Predictions: 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach

Ladies and gentlemen, the second major of the season has finally arrived, as the U.S. Open gets underway tomorrow at Pebble Beach. All the big names in the golfing world will take part in the event, with the big two looking to add yet another major to their impressive career resumes. But will one of the big two take home the trophy on Sunday? Let’s find out in this week’s predictions!

The Sleeper

This one is too easy for me this week, as if you’ve followed my predictions before, you probably know where I’m headed here. This week’s sleeper is none other than Nick Watney, who is a player on the verge of winning a major championship. He can thrive at a course like Pebble Beach, and with a confident putter, he’ll find himself in contention throughout this tournament.

At a major such as this one, I like players who can ride confidence a long way. When Watney plays well, he usually takes off and really plays well. I’m very confident with this sleeper pick, and I’ll go as far as to say that he’ll finish in the Top 10. Don’t let me down, Nick.

The Favorites

Here are the favorites according to the Vegas oddsmakers. And here are my favorites for the event: Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Camilo Villegas, and Zach Johnson.

Honorable Mention: Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan, and Retief Goosen.

Elimination style to the finish. Let us begin!

Woods is not my pick this week. It’s hard to type those words, especially when you’re talking about this guy at Pebble Beach. But I just don’t see his game being at the level that it needs to be right now to win a major. I think his best shot is at St. Andrews, because he’ll probably have built up a little momentum by then. He comes into this week though with a ton of questions, and though he’ll certainly be a factor, I can’t see him winning it.

Harrington was my pick last week in Memphis, and after a blistering start, he let me down. But this guy brings it at majors, and he’s sure to play well this week. He hasn’t played his best thus far this year, and a good week here could catapult him right into contention at St. Andrews next month. He’s going to play well, but he won’t win this week.

Westwood is yet another player that I think will have his best chance at a major next month. In no way am I trying to underplay the awesomeness of the U.S. Open here, but there are unique situations surrounding each of these players. Westwood comes off of a victory last week, which immediately reminds us that no one has ever won the U.S. Open after winning the week before. So I’m not picking Westwood here.

Els hasn’t been the same Els that we saw earlier in the season, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t break out here. He’s due to win another major, and he’s got his two best chances in the next two. I don’t think he gets it this week, so maybe he gets it at the British Open next month.

The Final Four

Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Camilo Villegas, Zach Johnson

Furyk is a guy that I really wanted to pick in this spot. He’s won twice this year, and finished tied for 10th a few weeks ago at Memorial. He seems like a lock for a Top 20 finish this week, but for some reason, I can’t see him winning, despite this being a course that he could really excel at. I hope he proves me wrong, because he’s one of the most likable guys on tour.

Mickelson is the easy pick here after winning the first major of 2010, but this one isn’t going to be easy. His game hasn’t looked so hot as of late, however, that’s no reason to believe that he won’t contend. He’s going to be in the mix at Pebble Beach, but he’s not going to be in the mix in the final two of my predictions.

The Finals

Zach Johnson vs. Camilo Villegas

I’m going with my gut this week. I feel like this tournament is set up perfectly for an under-the-radar kind of player, and while the world knows about these two players, they aren’t getting strong recognition in terms of being viable candidates to win the U.S. Open.

But I just can’t shake the feeling that none of the big players are going to win this tournament. The focus is going to be on the big three, and I think that gives players like Johnson and Villegas, who have no pressure on them, a chance to go out and shine.

Johnson had the great week at Colonial a few weeks ago, and Villegas has already picked up a win at the Honda Classic this season.

So who wins? Part of me wants to go with Villegas. Part of me wants to go with Johnson. And part of me wants to pick Watney to win it. It’s not an easy decision.

But in a major championship, accuracy is king. And so is the putter.

Johnson has been faring quite well in both of those as of late, and I think he’ll win the 2010 U.S. Open.

Tags: 2010 U.s. Open Camilo Villegas Ernie Els Golf Golf Major Golf Picks Jim Furyk Lee Westwood Nick Watney Padraig Harrington Pebble Beach PGA Phil Mickelson St. Andrews The Open Championship Tiger Woods Us Open Predictions Us Open Sleeper Picks Zach Johnson

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