>It’s the eve of the US Open at Pebble Beach, and it’s time to pick another fab four who I think will contend this week. At Augusta I had Tiger, Lee, Charl, and DJ. For a while on Friday they were all still under par, but by the time the weekend rolled around the youngsters had frittered away as if pulled by a Death Star homing beacon.
My picks for the US Open have been modified a couple of times over this past week. I initially had Dustin Johnson again in the mix because of his good play at Pebble over the past two years, but the more interviews I heard the more it became clear that Pebble in February and Pebble in June are two animals who are so distinct from each other as to only be related by the rules that govern the play. I still love DJ’s game, but I think it’s too loose for a US Open venue. Any pro in the country would tell him he needs to stabilize that left leg to play consistently.
Then I had Paul Casey as one of my top four. I felt like he had a unique combination of power and precision that would work well at this event. In the end, I think he’s still not 100%.
So here goes, in no particular order, my picks for the 2010 US Open, and why.
LEE WESTWOOD – In my mind he’s played more consistently good golf over the past 12 months than anyone else. He has the complete game. He’s long enough to compete on any course, and his shotmaking with the irons is as good as anyone’s.
In addition to this, I love his attitude. He’s not letting the writers get him down about his near misses, but rather he’s taking positives from being that close in the first place. Lee loves the course, and that’s good golf karma.
JIM FURYK – Two wins this year, and a US Open title already on his resume. He’s foremost an accurate player, but longer than people give him credit for. They’re saying this is a shot-maker’s course this week, and there’s nobody I’d rather have hitting golf shots for me Jim.
LUKE DONALD – Luke’s a player who’s stock has risen as this week has gone by. He has one win and seven Top 10 finishes this year, and he’s gone T2, 1, 3 in his last three starts. He’s no longer just a verb (Usage: “He’s just Luke Donalding it, he’s not even working hard …”), but a bona fide contender.
TIGER WOODS – Yes, Tiger. He’s a victim of his own incredibly highly set bar. If he’s not beating people by 15 he’s over the hill. Well, I don’t know a lot of golfers who could play 4 rounds at Muirfield with 3/4 of their game and not go above par. If he tweaks his game just a bit he’ll beat the world by five shots. By all accounts, his game is coming along just nicely, and that’s trouble for everybody else.
PHIL – I really don’t know how he continues to play as well as he does in the US Open. His game doesn’t fit these courses at all. I feel like Phil is obsessed with distance off the tee, and he’s sacrificing a lot of control and accuracy in the process. At Colonial he was booming his drives 20-30 yards past already long hitting Bo Van Pelt, but Bo was the one with the Top 10 finish, and Phil had to leave early.
STRICK – I don’t think he’s long enough. It’s almost as if the game has passed him by. He’s deadly with the wedge, but he’s having to hit seven-iron where others are hitting their wedges, and that’s no way to win a golf tournament.
ERNIE – I loved seeing him get a couple of wins this year, but he’s been inconsistent afterwards. I’m a huge fan, and if he’s in contention I’ll be cheering for him all the way, but I just don’t see it this week.
POULTS – Another guy I like (even though he cheers for Arsenal), but after the Match Play his game has gone in the toilet to the tune of T24, T37, MC, T10, MC, MC, 76, MC.
RORY – Best chance of a sub-25 player, but I don’t think this is his time. I give him a good shot at The Open or the PGA later on this year.
10 hours of coverage tomorrow. I’m psyched.