The Tiger will prowl the U.S. Open
The U.S. Open golf tournament gets underway this weekend at the tour’s most picturesque setting. Pebble Beach, long the home of an early season tourney they called “The Clambake,” takes its turn hosting a major. The beauty of golf’s four major championships is that each one has its own particular flavor, so here is Gildshire’s (partially tongue-in-cheek) analysis of the four personalities.
The Four Majors:
The Masters is golf’s celebration of spring, with sun-splashed azaleas, and all that. That it is played on a course marginally too short for modern big hitters does not depreciate its value. When someone shoots 20-under, it’s value will depreciate.
The (British) Open is a celebration of golf’s long heritage. The sport was invented in Scotland as a reason for a man to avoid chores such as banking the sod fire and rinsing out his own long johns. We have long said that it is good to play a major on a links course in howling winds, since it builds character.
The PGA Championship was the final major and cast a spotlight on who was playing well at the end of the year. This year, it was played in the spring, between the Masters and The U.S. Open. While it is a major tournament, the PGA Championship is the least prestigious of the four, so think of it as a “Best Cinematography in an Animated Short” major championship.
That leaves the U.S. Open.
It’s our national championship on a course set up to be the biggest challenge the golfers will face all year. Played on Father’s Day weekend,The 2019 U.S. Open will be watched by thousands of Dads while they open up another hand-painted gift cup. Gildshire knows one Dad who says, “You know what I want for Father’s Day? To be left alone to watch golf!” We appreciate the honesty while acknowledging that this is not a Father of the Year thought process.
So what is going to happen during the 2019 U.S. Open Golf Championship? Do we have any sure-fire winners? Who are the long-shots to watch?
There hasn’t been a sure-fire winner in a golf tournament since Tiger Woods was in his hey-day. Back then, you could take “The Field,” and get even money betting against the wunderkind Woods. No one is that dominant now. However, we have some ideas for golfers you could choose if you are a degenerate gambler and bet on golf. (Actually, we kind of admire that.)
His second-place finish to Brooks Koepka in the PGA Championship helped Johnson regain the top world ranking spot. That’s a psychological boost, and Pebble Beach is one of Johnson’s favorite tracks. He was the 54-hole leader here in 2010’s Open, before a triple bogey and a double bogey on numbers two and three respectively scuttled him. He has the length and short game to succeed at Pebble Beach.
He was runner-up at the Memorial and eighth in the PGA Championship. If he can get an inconsistent putter to cooperate, he can be right there Sunday afternoon.
This two-time champion over the Pebble Beach track is playing fine golf over the last 60 days. Snedeker carded Top Ten finishes in four of his eight U.S. Open starts, and he can’t be ignored if you are looking to back a fairly long-shot this weekend.
No one rides the wave of success better than Rory, and he’s hot right now. His 64-61 weekend at the Canadian Open brought the swagger back into play.
Tiger Woods’ last round at the Memorial showed Gildshire that he’s locked in with his iron, in preparation for winning his first title here since the 2010 U.S. Open. The competition is tough, but Woods has shown he can handle the stiff afternoon breezes on 12, 13, 14, 15 and 18. That wind is something Brooks Koepka cited as an issue for him, so that’s why we left him off the list. The Pebble Beach course can intimidate you a week in advance.
Who do you pick to win The U.S. Open this year? It should be one great tournament, but I hope Dad gets to watch.