The US Open as always has brought the cream of the crop to the top of the leader board. There are some surprises on the first page of golfers, as well as some that we fully expected to be at the top and there are a few main characters missing. I will do my best to focus on the ones in the hunt rather than dwell on those players that are missing.
The top story of the week is Mr. Phil Mickelson, and he is also our leader from day one. I don’t think there is a single person out in TV land that is not pulling for Phil. He is a guys guy, a great golfer, a fan favorite and he has the most runner up finishes in a US Open of all time. OF ALL TIME. There is no other player in history who has had more US Open second place finishes than Phil. That is an amazing stat. I will be very disappointed if Phil does not come out on top tomorrow. He could very well lift the trophy that he has longed for his entire life, but has really had a chance to win more times than any one person should have to endure with out a victory. For a player like Phil, he could really be looking for his astounding 6th US Open win if things would have gone a little differently for Phil. Hopefully tomorrow evening Phil will celebrate on the 18th hole and cement himself as a US Open winner and not the bridesmaid who was never a bride.
At 46 years old Steve Stricker would be the oldest gentlemen to be crowned the US Open champion, if he were to walk out of Merion with the W. I have always thought that Steve should have won more Major Tournaments, or at least one. He has a solid game, and is considered one of the best putters out of the top golfers in the world. When the world #1 takes putting tips from you, you can put on your resume as one of the best putters of all time. Steve is going to be tough to beat tomorrow, I am glad that he is going to play with Phil. Steve is a perfect Ying to Phils Yang. Where Phil is ballsy and the quintessential gambling man, Steve is the conservative gentlemen plotting his way around the golf course. Steve will never take that 1-2% shot at greatness, but he won’t make many mistakes either. There is no doubt that Strick will be a big contender coming down the stretch on Sunday, going to be tough to root against him.
Hunter came out of no where, or was just the perfect quiet man at this years US Open Championship. With solid rounds all three days, and taking the lead briefly late on Saturday but fumbled a little on the way in. But its the US Open if you don’t fumble a little bit your probably not playing the US Open (or your Tiger Woods in and its the year 2000). Hunter has the game to win a Major, and tomorrow he might just go down in history as the man who denied Phil is coveted US Open win and took away one of Sticks last chances to cement himself in the golf hall of fame.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: The 2011 Masters Champion has game, no one is denying that, but does he have enough game to be in the elite group of players who have won multiple majors? Only the final round at the US Open will let the golfing world know what kind of player Charl is. Although anyone who birdies the last four of the Masters, and fends off a star studded field like he did in 2011, is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Luke Donald has never played well in Majors, and I keep waiting for him to fall of the first page of the leader board. And there were times on Friday and Saturday I thought OH BOY here comes the meltdown, but whenever it looked like this Major Championships was over for Luke he came back with a birdie to get himself back in the game.
Justin Rose was the 16 year old boy who almost won the Open Championship, but he has not really made the impact that we all thought he would. Maybe tomorrow will be the day that he finds that next level of game that he was so close to finding all those years ago when he was just a boy.
Last but not least is Jason Day. Where the hell did he come from? I felt like I pay attention to the US Open, and Jason has not gotten much TV time. However, I am never going to pass up Jason on my fantasy league in any Major. Time after time he puts himself in contention, and he gets closer and closer to breaking through. As soon as he breaks through, and it is only a matter of time not an if he wins, and he could be the man at the top of the leader board this Fathers day.
No matter what happens this Fathers Day at the US Open I am just glad that I am able to watch this amazing championship. I am also know that the first person I will call when the last putt drops and someone is named the 2013 US Open Champion of Merion CC will be my old man…we all know him as Longball, but that is another blog post entirely.