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This United States Open. Golf’s greatest test; it is my favorite tournament in golf, which makes it one of my top-three and a half sporting events of the year (NCAA Basketball Tournament, NHL Playoffs, and/or NFL Playoffs/WVU made a major bowl game).
What makes the US Open truly “Open” is that any one that is a golfer, with a handicap less than two, can sign up for qualifiers, and play their way in. This makes it as democratic as it gets. If you’re good enough, you can earn yourself a spot. This year, the most recognized amateur in the field is actually a Canadian. Garrett Rank is an actual NHL referee, and made the field through sectional and regional qualifying. Rank reffed 70+ regular season games, and a dozen playoff games, and found the time to be good enough to qualify for a major golf tournament. That gives the rest of us dipshits (looking at you, tWBS) that we could pull a Roy McAvoy, and give us the idea that, “hey, I played in the U.S. Open!” Not bloody likely, but, it’s there.
If you can believe this, this tournament marks the tenth anniversary of one Eldrick “Tiger” Woods’ last win in an major. He defeated Rocco Mediate in sudden death, after drawing even through original 72-holes, and the 18-hole Monday playoff. Tiger did this on a fractured leg, and torn knee ligaments. Say what you want about Redshirt (no, that other Redshirt), dude would play. I watched that ’08 Open with great interest, since Rocco went to the same high school I did. It also played as the backdrop for my first-ever real-job interview. That weekend involved a lot of hopeful tension, personally, and tangentially on the course. I didn’t get the jorb, and Rocco didn’t win; still, it was a fun, fun experience.
Alright, so onto this year’s U.S. Open. The official top in golf all have been quite good thus far this season. The U.S. Open is always an event that demands skill and precision; length of the tee (giggity) doesn’t necessarily translate to success on the greens. This year’s course, Shinnecock, on Long Island, has hosted this event four times in the past. The 2004 U.S. Open caught particular flak for being almost unplayable, especially the seventh hole.
USGA President Mark Davis has said, repeatedly, it’s time for the tournament to return to “it’s roots,” after a few tournaments in venues it’s never been held before. Players, caddies, and officials are all on record saying these U.S. Opens really weren’t “U.S. Opens.” What that translates to, is hard and fast fairways, difficult rough, and very tough greens.
The consensus seems to be that they will not be a first-time major winner this time, unless Rickie Fowler strikes gold. Evidently, this course has been set up to be too tough, and too open to whatever Mother Nature wants to do to allow a jobber a shot at immortality. I honestly don’t have an idea who is going to win; it’s far easier to tell you who won’t. This includes Phil Michelson (he’s never going to win the U.S. Open; same as I will never bang a queen of Ancient Egypt), Tiger (too beat up, and only playing just meh; same as me in bascially any sporting event these days), Steve Stricker (waaaayyyy too old [see above]), and Jim Furyk (won the 2003 Open, is captain of the US team in this year’s Ryder Cup; has too many other obligation; too damned much to do).
So, grab yinzself a drink, sit back and chill. Lots of fun golf to play itself out.
Coverage begins on FS1 at 09:30 EST, and runs until 16:30 (4:30PM), due to World Cup stuff. Golf commences at 13:30 EST (1PM EST) on Fox, after soccer.
Let’s not do anything but get drunk together!