With three days to go, the US Open looms on the horizon like a thunder-storm. The emphasis on everything but golf continues to garner attention through most media outlets. It appears that any side story, good or bad, is more important than the upcoming golf tournament where the best in the world vie for a national championship!
The discussion of Tiger Woods’ poor play to date continues to dominate the golfing world. While golfing fanatics wait in anxious anticipation for the real Tiger Woods to show up, the US Open seems to take a back seat to Woods’ every move. His star power has not diminished, but given the challenges he will face at Chamber Bay, it is unlikely he will be in the hunt on the last day. But, he will still command a lion’s share of attention come Thursday.
Rory McIlroy appears ready for the big dance. Taking this week off appears to be the norm for the top golfers as they prepare for this week’s major. McIlroy is a bit of an enigma this year. His streaky play has pundits questioning what is going on. The challenge for McIlroy, as I see it, is that everyone continues to compare him to Tiger Woods. I believe McIlroy has the desire to win, but not that all-consuming yearning to be at the top of golf all the time. McIlroy is still quite young; he has a whole life ahead of him and for now he is at the top of his profession, but for how long, no one actually knows. Regardless of his future, McIlroy will be ready to win another Major and prove he deserves his current world golf ranking.
Jordan Spieth appears to fly under the radar all the time until he steps up and crushes the competition. His win at this year’s Masters was impressive. His near flawless performance was stuff that legends are made of; it was definitely something that will be remembered for quite some time. His quiet charm and gentlemanly disposition disarms most pundits; he is like a ghost! He shows up at a tournament, demoralizes the competition, and slips back into oblivion until the next time he plays. This week, much of the media hype regarding Spieth focuses on his caddie’s inside track at Chamber Bay. I am not sure how much this will help, but many pundits seem to think it will. He should be in the running on Sunday and we shall see how much course knowledge really helped.
The last issue of contention leading to the US Open is the course itself. Chamber Bay is a monster! There is little question that most top ranked pros have some trepidation about playing a course this difficult. Ten foot bunkers, hard fairways, and dry conditions are just a few things the professionals will have to contend with. If the conditions are not tough enough, the weather forecast suggests cooler than normal temperatures – under 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius). If rainy weather or heavy winds appear, the course might end up being unplayable!
The US Open starts in a couple of days. The news has focused, like most Majors, around everything but golf. However, come Thursday, that will all change. Yes, there will be some articles about nonsensical things surrounding the US Open, but when the first player tees off; the focus will shift to the players on the course.
The US Open is the most demanding of all Majors! Historically, it is a battle of attrition and this year will be no different. If a player can shoot any type of sub-par round on the first day, they may find themselves in the running Sunday afternoon. As stated earlier, Phil Mickelson is my choice as 2015 US Open Champion; he is an underdog, but if he starts quick, he has the game to complete his career grand slam!
The Grateful Golfer / Pundit Arena