Merion Winner? Take Your Pick…We Did

by Jeff Skinner

Merion LogoMy compadres and I are heading to Philly with fingers crossed, hoping for a reprieve from the impending weather.  Wet or dry on Sunday, or maybe Monday someone will be hoisting that U.S. Open Trophy over their head.

So what’s an Open without predictions?  We have opinions like every other hacker and we’ll be debating them on the ride down to Merion.  Here’s our  very uneducated opinions on who may be laying claim to the 113th U.s Open.  We’ll pick three possible winners and a shocker missed cut.  And we won’t play with house money and pick Tiger, although we all think he has a great chance at breaking his major winless streak.

G. Rennie:  Here’s a flyer…our par-time player, with the velvety wedge game, coming out of the Wisconsin duck Blind, Steve Stricker.

It’s been a long time since an Englishman won the Open (Tony Jacklin 1970).  So the world turns and it might be time for a change.  Mad Dogs and Englishman don’t go out in the noon day sun.  But there won’t be any sun at Merion.  Luke Donald, brings his great wedge game, superb stroke and great scrambling to Merion to claim his first major.

Phil Mickelson was paying his karmic dues flying coast to coast, doing the most important thing in his life, being a dad.  Now he is back doing the second most important thing in his life, winning the Open.

On a rain softened Open course two years ago we saw Rory McIlroy lap the field.  There will be no reprise this year.  The darling of the golf world just a few short months ago will leave Merion’s fabled links dazed, confused and early.

Big Skins:  He’s finally recovered from his 2010 U.S. Open win and hits fairways and greens.  He’s taking the week off from bartending at his restaurant, Graeme McDowell.

Betting with my heart on this one,  Phil Mickelson will be celebrating his birthday on Sunday and a happy birthday it will be.  If Phil can keep his tee ball on the fairway and let his short game takeover he may just break the jinx.

Speaking of Englishman, I can see a rose blooming through the rain at Merion, a Justin Rose.  He’s having a great season and could certainly get it done here.

In 2012 when Bubba Watson won at Augusta a new American Folk Hero was born and he became a dad about the same time.  He’ll have plenty of time to spend with his family this weekend when he misses the cut.

Lil’ Skins:  Since Merion is the home of Bobby Jones’ Grand Slam win, we have to keep hope alive and watch Adam Scott collect the second leg of the grand slam.

Keeping with the Englishman theme, Lee Westwood will finally break through and win a major at last.  Pints all around!

You can tell this is a Philly Mick crew.  Phil’s got to win one of these before he hangs it up.

The last repeat Open Champion was Curtis Strange and this Open will be a strange one for defending champ, Webb Simpson as he heads home early.


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