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The US Open at Pebble Beach, It Doesn’t Get Any Better

by Jeff Skinner

The USGA announced yesterday that it will return to the historic links of Pebble Beach to hold the 2018 US Open there.  Opens at Pebble Beach produce very memorable tournaments laced with iconic shots that mark monumental moments in golf history.  The USGA is hoping the 2010 Open stands up to the previous four that were held there.  From the looks of the cast of characters headlining this production, this Open has the makings of another classic Pebble Beach Open.

There are dozens of great stories in this open and the next four days will definitely be historic.  Here’s hoping it will be as entertaining as the previous four.

Would it be too much to ask that Tom Watson takes us on another magical, mystical ride along Pebble Beach as he did last year at Turnberry.  He said he can still play here and we all know there are horses for courses.  Watson was the horse last year at the Open Championship at his beloved Turnberry.  He loves Pebble Beach as much and it wouldn’t be too crazy to think that the new “Old Tom” could keep himself up there on the top of the leader board.  What a ride it would be.

Phil Mickelson wants this tournament so bad he can taste it.  In fact he has had a small taste the five previous times he finished second.  Since his eighteenth hole disaster in 2006 at Winged Foot he has been on a quest to rid himself of that memory.  Until he captures a US Open he’ll be carrying that burden with him each year he tees it up in the Open.  Wouldn’t it be something if Phil was to keep the hope of a Grand Slam alive with a win here?  He’s playing well and I can’t wait to see what new “strategies” Team Phil has cooked up for Pebble Beach.

You can’t talk majors or Pebble Beach without talking Tiger Woods.  It doesn’t matter if his game is a work in progress or that he hasn’t hit it straight since Augusta.  This is Pebble Beach.  This is Tiger Woods.  Does a fifteen stroke win the last time the Open was here ring a bell?  The Tiger of old could show up and smoke the best in the world with his ‘B’ game.  He can’t do that any longer, but this is Pebble Beach and this is Tiger Woods.

I am looking forward to all the golfers giving us some real entertaining and memorable golf:

Can Erik Compton hold up and play well enough to make the cut in his first Open?  No one appreciates where he is more than Compton.

Will youth be served at Pebble Beach?  Can Ryo Ishikawa or Rory McIlroy show the old dudes that a kid can win a major?

There isn’t much talk about defending champion Lucas Glover and that’s just the way he likes it.  No one picked him to win at Bethpage either.  In the past 60 years only two golfers have won back to back Opens: Curtis Strange in ’88, ’89 and Ben Hogan in’50 and ’51.  Glover will be trying to repeat while he flies under the radar.

David Duval was right there with Glover at Bethpage last year.  He says he is getting his game back but he’ll need a little more consistency to win here.  One thing to note, only Phil Mickelson got more support from the crowd last year.

How about Ernie Els adding a third US Open title to resume?  He has only won twice this year, had five top tens in twelve events and leads the tour in FedEx points.

The experts say that the long drivers won’t have much of an advantage on the firm fast fairways of Pebble Beach.  Some of the shorter hitters that keep it straight could be making their mark here.  Tim Clark, Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson all fit that bill and may surprise us.  The last four winners of the Open have all been long ball hitters.  It’s time the “middle of the fairway” guys took one home.

It’s here. It’s time. It’s the US Open at Pebble Beach.  It doesn’t get any better.

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