by Jeff Skinner
Don’t think you have to wait until next week’s Open Championship to see some great golf. The tournaments on tap this week should be able to keep our golfing jones under control. The field at The John Deere is your typical week before a major group but there are still some interesting players in the field. According to the World Golf Rankings, defending champion Steve Stricker in the highest ranked player in the field at number four. 2010 winners Zach Johnson (19) and Tim Clark (20) are the next highest ranked players.
David Duval is playing and we’ll get to see him next week as he plays at St. Andrews. Crowd favorites Davis Love III and Kenny Perry are in the field as are newly crowned winner Bubba Watson and rookie Rickie Fowler. Fowler missed the cut at the AT&T but until then his game had been good. This is the kind of tournament a rookie can win as many of the top ranked guys are sitting it out or overseas getting ready for The Open. Look for Rickie to contend for his first win.
Over in Scotland at The Scottish Open, Phil Mickelson headlines a fairly stacked field of the world’s best golfers who are trying to prep their games for St. Andrews. Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen and Y.E. Yang are a few of the major names that are at Loch Lomond Golf Club just outside of Glasgow. Monty will be there pumping his Ryder Cuppers and Darren Clarke will be trying to pump Monty for a spot on his team.
Longballers Alvaro Quiros, J.B. Holmes, Lucas Glover and John Daly will be teeing it up as will the absolutely, coolest golfer on any continent. Fresh off his win last week in France, Miguel Angel Jimenez will be smoking his way around Loch Lomond looking to get back to back wins.
The European Tour has put together one heck of a marquee grouping. This tournament director hit a homer with this threesome: Phil Mickelson, Camilo Villegas and Ryo Ishikawa. Phil is arguably the most popular golfer in the world right now. Camilo has the stuff that appeals to both sexes anywhere in the world and Ryo is one of the biggest draws in all of golf. Those guys on the Euro Tour know how to keep an audience. This looks to be an interesting week in Scotland.
At Oakmont Country Club the ladies are getting ready for their toughest test all year. The US Women’s Open is always tough but put it at the hardest layout in the country and par just might be a pipe dream. There isn’t a player with more confidence anywhere, on any tour, than Cristie Kerr. She is looking for back to back majors and has the attitude to take on the difficult track at Oakmont. Hopefully Kerr can keep her emotions under control and give Oakmont a run for its money. The entire world will be watching as Michelle Wie tries to claim her first major. She has the length to contend at this Open but it’s her head that keeps her from dominating. She always has a spell of poor play that kills a round and keeps her down the leaderboard. She can’t afford anything but solid golf here. Paula Creamer is back but still recovering from her thumb injury and this may be too much golf course for anything less than a healthy golfer. Yani Tseng might have the game to handle the 6,631 yards of a tough USGA setup. Looking for a dark horse? Angela Stanford could break through for her first major. Not enough of a dark horse? How about our favorite sophomore, Stacy Lewis. She has found her groove this year and drives it straight enough for Oakmont. If she can find her putting stroke she could add her name to the list of great champions at Oakmont.