by Jeff Skinner
The USGA leaves nothing to chance when it runs a championship especially its flagship event The U.S. Open. The USGA has come up with some intriguing groupings, some based on standing, some on nationality and maybe some were selected just for fun. Here are some of the interesting groupings that we all we be watching on Thursday.
7:33 Matt Kuchar, Paul Casey, K.J Choi. These three are playing wonderful golf. Choi is always a threat at every major and Kuch and Casey are two golfers that may just be overdue for a major win.
7:55 Graeme McDowell, Peter Uihlein, Louis Oosthuizen. U.S. Amateur Champ Uihlein tees it up with the defending champ and “The Champion Golfer of the Year”. Uihlein’s dad runs Titleist, talk about a “power grouping.”
8:17 Ernie Els, Davis Love III, Jim Furyk. While not exactly a “Graybeard Group” these three are long in the tooth. Els still thinks he has a few majors left in him and it doesn’t seem right that DL3 and Furyk have only one major each.
1:24 Miguel Angel Jimenez, Sergio Garcia, Alvaro Quiros. This has to be the “Seve Tribute” group. These three have to come out in all navy blue, or with a Ryder Cup sweater or dressed like the Spanish flag or something to honor Seve. Each one is entertaining to watch: Quiros with his long drives, Sergio to see if “Good Sergio” or Bad Sergio” shows up and MAJ, just because he’ll be the Coolest Guy at Congressional.
1:35 Francesco Molinari, Matteo Manassero, Edoardo Molinari. OK, so this is “The Italian Job II.” Could these guys have a more comfortable threesome?
1:57 Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter, Hunter Mahan. “The Fashion Police” would be a great name for these guys. Poulter started the trend and Rickie and Hunter don’t miss a beat. Get your sunglasses out, it may be tough on the eyes.
7:44 Padraig Harrington, Angel Cabrerra, Stewart Cink. Yes, these three former major champions have all have seen better days. But don’t count any of these guys out.
7:55 Ryo Ishikawa, Anthony Kim, Y.E. Yang. The USGA is playing to the Asian demographic here. Ryo’s from Japan, Y.E. is from Korea and AK hails from California. Yes, California.
8:06 Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer. The top three players in the world and only one major win between them. Is it possible for a major champ to fly under the radar like Kaymer has? Donald and Westwood so want what Kayner has: their first major win.
8:28 Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Robert Karlsson. Wouldn’t it be funny if this group had the biggest fan following? Maybe all those fans are there to see Stevie Williams and not Tiger after all.
1:24 Steve Stricker, Retief Goosen, David Toms. Few players are playing better than Stricker and Toms lately and Goose played well last week. It just may be Stricker’s week, hitting those fairways and greens and that sweet putter of his makes him a favorite here.
1:35 Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson. One word that could describe this grouping by the USGA is “cruel.” These guys have a bunch of meltdowns between them. Rory threw away The Masters this year. DJ blew a lead at last year’s U.S. Open and of course he was “bunkered” at the PGA. And Phil…come on five second place finishes at The Open, each one more heartbreaking for Lefty. Another word that could describe this group is “Champion.” Any one of them can win here.
1:46 Charl Schwartzel, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson. The “Masters Connection” of the day. Each has a green jacket but can they compete on a course with real rough, not that “second cut” crap.