TACOMA: World number one Rory McIlroy will be chasing his second US Open title in five years next week, but standing in his way is Masters champ Jordan Spieth, who believes he has an edge over his rivals.
The 115th US Open begins on June 18 at the links-style Chambers Bay Golf Club which is hosting its first major championship, so few of the players can say they have spent considerable time on the course.
And that goes for world number two Spieth, who claimed the first Grand Slam of the season when he won the Masters in April.
While Chambers Bay will be a mystery to all but a handful of the players, Spieth does have an ace up his sleeve — his caddie, Michael Greller, worked at Chambers Bay before carrying Spieth’s bag on the PGA Tour.
“Michael told me some shots that I needed to get ready for Chambers,” said Spieth, who played the course once before at the US Amateur in 2012. “He walked it a couple of times a few weeks ago.”
Like most of the field, McIlroy doesn’t know what Chambers Bay will deliver. “I am going to play a couple of practice rounds the weekend before,” he said.
Some players have taken scouting trips to Chambers Bay, located 50 kilometres southwest of Seattle, Washington.
That includes both Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, who will need all the extra help he can get after shooting a career-high 85 at The Memorial last week.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer won last year’s US Open, closing with a one-under 69 en route to an dominating eight-shot victory over Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton at Pinehurst.
Kaymer has missed the cut in three of his last five USPGA Tour events so he is hoping that defending another major will give his game the kick start it needs.
Meanwhile, Mickelson has finished runner-up a record six times at the US Open so he would like nothing more than to get a win at Chambers Bay and finally complete his career Grand Slam.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2015.
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