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2013 British Open Preview

by Photo of Scott Davis

Will another underdog scoop up the Claret Jug in its 142nd year?

2013 British Open Preview

The past five years of the British Open haven't had quite the fanfare that some of the media would prefer. That's not to say that the classic golf tournament hasn't produced some great storylines, but in the past five years, there hasn't been a single winner ranked in the top ten. For hardcore golf fans, the underdog stories of the recent winners produce some entertaining competition.

So, going into this year's Open -- held at Muirfield Golf Club in Scotland -- it is tough to try and accurately predict who will take home the trophy in the tournament's 142nd year. If the past five years are any indication, it probably won't be whomever is picked by experts.

However, early on, two names are receiving quite a bit of attention: Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els.

Els has won the Open twice in the past ten years, including the 2002 Open which also took place in Muirfield. The South African golfer took home last year's Open at Royal Lytham & St Annesand should have some momentum carrying into this year's tournament. His win in 2012 ended a ten-year Major title drought, but now he's returning to a course with which he's had success.

Mickelson, on the other hand, had been stuck in a runner-up phase until winning last week's Scottish Open in Inverness, north of Muirfield. Mickelson lost a heart-breaker at last month's U.S. Open, but rallied late in the Scottish Open to finally take home a trophy. He, too, has momentum heading into the Open and has some experience playing on some of golf's oldest courses -- which was evidently his plan for playing in the Scottish Open and preparing for the British Open.

There are other stories to watch, too. Tiger Woods is in a giant slump, having failed to win a Major in five years. Some folks believe he's done, especially given his recent elbow woes; but others think he's going to bust out of the slump and the Open may provide that opportunity.

Rory McIlroy isn't favored to win the Open, and his confidence has been lacking as he was recently seen testing out new drivers, searching for a new formula in his approach. Some experts believe that a few good holes to open the tournament could kick up his confidence.

Or it could be another unpredictable finish to the Open, with an unexpected winner holding up the trophy at the end of 18 holes. However, the champions of past Opens in Muirfield have been Hall of Fame-bound golfers like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Ernie Els.... Who will rise to the top this year?

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