Time to make a prediction for this week's Byron Nelson Classic. The Big 4+1 - Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, plus Retief Goosen - are all in the field, as are most of the other top players in the world. Plenty of names to choose from.
One name that comes to mind first is Jim Furyk, who is due to break through with his first win since 2003. He's been playing great this year, and was part of the 3-way Wachovia playoff last week.
But I'm going with someone else, and yes, it's one of the biggies: Ernie Els. Now, personally, I think Els is just a smidge below Vijay, Tiger and Phil, both in current terms and on a career basis. His doesn't win as much on the PGA Tour (mainly, but not wholly, a function of the fact that he doesn't play as much on the PGA Tour), and his stats are usually just a wee bit off of those of the other three. It's a tiny distinction, and Els will certainly retire as one of the Top 50 golfers of all time, perhaps even one of the Top 30 if he can grab another major or two. (Tiger will retire as No. 1, Mickelson in the Top 20, and Singh in the Top 25.)
Ernie's American outings have yet to produce a victory in 2005, surely a disappointment for him. Especially disappointing was his showing at The Masters, where illness prevented him from even sniffing contention. But he's been en fuego in Europe over his last couple tournaments, running away from the competition two weeks ago. True, it's easier for a great player to win on the European Tour because the European Tour isn't as strong as the U.S. Tour. But Els' scores would win on any tour.
And his scores will win at the Byron Nelson Classic this week. Fitting, because he's a Byron Nelson kind of guy. You can make your own predictions by clicking on the "Comments" link below.