Fast.  Firm.  Windy.  Wet.  Challenging.  Quirky.  Fescue.  Frustrating.  All of these words are fitting to describe a British Open, no matter the place the great Open Championship is played at.  This year, the site is Muirfield Village.  Here is an Open Championship preview.How to win a British Open at Muirfield:  Stay out of the bunkers (especially the island bunker on #18), hit it low beneath the winds, stick around on the weekend and like all majors, make putts.

The defending champ:  Ernie Els.  Els won the Open last year at Lytham when Adam Scott bogeyed the final four holes and ironically won the famous tournament in 2002 at Muirfield.  So Els is defending two things, the Open itself and Muirfield from 11 years ago.

All eyes on Tiger:  Tiger Woods hasn't won a major in five years.  He says the elbow is fine and will not be an issue.  Woods was a big favorite to win the British Open this year because he is as creative as anyone on tour and can keep the driver in the bag at the Open, going with that famous 2-iron stinger which keeps his ball in play more.  But now, with the elbow, not playing since the U.S. Open and his up-and-down-game since the beginning of the year, Woods winning the Open would be somewhat of a surprise.  Woods shot an 81 during Round 3 at Muirfield in 2002 to end his Open hopes.  That will be on his mind as well.

Demanding greatness:  Typically, Muirfield winners are the cream of the crop.  The last six winners are Nick Faldo (twice), Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

Fun fact:  Muirfield will draw its sand from an outside source for the first time in British Open history.

The pick:  Graeme McDowell.  He is a streaky player but a darn good one and he is playing well right now.  The Northern Irishmen has played all over the world and can handle all conditions.  He is a grinder.  He loves tough tests.  McDowell won the U.S. Open in 2010 at Pebble Beach and is primed to win another major at a tough place like Muirfield Village.

By:  Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike," M-F 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.  Follow him on Twitter at