Wednesday, June 14, 2006

US Open Picks

The US Open golf championship begins tomorrow at Winged Foot Golf Club. The club is legendary for the "Massacre at Winged Foot" in 1974, when the USGA kicked the field's ass with an impossible set up.

The course has been lengthened, the fairways narrowed, and the rough deepened since 1974. Still, the players and their equipment have advanced even more, and I predict that at least the winner will break par this year.

Here is my analysis of ten of the top players in the world:

Tiger Woods: #1 player in the world with 13 career majors has taken the last nine weeks off. His father died during that stretch, so expect to hear that story line ad nauseum during father's day weekend. His driver will have too much rust #14, but he gets a top ten with his trademark grit.

Phil Mickelson: #2 player in the world has won the last two majors by overhauling his former go-for-broke attitude. His newfound control will be an asset in the Open, and the NY crowds love him. I can't see him winning three majors in a row, but he will finish in the top five.

Vijay Singh: #3 player in the world is coming off a win on an Open style course. He has had a marginal year by his standards, but he continues his good play with a top ten this weekend.

Jim Furyk: #5 player in the world has a game made for Opens. He is fourth in driving accuracy and one of the best putters in the world. He is a former champ, and I was going to pick him to win. The rumor is he hurt his shoulder brushing his teeth, so he is off the board.

Sergio Garcia: #8 ranking fueled by a formerly great driver and still great wedge game. Both are important at an Open, but I don't think he will putt well enough to win - top 40 finish.

Tim Clark: He used to be the most underrated player in the world - now he is #14. He backed up a great 2005 with a solo second at The Masters in April. He has the game to win a US Open, but I predict only a top 15 this week.

Ernie Els: Twice a past champion, but his knee continues to bother him. He will return to the top of the game in the future, but this weekend produces a top 25 finish.

Stewart Cink: Dude is sneaky long, pretty straight, and a great putter. Why has he not won this tournament before? I dunno, but he gets a top 20 this weekend.

David Toms: Straight driver, good iron player, and great putter. He is tough as nails, especially in pressure situations. He has been quiet for a while, so he sneaks up on the field for a top 15 this weekend.

Retief Goosen: #4 player in the world is normally unflappable, except in the final round at Pinehurst last year when he melted down. He is the coolest player in golf, and he gains redemption Sunday with his third US Open in six years.


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