Ranking the top 50 in the British Open

Originally Published: July 15, 2009
By Jason Sobel |

TURNBERRY, Scotland -- Ask three players to divulge the secret to success on this four-time Open Championship venue, and you're bound to hear three different answers.

"It definitely suits somebody who's going to drive the ball very well," said Padraig Harrington, the two-time defending champion.

Best Ball Challenge

"You have to hit your irons well," said three-time winner Tiger Woods.

"You just need to stay out of [the bunkers] the whole week," said Ian Poulter, last year's runner-up.

Well, that clears up … absolutely nothing. So, players will need to hit the ball far and straight off the tee, then hit plenty of greens in regulation? I assume that making some putts may be of some benefit, too, huh?

The fact is, on a course that hasn't hosted the Open since 1994 and has been lengthened 247 yards since then (to 7,204 on the scorecard), the great unknown continues to prevail in the days leading up to the opening round. With that in mind, I've used recent results, previous Open experiences and, as always, plenty of hunches in predicting the top 50 players at this week's tournament.

Jason Sobel is a golf writer for He can be reached at

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Golf Editor,
Jason Sobel, who joined ESPN in 1997, earned four Sports Emmy awards as a member of ESPN's Studio Production department. He became's golf editor in July 2004.