On June 18, the U.S. Open, the season’s second major, will begin at Chambers Bay in Washington State.
The tournament is loaded with talented from around the world with the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer Rory McIlroy leading the way. However, two veteran golfers who are looking to add to their major wins will be teeing off yet again at a U.S. Open.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods might not be the favorites to win this week, but they can never be ruled out. There’s too much talent between the two legends of the game. Unless they miss the cut horribly, there is no counting them out.
Mickelson is going after his career grand slam this week and the setup at Chambers Bay just might be to his liking.
He is a player who has been known to be crooked at times off the tee and Chambers Bay might be forgiving when it comes to that. There are bad spots to be, but if he misses those critical areas, he can use his immense ability with his short game and creativity to put himself into a position to win on Sunday.
Mickelson played well last week in Memphis at the St. Jude Classic (finishing T3) and that will bode well for him heading into Thursday’s opening round.
His optimism should help him.
“The first time you play it, it’s like St. Andrews,” he said after practice rounds. “You don’t know where to go. I can see why the first impression isn’t as favorable for some. But I think the more you play it, the more you like it.”
However, hanging over his head is Winged Foot (in 2006) and six runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open. Those second place finishes have to be haunting him each time Sunday rolls around in the U.S. Open and he is in the mix.
Editor’s Outlook: Phil is one of the all-time greats in the game. There is a reason for optimism each time he tees it up, but nothing is guaranteed for the 45-year old. The creativity needed at Chambers will be a benefit to Mickelson.
Each Open will be tougher for him to compete and father time will continue to bear down. This may be his last best chance.
Tiger Woods is an unknown heading into this year’s second major. His game is at a huge crossroads. He either finds out what is wrong and corrects it or he should walk away from the game for a short while– again.
Entering this U.S. Open, Tiger is ranked No. 195 in the world. If you are a betting man, Tiger is going off at anywhere from 33 to 1 to 50 to 1 depending upon the sportsbooks you are looking at. His last time out he shot his worst round ever as a professional (85 at the Memorial) and finished dead last amongst the weekend players.
The one plus he has is the amount of practice he has put in on the links course. He was at Chambers Bay a few weeks ago and back this past weekend. He loves to play links golf, but with his short game completely up in the air, who knows what will happen when or if he needs to be creative.
Tiger, of course, has 14 major wins to his credit and knows he can win but his mind and body are not allowing that at the moment.
Editor’s Outlook: Tiger’s game is in peril. He’s shown glimpses. Jason Day played with him during a practice round and was extremely impressed with Woods’ play with the irons. His concern: Woods’ ability to get off the tee.
With that, it will require some luck for Woods to be competitive this week. If he can play his ball from an array of places, he may find contention.
But if he does, we promise he will be the story of the week. Perhaps of the year.