Photo Credit: CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP
It’s the start of the U.S. Open. The best day of the year for most golfers because it means you’re even-par and tied with the rest of the field for at least a bit. But some golfers might as well go home now to save the embarrassment. Even though technically everyone in the field has the chance to raise the trophy on Sunday, only a select few really do.
First off, amateurs never win this championship. Never as in never since 1933. That’s 80 years ago.
Also some quick side notes, the champion has never been of Asian nationality, and only one has come from South America. 99 of the 112 champions have been from either the United States, Scotland, or England. So if you’re not from the U.S. or U.K. you have to try better than your best. So the rest of the world needs to bring their A-game.
The last back-to-back champion came in 1988-1989 and before that 1950-1951. So sorry Webb Simpson, but you’ll have to wait until at least next month at the Open Championship to take your second career major.
There are only 21 multiple-time U.S. Open champions and only six have won more than two. So Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell among others will have a tough challenge to become one of the select few on this list.
No one has won the first two majors of the year since 2002 when Tiger Woods did that. Adam Scott isn’t Tiger Woods, so good luck mate.
So everything points to Tiger Woods hoisting the U.S. Open Championship Trophy on Sunday, right? Wrong.
The U.S. Open, with fairways more narrow than a one-way street, requires precision off the tee. Woods is ranked 75th in driving accuracy this year despite winning four tournaments.
So who is going to win our national championship?
Well, the last champion who won a PGA Tour tournament before the U.S. Open in the same year was Tiger Woods in 2008. So if you have a 0 in the win column this year then you have a chance.
Here are my top five favorites:
1. Jim Furyk, who is ranked 4th in driving accuracy and 2nd in rough tendency this year and has already won the U.S. Open in his career so he knows what it takes.
2. Justin Rose, who is also ranked in the top 20 in driving accuracy and is in the top 10 in distance from the hole from 100-125 yards which will be key on a short course at Merion. Also, he is coming off an impressive week last week at the Memorial with an eighth-place finish.
3. Luke Donald, who like Rose is a great wedge player and is 15th in scrambling on the PGA Tour which he will have to do at the hardest test of the year.
4. Bo Van Pelt, who is 6th in rough tendency and is always in majors with 3 top-20 finishes in the last 5 majors.
5. Tim Clark, who has had two T-11 finishes in the last two majors. He also avoids three-putts the fifth-most on Tour, which will be key in making pars instead of bogeys.
Get ready for the best four days of golf every year with double bogeys being more common than birdies. If the rain, and possibly hail, comes then my predictions will be a complete wash (no pun intended). The field will become way more open due to the soft conditions and no-names will be more common than the stars at the top of the leaderboard. If the sun shines through for the next four days then the dryness and quickness of the course will create a true U.S. Open feel that only a select few will know how to conquer.
It should be fun to watch, especially once you get through the rain delay coverage.