One of the things I love about following professional golf is the four majors. Every other sport has one championship but golf has, what amounts to, four Super Bowls. As each major approaches, we can look forward to magazines devoting whole issues to the course set up, its changes, its history and the odds on the field. We can revel in two weeks of intense analysis on the Golf Channel with special devoted to everything from the history of the course to last year`s winner and recaps of tournaments. And really, who doesn`t love the pre and post game reports from the site?
The media have turned this week`s U.S. Open into a head to head battle between Phil and Tiger. They have studied each man inside and out. They have analyzed Tiger`s swing changes and Phil`s two drivers. They have noted the shifting of each man`s personality as Phil becomes more exacting on the playing field and Tiger becomes more reckless off it. Everything is leading to a mano a mano confrontation on Sunday afternoon. Phil the birthday boy and all-American father vs Tiger the grieving son.
Here is what I have learned this week:
1) Wing Foot will be the longest course ever to host a U.S. Open.
2) Many golfers died there the last time the U.S. Open was hosted by the club.
3) Phil has visited the course 7 times to prepare for this tournament. Once he walked the course without a club in his hand just to get a feel for the layout. Once he spent 14 hours at the course putting for 30 “ 45 minutes on every green. Once he experimented with five wedges, two drivers and no 7 iron or 3 iron.
4) Tiger has been to the course twice in the past few weeks. Tiger and Phil saw each other on the course one day and didn`t say anything to each other.
5) No other player has played Wing Foot early.
6) Michelle Wie is the favourite for the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion. She`ll be 24 then.
Let the best man win and for what it`s worth, I would love to see it come down to Phil and Tiger in the end. That`s the kind of titanic battle that will bring more fans to the game. In the meantime, I`m going to the range tonight to spend some time getting used to my new Cleveland CG10 54 wedge. Woohoo!