Tiger Woods is a mess, Phil Mickelson is 45, and Rory McIlroy just missed two cuts. So what can we truly expect is going to happen this week in the Pacific Northwest at the season’s second major.
The U.S. Open is known as the “toughest test in golf.” The punishing setup and big numbers that can dot a scorecard often make it unpredictable and can produce some previously-unknown winners. This year, in particular, is hard to handicap because it’s a new venue that no one knows yet and where no player has any history. It’s also completely different from a typical U.S. Open course. Nevertheless, heres our expert predictions and analysis for Chambers Bay.
WILLING TO TAKE ON:
Tiger Woods. Coming off a DFL at the Memorial and describing Chambers Bay as “brutal,” “frustrating,” and “uphill,” do not bode well for the 195th-ranked player in the world. If only the three-time winner of his national championship could find a way to bring those spot-on tee shots from the range to the generous landing areas on the course. CURRENTLY 41-1
Adam Scott. With a premium on putting this week and Scott struggling so with his broomstick, Chambers Bay would not seem a good fit for the 2013 Masters winner. Unless Steve Williams can actually hit those shots, bringing Tiger’s ex out of retirement for the summer majors won’t be enough to get Scott to the weekend. CURRENTLY 41-1
LONG SHOTS WITH VALUE
Kevin Na. The winner of the 2011 Justin Timberlake event and former “While we’re young” poster child has ditched that intentional whiffs and worked diligently to pick up the pace, but the six-hour rounds expected this week should suit the the, um, methodical, 110/1 long shot (as of Tuesday evening) just fine. The 31-year-old South Korean has also had five top-10 finishes in nine PGA Tour contests since February. CURRENTLY 100-1
Francesco Molinari. He hits a ton of greens in regulation and is No. 1 on Tour in driving accuracy. Consistently doing both this week would be a great recipe for success. CURRENTLY 100-1
The popular notion is that this is the last best chance for PHIL MICKLESON, who turned 45 on Tuesday, to complete the slam. He gained momentum and confidence from his final-round 65 in Memphis and has certainly crammed for the toughest test in golf: after several practice rounds at Chambers Bay, he and Bones have a game plan devised to attack each hole. Lefty is also one of the few contestants who — publicly, at least — claims to like the track, a positive outlook that Jack Nicklaus contends gives a player an immediate edge over his opponents. The gates are wide open but at 20-1 we at Sportsbet think this is Phil’s time.