With the Memorial in the books, it is full speed ahead to the greatest test in golf, the United States Open. With all due respect to the St. Jude Classic, I can’t help but look ahead to our National Championship, which will be played at Merion Golf Club this year.
I will be posting a more in depth US Open preview in the coming days, but let’s look at some of the top storylines you will be hearing a lot about in the next ten days or so.
Tiger – Remember last week when I was calling for a Tiger steamrolling of the field at the Memorial? Well, turns out that wasn’t as much of a lock as I thought. Tiger was terrible at Jack’s tournament. Double and even triple bogeys ultimately led to some pretty high numbers for Eldrick. It was a surprising site for those of us who had watched Tiger roll to victory last month at the PLAYERS and three more times earlier this year. Was it a blip on the radar for Tiger or should he be concerned?
That’s a tricky question. For it to be a blip on the radar, that would assume that Tiger gets his putter going again. Three-putts don’t win you US Opens. If Tiger can get the flat stick going again, he will do very well at the US Open. Why? He is hitting fairways. In fact, as bad as he was at the Memorial, he still hit over 80% of the fairways. That is crucial for a US Open where the rough is up above the players’ ankles.
I am leaning towards the Memorial being an aberration for Tiger. As Jack Nicklaus pointed out during yesterday’s broadcast, at some point you just want to get the hell off the golf course. I think there was a little bit of that going on with Tiger once he knew he had no shot at winning. He seemed like he lost interest and was trying things he wouldn’t normally try in competitive golf. I think he’ll be back on his game and fully locked in when the US Open gets underway.
Matt Kuchar – Matt Kuchar just seems like a nice guy doesn’t he? Always smiling, enjoying a nice Grey Goose cocktail? Seems like a guy I’d like to hang out with. But that’s beside the point. Kuch played pretty well at Jack’s house. His two shot victory begs the question, is he the best player in the game not to win a major? I would say yes. Can he stay on a roll at Merion? I would think so. Last year, he had two top ten’s in Majors. This year, he has been one of the most consistent golfers on tour and he is the only player not named Tiger to win multiple times this year. It wouldn’t shock me to see Matt Kuchar in one of the final groups on Sunday at this year’s Open.
Rory – Where has the Boy Wonder been this year? Rory matched his buddy Tiger in terrible-ness this week and, to be honest, he hasn’t exactly been on his game this year. To make matters worse, the US Open is not exactly a place where you typically get your game back on track. But, if there is one player that can do it, it’s Rory. He seems to have a different gear at Majors. This is still the same guy that won the 2011 US Open and 2012 PGA Championship by eight strokes each. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Rory miss the cut or contend down the stretch.
Putter Anchoring – The US Open is a USGA event. That means that the proposed putter ban will be in full effect for this tournament in a few years. But if the PGA Tour doesn’t agree to the ban, we could potentially see a player use two different putters in consecutive weeks. Now, this is still a few years away, but it will certainly be talked about in the coming weeks and years. Personally, I think the USGA and PGA Tour will get on the same page, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a lively debate.
So those are some of the main headlines you are likely to see in the next week and a half. What are you looking forward to most?
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