The 2nd major championship of the year is here, the U.S. Open. There are many intriguing story lines coming into this week.
The tournament is held at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. This course is a par-70 which measures out at 7,170 yards. The course is a wonderful tree lined track which will be set up with deep rough and hard greens. Like most Opens, accuracy and precision in the ball striking will be critical, and distance control putting difficult.
An interesting hole to watch will be one of two par-5's on the course, the 16th. The hole measures at 670 yards. Can Bubba Watson or perhaps Dustin Johnson reach it in two?
I'm going to post a light commentary on a few notable players in the field this week below.
Tiger Woods has won twice this year, but at other times his swing has been erratic. Will the changes Tiger has been working on "take" under the pressure and difficulty of U.S. Open conditions? Tiger is a 6/1 favorite in Vegas.
Rory McIlory has struggled the past several weeks but finally made a cut at last week's FedEx St. Jude Classic. He did contend, but finished a few spots back in the field after knocking his final tee shot in the water left of the fairway. Will Rory be able to successfully defend his title? Or is the bigger question "will he make the cut?"
Phil Mickelson's aggressive style has put him in contention to win U.S. Opens, and then dashed his hopes of winning U.S. Opens. This tournament is probably the hardest of the four majors for Phil's style. Can he put it together and finally record a U.S. Open victory? Or will he even make the cut?
Luke Donald has occupied the #1 world ranking for most of the last year. Despite the #1 ranking, Donald has yet to win a major championship. Donald's game is one of superior ball striking and accuracy off the tee with excellent putting. That type of game is perfect for a U.S. Open. Will Luke finally get the proverbial monkey off his back?
#3 ranked player in the world Lee Westwood is coming off a dominant win on the European Tour last week. Lee is another one of the possible "best players to have never won a major" along with Donald. Putting has been Westwood's issue. With ball striking as solid as he has, a hot putter could net him a major victory.
Jason Dufner is on a pace to win PGA Tour player of the year with two wins and a couple of near misses. Dufner has the game and the calm demeanor to win a high pressure tournament like the U.S. Open.
After winning the Masters, Bubba Watson took some time off. Upon his return he missed a cut. Is Bubba ready to win a 2nd major?
In U.S. Opens there always seem to be dark-horse players who rise up and contend, sometimes winning. Who will it be this year?
The featured group for Thursday and Friday is a biggie. The feature group is none other than Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson. Those of you in the gallery, good luck finding a good spot.