June 16, 2011
Watson breaks through
I'm going out on a limb, picking a U.S. Open champion born in the same country as Barack Obama. American golfers have been trumped of late by internationals.
Enough's enough. It's time for a country boy named Bubba to win a major.
Bubba Watson can bomb it 350 yards and also hits the most greens on tour. The lefty closed well to win in San Diego and New Orleans this year and came within a shot of claiming his first major at last year's PGA Championship.
He appears in bare feet and overalls in that comically bad Golf Boys video singing: "I want my birdies all day long." Assuming he can find a pair of slacks and a shirt to cover up his chest hair, I like Watson to break through this week.
It's Stricker's time
Los Angeles Times
Picking a U.S. Open golf winner is like picking the trifecta in the fourth race on Thursday afternoon at Hollywood Park. Eight maiden claimers. Roll the dice and don't expect to return to the window.
Most U.S. Open golfers are better known, but they are equally unpredictable. So, we'll roll the dice and call Steve Stricker's number. He is No. 4 in the world, hits the ball far enough now to deal with these overblown, stretched-out courses, seems less inclined than most of the other guys to come unglued over a 5-foot putt and he hasn't won a major before. Think of it as the Dirk Nowitzki syndrome.
A good guy, well-spoken and well-deserving, wins the big one. Because he is good and because it is his time.
This isn't the U.S. Open.
It's the U.S. Wide Open.
What does it tell you when the top two players in the world — Luke Donald and Lee Westwood — never have even won a major?
Asking who is going to win this golf tournament is like asking who is going to win the national spelling bee. Actually, it's even more difficult because at least you know the spelling bee winner is going to be American.
But wait, there is hope for the red, white and blue. South Korean K.J. Choi, who was just granted American citizenship, will win this tournament. And then U.S. golf will be like many other products Americans enjoy: "Made in Korea."
Mahan talks tough
Hunter Mahan said something kind of dumb this week. He said that because this year's U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club has three par-5s and a number of other good birdie holes, that it's possible someone could go out and shoot 62.
I loved that he said it, no matter how foolish. In fact, it's part of the reason Mahan is my pick to win. You need to believe in your game to win a U.S. Open.
The last time Mahan played Congressional, he shot a club-record 62. He's also entering the prime of his golfing career. He has four top-10 finishes this year, and it's only a matter of time before he breaks through in a major. He has length and accuracy off the tee, and is an excellent putter when he gets hot.
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