TIPS FOR 2011

Seeing as this is the time of the year to dust off the crystal ball and look into the future, it’s never too early to take a look at — and pick the winners of — the four biggest tournaments of the upcoming season in men’s professional golf.

Of course we’re talking about the majors — The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., April 7-10; The U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., June 16-19; The Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, England, July 14-17; and the PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club in Atlanta Aug. 11-14.

Lee Westwood, the current No. 1 player in the world, wins his first major championship in the Open Championship. Royal St. George’s is a quirky, punishing course that 1999 Open champion Mark O’Meara says “is as hard a golf course as there is in the world if the weather turns nasty.”

This will be the 14th Open at Royal St. George’s, and only Bill Rogers in 1981, Greg Norman in 1993 and Ben Curtis in 2003 have finished under par while winning the Claret Jug.

Westwood enters 2011 with two ties for third and two runner-up finishes in his past five majors. With all the tools needed to win a major, all Westwood needs to do is break through the door. He does so at Royal ST. George’s.