U.S. Open: Five bold predictions

Dustin Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Dustin Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Prediction: The 117th U.S. Open will be uniquely free of golf drama, temper tantrums, and 4-putt meltdowns.

Final round tension in a major championship is simply unavoidable in a sport that requires exceptional and sustained mental strength.

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The loss of concentration almost inevitably leads to disaster, but the Sunday meltdown phenomenon can be fueled by more than mental exhaustion and loss of concentration and it can and does take forms other than a four-putt.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson actually has two meltdowns on record although his Sunday collapse at Chambers Bay has passed into golf history now, as has Rory McIlroy’s near-aimless wandering in the wilderness at Augusta National. Arnie’s blown lead at the Olympic Club in 1966 and Ernie Els four double bogeys at the 2004 U.S. Open are instructive. Nobody is immune from the Sunday Meltdown phenomenon.

It happens at The Masters, The Open, the PGA Championship, and the U.S. Open. The meltdown takes the form of missed putts, water balls, and outright temper tantrums that lead to broken and mangled clubs and caddies blamed for player errors and summarily dismissed. The meltdown is as much a part of the major championship experience as hoisting the trophy.

Next: Major Chokes in Golf History

We’ll all be watching the weather as we close in on first round tee time for the 117th U.S. Open but we’ll have to monitor on-course action in order to assess the strength of my other predictions.