Squirrely. Thinking about the 2012 U.S Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco and leaning about its history as an Open host the word squirrely comes to mind. Last year we all watched in shock and awe as Rory McIlroy laid waste to a field of the best players in the world at Congressional. It takes a rare talent to dust a list of stars like that in a major championship and pundits around the world began penciling him in for 10 plus major trophies before he had even tee’d off in the final round. Being the pretty clear favorite for this years edition of the U.S. Open, is Rory game for a golf course that has seen many U.S Open Championship dream crumble on Sunday?
In 1966, the great Arnold Palmer was roasting the field by 7 strokes at the turn on Sunday, only to fall into a tie, and then lose in a playoff to Billy Casper. How hard was it that weekend? The King and Casper were the only two players under par at 278 (-2). Jump to 1998, Payne Stewart has a lead for 3 straight days going into Sunday only to get clipped by Lee Janzen by one stroke. Janzen was 7 strokes back to start the day when he fired the 68 to win it. No player made it to the red as Janzen won at 280 (even par). Hosting its 5th U.S. Open the Olympic club should provide the backdrop and theatrics everyone wants to see in a major championship.
As for the aforementioned defending U.S Open Champion Rory McIlroy, is the Olympic Club a course that can tame the style of woodshed beating he delivered last year? If I’m a gambling man, its pretty hard to bet a against a game without any real flaws. Minus a lackluster performance at the Masters this year, his game is as dialed in as ever. He’s played only 4 events this season, yet sits 6th in FedEx Cup points with a 3rd, 2nd, and a win at The Honda Classic. Birdie average, first…Scoring average, first…Par breakers, first…Par 3 performance, first…Birdie or better conversion, first…sizzling basically. He’s 4th on the money list and he’s only played four events on the season. Frankly, if he’s not in your fantasy golf line up for the Wells Fargo this weekend you should see medical assistance immediately.
From the looks of it, The Olympic Club is going to test Rory and other tour players as they have rarely been tested before. The biggest eye popper is the 670-yard, par 5, 16th hole. The longest hole in U.S. Open and major championship history, not to mention a wicked right to left dogleg requiring a very accurate tee shot. How would you feel to hit 2, 300 yard bombs and still have a 70-yard pitch to get tight for a birdie putt? Come Sunday this monster par 5 has a great chance to be a major deal breaker on someone’s hopes of taking home major championship glory.
|Yeah, that one was smoked….
-16 again? Not likely at The Olympic Club, but someone has chummed the water and there’s a shark named Rory on the prowl.
For more information on Rory and his defense of the U.S. Open crown, check out: http://www.golfchannel.com/topics/people/rory-mcilroy.htm