Wednesday, June 15, 2005

US Open Preview

The US Open golf championship begins tomorrow at the famed Pinehurst Country Club #2 course. This course is the most distinctive one in championship golf, primarily because most of its greens are shaped like upside down bowls and the areas around the greens are shaved closely, rather than having deep rough.

Like all US Opens, the champion will have survived the most demanding test in competitive golf. The course is longish, the fairways are narrow, and the greens are rock hard. All players will get bad bounces, but the successful ones will accept those bounces and stay on an even keel.

Here is my analysis of the top five players in the world, four contenders, and my pick to win:

Vijay Singh: #1 player in the world, but his short game is not good enough to handle the pitching/chipping that will be required. Great ball striker, but ok short games limits him to a top 25 finish.

Sergio Garcia: One of the best drivers in the world and has a solid wedge game. He won last week on a US Open caliber course, but I do not think his putting can hold for four days - top 25 finish.

Ryan Moore: Reigning US Amateur champion playing his last tournament before turning pro. He won't win, but he will finish in the top 20 and get people buzzing.

Tim Clark: Underrated player who plays well under pressure on tough courses. He drives the ball very straight and has a good short game - top 20 finish.

Ernie Els: Past champion twice but was embarrassed in final round of last year's tournament. Best 20-30 yard pitch shot in the game. He gets some revenge this year with a top ten.

Stewart Cink: Led the tour in putting in 2004 and has a controlled game that matches US Open requirements. Will finish in top 10 and could easily win if he drives the ball well.

Tiger Woods: Most talented golfer in history, but not currently in his best form. He is a threat to win any tournament, but erratic driving will limit him to a top ten.

Retief Goosen: Unflappable demeanor and defending champion. He plays his best on the toughest courses. Should be in the top five. If it his putter is hot, he could easily win.

Phil Mickelson: Pitching/chipping choices have improved dramatically in the last two years. Finished second at this course in 1999. Should be in the top five - definite threat to win.

David Toms: Straight driver, good iron player, and great putter. He is a bulldog, especially in pressure situations and big tournaments. He has been on fire for a month. This weekend he gets his second major championship.


The Grunkle Guru shows his expertise in golf by correctly pointing out that Tiger Woods is now the #1 player in the world. Thanks, Guru.


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