I'm enough of a golf fan that I usually do a blog post ahead of each of the four major tournaments.
And, we're at U.S. Open time this weekend, at a visually stunning course at Chambers Bay, which will not be your father's U.S. Open. I think maybe we should call it "linksy" instead of a full-blown links, but it's similar enough. I think it's more of a true links than Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, home of two previous PGAs as well as this year's. Certainly, with the possibility of oceanside weather, it's more linksy than any course in Wisconsin.
Between that, its length, and Tiger Woods' impression that every hole feels like it's playing uphill (surely, Tiger, the par-3 with a 100-foot drop doesn't feel that way, does it?) it's going to be a challenge. At the same time, while many applauded, some worried about the tricked-out Pinehurst a year ago, and it turned out tame. Beyond that, there's no rain in the forecast, no wind above 12mph or so, and no full sun until Saturday. And, Rory McIlroy says that lofted irons, rather than run-up ground balls, are still in play.
That said, I mentioned Red Shirt, so off to prop bets.
Tiger I put at 50-50 to make/miss the cut. The same is true for Ian James Poulter, just because he's being Poulteresque.
Winning score? I'll go with 1 over. I'll go with half a dozen snowmen on individual hole scores. I'll go with three scores of, say 83 or worse. But, I don't think this place is going to blow up. Looks like no British Open-type weather. With no full sun until Saturday, greens may stay fairly slow.
Now that I've written TW off, what about some other players?
First, I swat down the touting of Jim Furyk by some. This is NOT his type of U.S. Open. Too, too long. He might not make the cut either. I also don't see this as a Steve Stricker place. Especially on Furyk, national golf writers should know better.
D.J. Johnson? Call me when he actually wins a major.
Ditto for Rickie Fowler.
Jordan Speith? While his caddie has looped the course, no, young'uns like him don't win back-to-back majors. That said, said caddie, Michael Greller, has good analysis of what he thinks will be the toughest holes.
Without picking a winner, or saying it will for sure come from this group, I'm going to tag three.
One is Rory. I'm assuming his Eurotour missed cuts are primarily fatigue. I'll secondly assume that this isn't so linksy as to make him lose focus or whatever, per his own words above. And, if those words aren't enough, he's also talking smack on the level of LeBron.
The second is Adam Scott. Steve Williams back on the bag, slow greens to help him dodge his dodgy putting, and surely a "legacy" desire to win a second major.
The third is Phil Mickelson. Philly Mick finally got links right at Muirfield. He's rounding into shape, has motivation, and could just pull it off.
As for the course? I do agree with Andy North that 1 and 18, which can be set up as either a par 4 or a par 5, should have the day's setup announced in advance, like the day before.