June 2014 – Golf Diamante
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

June 2014 – Golf Diamante
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.

Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?
Does golf need Tiger or does Tiger need golf?

Whilst no one can argue that the US Open wasn’t a fantastic advertisement for the game of golf and a triumph for the USGA’s sudden embrace to shotmaking. The fact remains not enough viewers bought into it. Like The Masters in April, the second major of the year was over before the back nine started on Sunday. (more…)

The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.
The putter once again let Phil down at Pinehurst.

Five time major champion, winner of 42 PGA titles and adored by fans, Phil the thrill might thrill no more. (more…)

image

It is only seven days since we dismissed Rory McIlroy’s chances of repeating his 2011 US Open win. With rain forecast and Pinehurst No. 2 preparing for a damp week, it might be ideal conditions for the big guns, including McIlroy, to shine.

Pinehurst has seen a few changes since last staging an Open in 2005. Masters of sand, Messrs Coore and Crenshaw were invited to take a look and over 26 acres of turf was removed, revealing the underlying sand running through the complex. There will be no rough this year: The USGA has adopted a fast and firm philosophy for 2014.

That was until the weather intervened and promised a good dose of water, which might just upset the apple cart.

Ideally, the USGA would have preferred less water; relying on the central irrigation system running up the centre of the fairways to soften up the middle while allowing the wider fairways to brown off at the edges punishing wayward driving and allowing balls to roll out into trouble.

The rough has been replaced by ’sandscapes’ (called waste bunkers everywhere else), a term no doubt influenced by the architectural guidance of Crenshaw and Coore and reverting back to how Donald Ross originally designed the course. Wiregrass has been re-planted in the sandscapes resulting in a lottery of potential ball lies if players find the wide fairways not wide enough.

The crowned greens haven’t been touched, they were always the most difficult aspect to master and the test will remain.

However, the ominous presence of a system of wet weather might just help those players long enough to take advantage of the widened fairways. Rubbing their hands will be likes of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

For Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t achieved a top ten all season, this course would normally play right into his hands and provide the best chance of achieving a career Grand Slam – if only his short game could match. One more poor week on the greens and Lefty will drop out of the top 100 putters on tour. Not a stat Mickelson fans can get excited about.

With the predicted rain softening up the fairways the big guns will be able to fire it long enough to neutralise the tricky greens. Dustin Johnson’s effortless length will no doubt ensure that his accuracy with approach shots offers plenty of birdie chances. Even McIlroy will recognise the similarity of a wet Congressional in 2011.

Watson, with all his brute strength and imagination will find solace in the wider fairways as too will Schwartzel, whose deceptively long game which might not otherwise suit a US Open, will be able to take advantage of shorter iron shots with a short game that all but leads the putting stats.

If consistency were the key to US Open victories, and history tells us that more often than not, the tortoise beats the hare, then Scott will be the man to beat come Sunday afternoon. World number one and fresh from winning at Colonial, Scott will relish the chance to further cement his position at the head of world golf. With the absence of Tiger Woods, and perhaps Mickelson, there is plenty of prospect for a thrilling US Open.

Fridays aren't Rory's favorite
Fridays aren’t Rory’s favorite

Despite winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth two weeks ago, it is clear that Rory McIlroy is still having an internal fight with himself and unless he can come to terms with it, he can give up any hope of winning the US Open for a second time.

Just when it looks like he’s hot, he’s not! Again at the Memorial last week we witnessed a player doing everything in his power to underachieve.

So far this season, he is 3rd in Scoring (69.739), yet since the Shell Houston Open he has casually thrown in a poor second round in his next four tournaments:

A 77 at the Masters, a 76 at the Wells Fargo, a 74 at The Players Championship and, last time out, a 78 after opening up with a 63 at the Memorial.

This isn’t just bad play, this isn’t misfortune, this is carelessness and mental fragility. Each time he’s struck out in the second round he has rebounded with solid scoring over the weekend.

A look at his round by round aggregate scoring since the Shell Houston Open and it reads:

Round 1: -17
Round 2: +16
Round 3: -12
Round 4: -18

Remove the second round and McIlroy might well have won five in a row! His only win so far this season at Wentworth also reveals his worst round was a second round 71.

And I’m not the only one to notice this either, McIlroy himself has hinted his inability to stop the rot once it kicks in:

Take those three holes out and it wouldn’t have been that bad a day but, these little runs I’m getting on, it just seems to get away from me.

This might be something deeper, when McIlroy first showed presence in a major, at St Andrews in 2010, he did so after shooting an opening day 63 before falling back with a second round 80. Even then he finished the weekend off with a 69, 68. Sound familiar?

His response that day might well be worth re-visiting, because its clear he hasn’t learnt his lesson:

If I had just stuck in there a little more on Friday and sort of held it together more, it could have been a different story.

So what is the matter? Because three straight double-bogeys at the Memorial indicates an inability to “stick in there”.

It can’t be his relationship issues, or the much-hinted at ’witchcraft’ at play with Wozniaki’s change of avatar – his poor Friday form has been there since March.

Maybe he has injury problems, if he does it isn’t evident on the course and his closing 69, 72 would certainly suggest not. Perhaps its complacency, I hope it is complacency, it’ll be the easiest thing to fix if it is.

What’s certain is that if Rory doesn’t get his Friday blues sorted, then just making the cut at the US Open might be an issue, let alone making a weekend charge. An opening 66 at Pinehurst No.2 means nothing if he can’t consolidate it. And even if he does manage to keep it together for three rounds, will memories of the Honda Classic haunt him?

There are too many things counting against McIlroy this year to be a strong contender for the US Open, but golf will continue to throw up the surprises. A Mickelson versus McIlroy duel would certainly be one for the ages but perhaps a far more prudent bet would be for both to miss the cut.