three weeks ago, but missed the cut, and looked disinterested in doing so at the Greenbrier Classic two weeks ago. Before both of this year's majors, Woods won, but played indifferently in the corresponding major. Shared the 36-hole lead at the U.S. Open, but went 75-73 on the weekend to tie for 21st. Really tough to predict what we will see from Woods. Really tough.
Bubba WatsonBritish Open Stats

Age: 33
Country: USA
World Rank: 6th
Appearances: 3
Cuts Made: 1
Rounds played: 8
2011 Finish: T30
Best Finish: T30 (2011)
Low Round: 69 (R1 '11)
Scoring Average: 73.00
Money Won: $56,374
Watson won the Masters thumping it all over the lot at Augusta National, but that won't work at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. He will need to be creative, which isn't a big problem for Bubba. Missed the cut at the U.S. Open and hasn't shown an affinity for playing golf in Europe. Hard to imagine much in the way of a high finish for Watson this week.
Jason DufnerBritish Open Stats

Age: 35
Country: USA
World Rank: 7th
Appearances: 2
Cuts Made: 0
Rounds played: 4
2011 Finish: Missed Cut
Best Finish: Missed Cut
Low Round: 72 (R2 - '11)
Scoring Average: 75.25
Money Won: $8,160
Dufner has little experience at the Open Championship, but he's not the same player he was in years past. He won twice this season and shared the 36-hole lead at the Masters before a disastrous weekend. Dufner tied for fourth very quietly at the U.S. Open. He's top 15 in both driving accuracy and greens in regulation. Can't discount him in any tournament at this stage of his career.
Matt KucharBritish Open Stats

Age: 34
Country: USA
World Rank: 8th
Appearances: 7
Cuts Made: 1
Rounds played: 16
2011 Finish: Missed Cut
Best Finish: T27 (2010)
Low Round: 69 (R4 - '10)
Scoring Average: 73.75
Money Won: $68,807
Kuchar is in the midst of yet another consistently strong season. He won the Players, hasn't missed a cut on tour, but has a pitiful record at the Open Championship. Hard to explain his lack of even mediocrity in this event. Kuchar is 11th on tour in greens in regulation, but that stat means less at the British Open. Balls bounce off putting surfaces and land in odd spots. Can't count on anything from Kuch based on recent history.
Justin RoseBritish Open Stats

Age: 31
Country: England
World Rank: 9th
Appearances: 10
Cuts Made: 7
Rounds played: 34
2011 Finish: T44
Best Finish: T4 (1998)
Low Round: 66 (R2 '98)
Scoring Average: 72.58
Money Won: $342,670
Rose finished in the top 10 two weeks ago in France and has been steady all year. He leads the Race to Dubai on the European Tour and hasn't matched his epic finish at Royal Birkdale in 1998, his first British Open. He's on the border of becoming a true star in the sport and this could be where we see it. Rose is a big player this week and is someone to watch out for.
Hunter MahanBritish Open Stats

Age: 30
Country: USA
World Rank: 10th
Appearances: 7
Cuts Made: 4
Rounds played: 22
2011 Finish: Missed Cut
Best Finish: T6 (2007)
Low Round: 65 (R4 '07)
Scoring Average: 72.13
Money Won: $435,435
Mahan has two PGA Tour victories this year, but none since the week before the Masters. He's missed the cut in three of the last four British Opens. A fairways and greens machine, but, as we established with players like Kuchar, that doesn't always translate into success at the Open.
Graeme McDowellBritish Open Stats

Age: 32
Country: Northern Ireland
World Rank: 12th
Appearances: 8
Cuts Made: 5
Rounds played: 26
2011 Finish: Missed cut
Best Finish: T11 (2005)
Low Round: 66 (R1 '06)
Scoring Average: 72.42
Money Won: $325,311
The 2010 U.S. Open champion has three runner-up finishes this year, including one at the U.S. Open, where he had a putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Webb Simpson. Quietly tied for 12th at the Masters as well. McDowell has a major pedigree game, but this has never been his event. After top-20 finishes in his last two events in Europe, McDowell is a nice choice this week. If he doesn't put too much pressure on himself, McDowell could easily find his name on the claret jug.
Adam ScottBritish Open Stats

Age: 31
Country: Australia
World Rank: 13th
Appearances: 12
Cuts Made: 8
Rounds played: 40
2011 Finish: T25
Best Finish: T8 (2006)
Low Round: 68
(Three times - most recent R1 '06)
Scoring Average: 72.20
Money Won: $549,028
Scott hasn't had much of a year to speak of, but he does have two quiet top-15s in the two majors. The Aussie hasn't contended much at the Open Championship and he hasn't had much success finding fairways this year. He ranks 104th on the PGA Tour and it's hard to find a big reason to like him this week, other than the fact that he's one of the most talented golfers in the world.
Steve StrickerBritish Open Stats

Age: 45
Country: USA
World Rank: 14th
Appearances: 12
Cuts Made: 10
Rounds played: 44
2011 Finish: T12
Best Finish: T7 (2008)
Low Round: 64 (R3 '07)
Scoring Average: 72.40
Money Won: $628,654
Stricker won the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions and has had a few top-10s since, including a tie for fifth this past weekend at the John Deere Classic, where he was the three-time defending champion. But other than that, he hasn't done much this year. He's battling a neck injury, but has still played a relatively full schedule. Had a good run at the British Opens in 2007 and 2008, but not much since. Stricker played in the last two Opens at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, but did not do better than a tie for 22nd and that came 16 years ago.
Martin KaymerBritish Open Stats

Age: 27
Country: Germany
World Rank: 15th
Appearances: 4
Cuts Made: 4
Rounds played: 16
2011 Finish: T12th
Best Finish: T7 (2010)
Low Round: 68
(Two times - most recent R1 '11)
Scoring Average: 72.06
Money Won: $368,268
Kaymer's in a bit of a career slump at the moment. He's fallen pretty far in the world rankings after peaking at No. 1 last year. Yes, Kaymer has three top 10s worldwide, but the last came the week after the Masters. If he can break out of it, the German has as good an all-around game as anyone, but there's no real evidence to support a comeback notion in this stalled 2012 campaign.
Phil MickelsonBritish Open Stats

Age: 42
Country: USA
World Rank: 16th
Appearances: 18
Cuts Made: 15
Rounds played: 66
2011 Finish: T2
Best Finish: T2 (2011)
Low Round: 66
(Two times - most recent R2 '04)
Scoring Average: 72.28
Money Won: $1,556,237
Who knows what we will get from Lefty this week? After a great run at the start of the season, which featured a win and a playoff loss, Mickelson has been inconsistent. In the final pairing of the Masters on Sunday, Mickelson did not romp to his fourth green jacket; a 72 wasn't enough and he tied for third. Since, Mickelson has one top 10 and barely made the cut at the U.S. Open. He missed the cut at the Greenbrier and turned in some solid rounds at the Scottish Open, where he tied for 16th. Mickelson was a co-runner-up last year at Royal St. George's, but this style of play has never been Lefty's strong suit. Expectations are low, but Mickelson has dazzled us before.
Dustin JohnsonBritish Open Stats

Age: 28
Country: USA
World Rank: 17th
Appearances: 3
Cuts Made: 2
Rounds played: 10
2011 Finish: T2
Best Finish: T2 (2011)
Low Round: 68
(Two times - most recent R3 '11)
Scoring Average: 71.60
Money Won: $780,936
After missing significant time with a knee injury, Johnson came back strong with a win in his second start, the St. Jude Classic. He's longer than any golfer in the world not nicknamed Bubba and he displayed last year that he can compete in links golf. He was in the final group with Darren Clarke and imploded a bit, but still shared second. Johnson has high finishes in three of the four major championships, and it's a matter of when, not if, Johnson gets a major title.
Louis OosthuizenBritish Open Stats

Age: 29
Country: South Africa
World Rank: 18th
Appearances: 5
Cuts Made: 2
Rounds played: 14
2011 Finish: T54
Best Finish: 1st (2010)
Low Round: 65 (R1 '10)
Scoring Average: 72.42
Money Won: $1,338,491
After his epic romp to the claret jug in 2010, Oosthuizen hit the shot of the year at the Masters with his double eagle. Granted, he lost the green jacket to Bubba Watson, but he won the following week in Malaysia. The South African has been in a bit of rut since the Malaysia title with four missed cuts in his last six starts worldwide. It's pretty simple with Oosthuizen: if he's motivated and the swing is working, he is a threat.
Rickie FowlerBritish Open Stats

Age: 23
Country: USA
World Rank: 20th
Appearances: 2
Cuts Made: 2
Rounds played: 8
2011 Finish: T5
Best Finish: T5 (2011)
Low Round: 67
(Two times - most recent R4 '10)
Scoring Average: 70.50
Money Won: $380,944
Fowler's British Open record is almost stunning. He has two top 15s in just two appearances and has seven out of eight rounds of 72 or better. Fowler is a new golfer this year with a playoff victory at the Wells Fargo Championship, then a tie for second at The Players. It's hard to be a dark-horse when you wear neon orange, but beware of Rickie Fowler this week.
Sergio GarciaBritish Open Stats

Age: 32
Country: Spain
World Rank: 23rd
Appearances: 15
Cuts Made: 12
Rounds played: 54
2011 Finish: T9
Best Finish: 2nd (2007)
Low Round: 65
(Two times - most recent R1 '07)
Scoring Average: 71.81
Money Won: $2,095,072
Short of Tiger Woods, Garcia may have the best British Open record in the field. He has seven top 10s and hasn't missed the cut since 2004 at Royal Troon. It's hard to imagine, but Garcia has played two Open Championships at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. In 1996, as an amateur, he missed the cut, but five years later, he shared ninth. Garcia hasn't missed any cuts this year and has enjoyed a surprisingly good season with the putter. Feels like it could finally be his year.
Ernie ElsBritish Open Stats

Age: 42
Country: South Africa
World Rank: 40th
Appearances: 21
Cuts Made: 18
Rounds played: 78
2011 Finish: Missed Cut
Best Finish: 1st (2002)
Low Round: 65 (R2 '06)
Scoring Average: 70.71
Money Won: $4,303,800
Despite missing the last two cuts at the Open Championship, it would be a mistake to look past the Big Easy. He has six top 10s this year, and no, he hasn't won, but he played gutsy golf all year, especially when he was trying to get into the Masters. That didn't work, but he took ninth at the U.S. Open and his British Open record is sterling. In addition to the victory in '02, Els has 12 top 10s, including four in a row before the two straight missed cuts. Two of those top 10s came at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Actually, those two finishes were top threes.
Darren ClarkeBritish Open Stats

Age: 43
Country: Northern Ireland
World Rank: 84th
Appearances: 20
Cuts Made: 16
Rounds played: 72
2011 Finish: Won
Best Finish: 1st (2011)
Low Round: 66 (R2 '97)
Scoring Average: 71.45
Money Won: $2,410,099
The defending champion comes in without a single top 15 this year. Clarke can take solace in knowing that his season numbers may not be great, but his record at this venue is stellar. He tied for 11th at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 1996, then five years later shared third. Hard to imagine much from the defender, but he's got good vibes working here.

World Rankings as of July 16th, 2012
Appearances are through the 2011 British Open
Photographs provided by Getty Images

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