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The 11 golfers who most need to win the British Open

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Tiger Woods needs to play well at a major. (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods needs to play well at a major. (Getty Images)

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Of course nobody necessarily "needs" a British Open and yet at the same time everyone needs a British Open. It is, professionally speaking, a life-changing event.

I want to talk about the stars today, though, the ones for whom it would mean the most historically when we're looking back at the 2014 British Open 50 years from now.

Which of those would it mean the most to?

Here's my list:

1. Tiger Woods: The drought is getting almost comical at this point. Think back to July 2008. I could have gotten 10,000-to-1 odds on Tiger not winning another major before the 2014 British Open. Then I could have bet $5 and taken all your money.

He needs it, the sport needs it, everyone needs it.

2. Sean Foley: I'm not sure if Foley is technically considered a golfer, but to the degree that Tiger engulfs the entire golf world, I have to include him on this list. Woods hasn't closed at a major under him, and with each passing major the rumblings grow louder that Tiger isn't as creative as he used to be or as fun on the course as he once was.

Thankfully, Foley has that 2013 US Open win from Justin Rose to fall back on, right?

3. Lee Westwood: Let's be frank here for a second -- I don't not root. But if Lee Westwood is in the mix down the stretch on Sunday with the entire kingdom willing him home, I'm not going to not pull for that. Neither are you.

He'll be jacked, too. Hitting moon balls and such.

4. Jason Day: At some point he has to turn that zero into a one in terms of major championship wins. Would you be more surprised if Jason Day never won a major or if Tiger Woods never won another major? I think I'd be more surprised about Day as he has finished in the top eight in four of his last six majors.

Side note: if Angel Cabrera, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Charl Schwartzel were never born, Jason Day would be a four-time major winner.

5. Sergio Garcia: Sergio needs a major like Pat Riley needs a stiff drink. Badly.

6. Adam Scott: The suave Australian needs to prove his mettle as the No. 1 player on the planet. He's been good in the first few majors this season but not elite. He needs to be elite. A second major would vault him from "hey, good player in a great generation" to "we can start talking about the hall of fame" status.

7. Graeme McDowell: Oh boy, the Guinness would never stop flowing if McDowell could pour it from the Claret Jug. I think we would remember him so differently if he were able to pull off the double Open feat with a US and a British. Running out of time, though.

8. Justin Rose: Sort of the same thing as Scott. We can start talking about him historically if he wins a second major. His only top 10 at a British Open, though, is when he played as an amateur in 1998.

9. Rory McIlroy: I keep writing that McIlroy is the most talented golfer in the world and he keeps going out and proving me wrong. Maybe he just needs a major to get the train towards legendary status back on the track. Or a model. But probably a major.

Also, I'm hopeful he doesn't do this too many times this year:

10. Ian Poulter: Can you imagine the crazy eyes we'd see from Poulter if he, say, chipped in on No. 18 to beat Dustin Johnson by a shot next Sunday? Our TVs would break.

11. Phil Mickelson: He was much higher on this list last year, but that Claret Jug sort of validated who he is as an all-around golfer. If he wins another one he probably moves into the definitive all-time top 10 golfers list, but the real prize for him, obviously, is the Open on this side of the pond.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

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