U.S. Open Week is here.
My favorite major, my favorite tournament to watch. Period.
Some people criticize the U.S. Open, saying it’s too hard, too tricked up, saying they don’t enjoy watching the world’s best golfers struggle. But not me.
I’d much rather watch a tournament in which even par wins over a tournament in which 20 under wins. I love watching those guys fight for pars. Maybe it reminds me of myself.
One of my favorite traditions is lounging on the couch and watching all 8,000 hours of the final round coverage. Last year, I went into “blackout mode” while at work on Monday, somehow avoiding co-workers’ comments about the Mediate-Woods playoff. I watched the entire round on DVR that evening. I love the U.S. Open.
So what does the 2009 U.S. Open hold in store?
Bethpage Black is one of the best—and most difficult—public courses in America. A legendary sign in front of the first tee warns golfers about the course’s difficulty. The Black will chew up your 2 handicap and spit it out.
Bethpage Black underwent a MAJOR renovation prior to the 2002 Open. Last year, I reviewed John Feinstein’s book, The Open, which explained the massive changes to the course, as well as the logistical nightmare of hosting this major.
The Black is a beast. And this course is more ready than ever for a major championship. Read about some of the changes made to the course in preparation for this year’s tournament.
Here’s your standard “favorite picks” segment. Every Open Preview has one of these sections. Take it for what it’s worth. No one ever picks the winner, excluding the given Tiger Woods pick.
Tiger Woods: This guy sucks.
Sergio Garcia: I keep picking him to win a major, and one time he’s actually going to do it. ESPN golf writer Gene Wojciechhowski points out that Garcia has never finished under par at an Open. No one is picking him, so why not?
Paul Casey: Ranked #3 in the world. This is the type of stage Casey enjoys. I seriously think he could be in the final group with Woods on Sunday. It’s been 40 years since an Englishman has won the U.S. Open.
Geoff Ogilvy: Geoff pronounced “jee-off,” has won twice this year—at the Match Play and the Mercedes Benz Championship. He’s a previous Open winner and legit contender to take the 2009 tournament.
Jim Furyk: Furyk always seems to hang around. He’s not long, but he’s a straight-hitter, which is going to be an asset on Bethpage Black. Maybe the 2003 Open winner will pick up his second major this year.
Bethpage Black is the prototypical Open Course. Long, long, long and extremely difficult. The seventh hole alone is a 525 yard par four.
But the best thing about it? You and I could play on this track next week. It’s not a snooty private club; Bethpage Black is a course for everyone. We can watch Mickelson, Woods, and Garcia hit out of the same bunkers we have struggled to play from. That’s pretty cool, if you ask me.
The U.S. Open is here. Enjoy.