TACOMA: Jordan Spieth will be chasing the second leg of golf’s Grand Slam, but he will have to contend with world number one Rory McIlroy and some legends of the game at the US Open which begins on Thursday.
Reigning Masters champion Spieth and McIlroy head up a strong field of 156 that includes the top 60 players in the world squaring off on a course unlike any other that has ever hosted a US Open.
Sprinkle in a few legends of the game like six-time runner up Phil Mickelson and former world number one Tiger Woods on the quirky links-style Chambers Bay course, and you have a US Open that promises to deliver plenty of surprises.
“You are going to see some different things this week than you have probably seen in any other major championship we play,” said Woods after his practice round. “Unlike any golf links we play, we don’t have elevation changes like this. You are going to get some funky bounces out there. The ball is going to catch slopes. You are going to see some guys hit terrible shots and end up in kicking range from the hole.”
Spieth aims to become the first to sweep the Masters and US Open since Woods achieved it in 2002. The Texan has an ace up his sleeve in caddie Michael Greller, who worked at Chambers Bay before carrying Spieth’s bag on the PGA Tour.
“I feel like if there’s any advantage, it would be towards us with his knowledge of the place,” said Spieth of Greller.
Phil Mickelson, six times an US Open runner-up, will take another crack at adding the final piece to complete a career Grand Slam and Woods is trying to salvage some respect after shooting a career-high 85 in his most recent outing at The Memorial.
Don’t count out the Europeans this week, especially McIlroy. There is also defending champion Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson and 2013 champion Justin Rose to watch.
Europeans now have captured four of the past five US Opens, a switch from the 40-year drought between Tony Jacklin’s win in 1970 and Graeme McDowell triumph in 2010.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2015.
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