The US Open is by far, the best tournament on the golf calendar. It showcases the strongest and toughest golfers on a course that brings Fed Ex Cup hopefuls to their knees. This year should be no exception.
There is plenty of drama leading up to the event. Tiger won a couple weeks ago, and is playing some of his best golf since getting his bionic knee repaired; Phil is trying to keep his mind out of his way with his wife battling a tougher fight than Bethpage; Sergio returns to the course where fans opened up to him so much that he saluted them…with his middle finger in 2002(I love New York), and Brian Gay tries to keep his dream season going with another win.
The elements will be a factor again at Bethpage as Thursday’s round will be plagued with heavy rain, and the outlook is gloomy the rest of the weekend as well. So who will rise above the rain, the 7,445 yard course, the NY fans, and the overall pressure of the biggest championship in golf to take the trophy?
Well, here’s my Nostradamus-like shot at picking the contenders:
My Four Horsemen:
I will never not pick Tiger. In any golf event he is the favorite. He drove the ball better than he has in years (maybe ever) at the Memorial. He has switched to a 10 degree driver and it has paid off. Woods also showed that he still has the balls to take a tournament with his precise approach shot on 18 two sundays ago. If Tiger is still on, then no one else has a chance… He could run away with this.
Camilo is a strange little Colombian dude with a strange little Colombian swing, and a strange giant Red Bull buckle, but he keeps on putting up good scores and reminding Anthony Kim of what he could be if he didn’t drink Busch Light all day instead of practicing.
Camilo hits it long and hits greens. He tends to run out of energy by Saturday, though, because he exerts himself by flexing every time a camera walks by. It may be his time for a major victory.
It is Quiros’s first US Open, and nobody knows who the hell he is, but he is basically a Bubba Watson, Sergio, Camilo Villegas hybrid. Sergio because he’s Spanish, Camilo because he’s a prettyboy, and Bubba because he hits it 8 miles and wears big hats.
This guy averages over 315 yds off the tee. If he hits it straight, he has a chance. He has one win on the European tour this year (3 career), but has yet to be a factor on tour here in the States. Watch out for the straw hat.
Keeping with my theme of long hitters, Watney is a big lanky American with a great swing having a breakout season. He almost took down Phil earlier in ’09. He has 3 top 10’s this year and has only missed 2 cuts. His tee time (1:14pm 1st hole) will be a fun one to watch, with all three guys JB Holmes, Watney, and Quiros capable of quarter mile drives.
Others names I wanna Drop:
David Toms, John Merrick, and Paul Casey.
ESPN is talking a lot about Ian Poulter. That would be a victory for hair gel and visor-wearers everywhere.
Is there a potential Francis Ouimet in the field?
Well, there never will be again, but if you want me to pick an amateur I have to go with Rickie Fowler. He definitely has the game, but I doubt he has the mental ability to make the cut at Bethpage. He dropped a 66 at the FBR earlier this year proving he can play with the tour guys and made the cut last year at the open, but this is not sunny California.
Best Potential Storylines:
There are a lot of them. Kenny Perry coming back after his miraculous choke at the Masters to become the oldest major champion would be nice, Tiger winning is always good, Rocco beating Tiger will never happen but it would be pretty damn cool, but I think the outcome most are rooting for (other than Sergio running out of golf balls by the third hole Thursday) is for a Phil Mickelson victory.
Phil is going through a whole lot right now, and handling everything really well. Mickelson will be the favorite among the New York fans, and is even turning people who are usually not big Phil guys into fans. A Mickelson vistory would be a great storyline. I still hate Bones, though.
My 1,000 to 1 shot:
Adam Scott pulls his head out of his ass (Or Kate Hudson’s) and takes the Open.
The Masters is great early in the season, and Augusta is beautiful. The Open Championship often gives golfers hell, and makes them play a game they’re not used to. No one really cares about the PGA Championship, but the US Open is the most grueling, physically and mentally demanding challenge in golf year in and year out.
I almost made a pilgrimmage down to Long Island this weekend, but seeing as I’m broke and have HD I will do what we all should do. Put some Pabst in a cooler, find a nice chair and prepare the mute button for Jim Nantz. Count the mentions of Johnny Miller’s 63 in 1973 and enjoy Faldo talking about Poulter’s hair. Lets hope for bad weather and pure irons, and this should be a fun weekend.