STANLEY CUP WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Enjoy the golf.
No, just kidding. Today marks the start of the year’s second golf major, our national championship, the US Open. It’s second of the four annual biggest events on the golf calendar, and has an earned reputation as being the “toughest test in golf.” That is most definitely the case this year, as the US Open returns, for the record, ninth time to historic Oakmont Country Club, located just outside of my hometown of Yinzburgh, PA.
For me, this is where the fun really begins. There’s none of the snooty attitude that Augusta National carries with it. This is supposed to be challenging, and the best test there is. It’s also the most democratic field in golf: anyone who wants to try, can sign up for local qualifying. Make through that, you’re on to regional qualifers. Pass that, you’re into the sectionals. If you finish in the top 35-45 (depends on the year) in the sectional round, you’re in the Open. Tony Romo infamously tried this twice in the early 2010s, with typical Romobylian results.
The proverbial favorites are again listed as those expected to raise the trophy Sunday evening. World Numbers 1-3, Jason Day, Jordan Speith, and Rory McIlroy all have wins around the world in 2016. Others mentioned as contenders are Dustin Johnson, 2013 US Open champ Justin Rose (provided his bad back allows him to play), and Masters champion (and successful WCS pick) Danny Willett. Let’s also not forget this is Phil Mickelson’s 26th attempt to win the national championship. It’s the only major he has not won; he’s been runner-up a record six times. If it is Phil’s week, he’ll become just the sixth player to complete the career grand slam.
Oakmont is known for it’s ridiculous rough, and it’s lightening-fast greens. Whomever wins will need their short game and putter on point. The weather is also expected to have a major role. Thunderstorms and showers are predicted all through Thursday, and early Friday. This will soften the course, and essentially end the hopes of guys like Luke Donald, 2003 winner Jim Furyk, and 2014 champ Martin Kaymer. All three all world-class players, but, just don’t have the driver distance to make up for a soft course.
The coverage begins at 10:00 EST on FS1, and then at 17:00 on Fox. I honestly don’t have any intuition who will be adding “US Open Champion” to their resume Sunday night, so I’m going cheap, and saying Rickie Fowler.