Or, just "The Open" for true golf aficionados.
Yes, the All-Star Game is tonight, but, golf starts Thursday with the third of its four majors. And, even as a long, long baseball fan, Bud Selig's various shenanigans have made me less interested in the ASG every passing year, anyway.
So, on to Royal Liverpool!
My hunch favorite is that young "Ulsterman," as American media likes to call him, Rory McIlroy. Tis true that he's said he doesn't like links golf a lot, but, the fairways and greens are green enough to be semi-American at Hoylake this week. Now, Rory just needs to stop imploding on Fridays. He's been solid in general, even with that. He knows this is his week to put it all together.
It is supposed to rain during the week. Now, if it's more of an American-type soaker, that could help Rory. If it's a classic British Open gale, who knows?
That said, Weather.com's forecast calls for 16mph winds on Friday, lesser ones otherwise. I usually use Weather Underground but, while much of that site's recent update is great, the wind speed part is not. Anyway, WU is using the word "thunderstorm," not just "rain" as a possibility on Friday, so stay tuned.
My second choice is Justin Rose, who played himself into this position by winning the Scottish Open. A shot at the world No. 1 ranking, if not after this week, then soon, would be at stake. So would putting himself in talk for the future with a second major. And, a third win overall would push him past Martin Kaymer and others for Player of the Year rankings.
Kaymer is in my top 10, though not necessarily my third choice. He's familiar with European playing conditions, but a semi-American Hoylake might benefit him.
Jason Day is "due" for a majors breakthrough, and seemingly recovered from his thumb injury, but so far, he's not had a humongous track record at the Open.
Adam Scott's been consistent this year, but mid-level consistent. I see him in the mix, but not winning.
Other than Rose, I'm not holding my breath on any English golfers. From Northern Ireland, I expect Graeme McDowell to put himself in the top 20, at least.
And, I'll continue to mention Sergio Garcia as a sentimental choice until he either finally wins a major or else turns 40.
That said, the really sentimental pick would be John Singleton. Read here for the story of a non-pro forklift operator making his dream come true just by qualifying.
That guy some call Red Shirt? I'll give you 50-50 odds he misses the cut. I find it interesting, also, a recent anecdote Steve Williams told, that Red Shirt, at least when Williams was his caddie, was bad at judging distances, and distance-club issues, so Williams would regularly give him overlength yardage estimates.