June 11, 2008

The US Open is upon us.

Thursday marks the start of the US Open golf championship - "A true test of golf".

Recent years have seen three non-us, relative unknown winners (Michael Campbell, Geoff Ogilvy, Angel Cabrera) beating out competition form the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Michelson and Colin Montgomery.

As the cream of the worlds golfing talent (and anyone with a handicap if 1.4 or lower who has qualified through a regional competition) traverse the test of golf that is Torrey Pines Golf Course in Southern California, I wonder whether they will be taking the advice I gave in a previous post about Tiger Woods' playing.

In that post I basically said that Tiger is not the deity the media all make him out to be, but is instead a rather inconsistent driver who is a good deal shorter in distance than a lot of his contemporaries, sprays the ball around off the tee and putts only averagely (Remember him loosing the ball on the opening hole of the opening round of the Open Championship a couple of years ago?). But he has an uncanny ability to make his second shot (or third on par fives) go from wherever his tee shot has left it, to a spot quite close to the pin. In other words his ability to make Green's in Regulation (GIR), is second to none. This puts him in a unique position to be able to make the pars and the birdies that he needs to lower his score. That's what makes him the lowest average scorer on tour and, hence, the highest earner.

Remember also that Tiger is coming back from knee surgery after Augusta and the last time he had such a long break before the US Open was back at Winged Foot where he didn't make the cut. As of Wednesday 11th June Tiger had not even walked a full 18 holes of golf. I would also remind all the "Tiger is god" zealots that the last time Tiger actually won the US Open was 2002 (and as defending champion he managed 20th in 2003).

The weather doesn't look like it's a factor (after all a lot of the US golfers don't like wet weather and Tiger never plays well in the rain), with high's in the mid 60's forecast, but you never know what the 'x' factor is going to be for the US Open (remember Jason Gore in the 205 US Open at Pinehurst?)

One thing's for sure, whoever wins, whatever happens, the US Open will be worth watching, (and for those of us over the pond here in the UK it starts at 6pm tomorrow on Sky TV)

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