This week the PGA Tour heads to its toughest test of the year, the US Open at Bethpage Black. The rough will be long, the fairways will be narrow and the greens will be lightning fast. The USGA prides itself on keeping the winner at or over par and this week should be no different. Bethpage will play to a par 70, with some of the longest and toughest par 4s out there, the hardest being #7 which is 525 yards that dogs right, it requires a 280-290 yrd drive to get past the trees and have an open look into the green . There are very few true scoring holes out there and every player will need to find fairways, while being somewhat long (the course can play 7400 yrds and it will feature only two par 5s) and make putts. Let me take you down my list of will’s and wont’s for the week.
1. Tiger – Plain and simple here, he hit 49/56 fairways two weeks ago at Memorial and if he continues to do that I am not sure if there will be anyone who could beat him. The only thing he seemed to be lacking was his normal dominance with his putter. If the flat stick goes to shit others will have an opportunity win.
2. Jim Furyk – He is such a grinder, he will be there Sunday, you can always count on him playing very smart and conservative around the course which is the game plan for any US Open.
3. Geoff Ogilvy – He has a game built for Opens. Very long and accurate enough to keep it around the fairway. His putting is also top notch, he is 2nd in putts per round and 7th in putts per green in regulation as well as being 1st in birdies per round. He has the demeanor to win and should be there come Sunday.
4. Paul Casey – This guy has been very hot this year, winning 3 times worldwide and ascending to #3 in the world ranking. He is T17 in total driving, 7th in putts per round and 5th in birdies per round. He has not made it happen in the majors but this could be his time.
5. Brian Gay – Tell me this guy didn’t get made fun of as a kid, well he showed them, Gay has won 3 times in the last two years, twice this year where it wasn’t even close and he is married to a big titted broad that ain’t to hard on the eyes. Well if that doesn’t give him enough confidence his putting should. He is inside the top 10 in both putts per round and per green in reg. He also knows how to finish rounds, T3 in scoring average. Riding the MO train from last weekend’s win so I think he can put it together.
1. Phil – I may eat my words here as he is one of the most talented players in the field but I just think there is too much going on. If you have just woken up from your Hibernol induced coma Phil’s wife has breast cancer. There have been many a rumor about his alleged infidelity but it seems like the last few years have been spent close to his family and this seems to genuinely be killing him to have her sick. I hope he contends or even wins he has had so many close chances only to be outplayed.
2. Anthony Kim – He was dominant in stretches last year but in 2009 he has only played in 11 events making the cut in 8 while his best finish is 2nd he has not really been close to winning. Nagging injuries are to blame for most of this but he still has just not put anything together.
3. Padraig Harrington – He is in the middle of a swing change and I just don’t see him being able to trust it for 4 rounds in the toughest conditions.
4. Rocco Mediate – Hard to say this but we may never see him contend in a major again. It has rained and is supposed to continue to be a wet four days. This will make an already long course even longer. Rocco just doesn’t hit it far enough to have a chance at contending.
5. Henrik Stenson – A lot of people are high on the Swede, well not this guy. He has disappeared since the win at the Player’s and I don’t think he has putting to win an open. His best chance at a major is the British or the PGA.
I thought it would be fun to look back 7 years at the last Open at Bethpage and see if it offers any insight to this week's US Open.
Tiger Woods, $1,000,000
Phil Mickelson, $585,000
Jeff Maggert, $362,356
Sergio Garcia, $252,546
Nick Faldo, $182,882
Scott Hoch, $182,882
Billy Mayfair, $182,882
Tom Byrum, $138,669
Padraig Harrington, $138,669
Nick Price, $138,669
Tiger has continued his ways, Phil was majorless but has since broken through, hard to believe Sergio still doesn’t have a major and Harrington has been one of the best players in recent years. Maggert and Mayfair are what we thought they were, perennial guys grinding out a living. Price, Byrum and Hoch have hit the senior tout with Hoch and Price finding some success. Faldo stunned everyone and took his game to the booth; he captained a losing Euro team last year in the Ryder Cup and doesn’t play much if ever on the senior tour. Also make sure to compare the cash they pull this year compared to 2002.
Alright well that’s all I’ve got, I am going to box my superfecta with Furyk, Gay, Poulter and Angel Cabrera. My dark horse pick is Sergio, I do not think he can actually win but if the putter gets hot and the Mich Ultra starts flowing who knows.
Feel free to test my picks against yours in a safe, reputable, online betting site that spotlights golf, basketball, Olympic sports, and others.
PS - This is the sign that is in front of the 1st tee box, this is a muni couse and anyone can play there. Best of all look for the NY fans to get real drunk and rowdy showing their true colors.