By Ann Liguori
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Who says Tiger has to be in the field to make things interesting? Just watch this video. In fact, diehard golfers appreciate the fact that a number of players have a shot to claim the 2011US Open Championship! With Tiger tending to his bum knee and not playing in the US Open for the first time since 1994 and with a plethora of talent from veterans and young guys alike, this US Open is WIDE open!
Phil Mickelson is salivating for his first US open title. He has been a runner-up here five times. Phil said yesterday that he is playing the best he has felt in the past four to five months but does not want to put additional pressure on himself by focusing on the fact that he has yet to win a US Open title. Phil is always a favorite but he’ll have to play mistake-free golf and make wise choices. If he’s hot though, watch out!
Lee Westwood is 0 for 52 in the Majors. The former number one is more than ready to get the monkey off his back and quiet the masses about having so much talent and yet never winning a Major Championship.
Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson are both eager to erase bad memories. Rory let a four shot lead evaporate as he carded a shocking ‘80’ on the final day of The Masters this past April. And Dustin Johnson unrivaled in last year’s final round at Pebble Beach, experiencing an agonizing melt down after taking a three shot lead into that final round. He ended up shooting an 82. Nick Watney shot an 80 in the final round of the PGA Championship last August after he had a three shot lead. All of these guys are capable of winning here but it will be as much of a mental test as a physical one.
Many are pointing to Luke Donald, the world number one, who has the iron game to win here.
It will require flawless shot making, long and accurate tee shots and a hot and steady putter.
Rees Jones re-designed the course since the years that Ernie Els won here in 1997. It will play as a ‘par 71’ and measure 7, 574 yards.
Weather should be a factor. The forecast calls for scattered showers and possibly a thunderstorm on Thursday and Friday. The mild conditions for the practice rounds have made the course quite playable. Because of the exceptionally hot weather the last several weeks and the lack of rain in this area, the rough is manageable. And there is graduated rough which won’t be as brutal on the players. Let’s see how fast the greens will get. There is talk of getting the greens up to 14-14 1/2 on the stimp meter.
News from the USGA:
I had heard that Shinnecock Hills would be hosting the 2018 US Open but it was officially announced today by the USGA:
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, in Southampton, N.Y., has been selected by the United States Golf Association as the site of the 2018 U.S. Open Championship. The dates of the championship are June 14-17, 2018.
The 2018 championship will be the fifth U.S. Open to be hosted by the club, which is the only venue to host the championship in three centuries. In 1896, Shinnecock Hills hosted the second U.S. Open, and James Foulis won the championship by three strokes over Horace Rawlins. In 1986, Raymond Floyd shot a final-round 66 to break out of a tightly bunched field and win by two strokes over Chip Beck and Lanny Wadkins. In 1995, Corey Pavin clinched his two-stroke victory over Greg Norman with a memorable 4-wood approach to the final green. In 2004, Retief Goosen outlasted Phil Mickelson by two strokes to claim his second U.S. Open title.
Along with The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., Newport (R.I.) Country Club, Chicago (Ill.) Golf Club and Saint Andrew’s Golf Club in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., Shinnecock Hills was one of the founding clubs of the USGA in 1894. Shinnecock Hills had America’s first golf clubhouse (complete with locker room, showers and grill room), which was designed by Stanford White. It was also the first 18-hole golf course on the East Coast.
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