June 13, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Rory McIlroy tees off on the 7th hole during the practice round of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club. (Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE)

U.S. Open Favorite?

With all the talent that will begin play tomorrow in the U.S. Open, it is truly hard to pick a winner, er, um, favorite. If you’re one that thrives on that sort of thing, this might be right up your alley.

The “favorite” is, and was there little doubt, Tiger Woods. After winning The Memorial a couple of weeks ago, Woods has emerged as the clear favorite. The question is should he be? He sits at 13/2 (as of this writing) and just yesterday was a 6/1 fave. Just today, this happened…

Yes, it occurred on the driving range, but El Tigre obviously had an issue, not only with a photog, but his back as well. As Shane Bacon of CBSSports.com cites, Woods appeared fine after taking some time. When you own 14 major wins, you’ve earned the right to be the guy on top of the boards.

There’s a pair of guys at 11/1: Lee Westwood and OWGR #1 Luke Donald. Hard to believe that two players that do not own a major win can be second favorites.

When you look at their track records, you’re even more hard pressesd to state these two belong in the same “group”. Westwood finished 3rd in ’08 and a T3 last year. Including that pair of top 10 finishes, Westwood has posted a top 10 in eight of his last 16 major starts (beginning in ’08). He did not play in the 2010 PGA Championship and he’s missed two cuts (’08 PGA and ’11 Open Championship). Westwood needs that signature final round to get him over the hump. He’s coming off a win at the Nordea Masters on the European Tour. History suggests that’s not a good thing as back-to-back wins simply don’t happen any longer.

Donald’s major record is less spectacular. Since ’08, Donald has logged only three top 10’s with a best finish of T4 at The Masters in 2011. In ’08, Donald missed the cut at Augusta National, withdrew from the U.S. Open and did not participate in The Open Championship or the PGA. Here’s a scary stat if your a Luke fan. In the same time span where he’s posted those three top 10’s, Donald has missed four cuts. Olympic does have tight fairways and puts a premium on ball striking. That may be the reason he’s so high.

The fourth favorite is defending champ Rory McIlroy. The past few weeks haven’t been kind to Rors. He righted the ship a bit last week at the FedEx St. Juse Classic where he finished T7. He held the lead at one point and could have made things interesting if he had not put his ball in the lake on the 72nd hole. Still, this kid has too much talent to play the way he has of late. McIlroy sits at 14/1.

The last of those I will list should be no surprise either. At 20/1 is Phil Mickelson along with his five career second place finishes (three 2nds and two T3’s) at the U.S. Open. If Lefty can’t find the short grass, his shot creativity will be tested to its fullest. This is the U.S. Open and you know how penal not hitting fairways will be. To say this major owes him is a bit of an understatement. In missing the cut at The Memorial, Phil took the extra time and took a stroll around the course. There have been some changes (another understatement) since the last time Olympic Club has hosted a U.S. Open back in 1998.

One thing is for sure, even though Tiger is a clear favorite, there is a mass of players from 11/1 to 50/1. There are major winners within this group: Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Bubba Watson, Zack Johnson and Jim Furyk. And all of those I just listed either own a recent win or have been in contention for a win within the past year with only Kaymer being an exception to being in contention. Still, don’t rule him out either.

Watch Jason Dufner. I’ve had the feeling for over a week now. I’m not alone on this either…

I don’t know if this is the kiss of death or a blessing, honestly. But Williams is right. Dufner hits fairways. Dufner hits greens. And I have evidence of my support of Dufner…kind of support. You can listen to it here on Kickin’ it with Keeler. Forward to the 60:00 mark…

I have a dark horse, and I divulge that during Ricky’s show, too, but I’ll say here as well. For some reason I cannot completely put my finger on it, but I like Ian Poulter. No, he doesn’t own a dazzling record in majors either. He finished 7th at The Masters earlier this year and also owns a 3rd place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. That’s about it so far in 2012, but Poulter is usally in the fairway and he is usually on the green. He’s in the top 5 in both categories on the European Tour for this year. Maybe that’s what is steering me in his direction.

Well, who’s your favorite…

Who is your favorite to win the US Open?

  • Tiger Woods (25%, 1 Votes)
  • Phil Mickelson (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Rory McIlroy (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Bubba Watson (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Luke Donald (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Lee Westwood (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Other (75%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

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Tags: 2012 U.S. Open Golf Ian Poulter Jason Dufner Lee Westwood Luke Donald Olympic Club PGA Phil Mickelson Rory McIlroy Tiger Woods U.S. Open

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