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SI ONCE AGAIN CONVENED A PANEL OF GOLF EXPERTS—SENIOR WRITERS MICHAEL BAMBERGER, DAMON HACK, ALAN SHIPNUCK AND GARY VAN SICKLE AS WELL AS SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR JOHN GARRITY—AND A PGA TOUR PRO (WHO PARTICIPATED ON THE CONDITION OF ANONYMITY) TO ADDRESS THESE AND OTHER QUESTIONS
TURN PAGE AND OPEN GATEFOLD
Van Sickle: We've been talking up the Europeans all year. How about the Americans for a change? Can a Team USA guy win the Open this year and break the string of four straight foreign-born major winners?
Bamberger: I've got the most likely American to win—Luke Donald of Chicago.
Van Sickle: He did go to Northwestern.
Garrity: The answer is yes, an American can win. Anybody can win. It's the Open. It's the event that has no regard for your form or reputation. Just look at the last few winners. It's as random as being hit by lightning. You have Tiger and a guy we hardly know from New Zealand, players from Australia and Argentina and Northern Ireland, and Jim Furyk and Lucas Glover. None of those guys went in as the favorite.
Shipnuck: Phil Mickelson is the most likely American. He could've won six Opens by now. But he's still on zero.
Bamberger: I'm more inclined to go with someone who drives the ball high and super straight. Who is today's Lee Janzen-slash-Scott Simpson?
Van Sickle: That'd be Nick Watney.