21September2017

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It doesn't seem like that long since we were talking about the PGA Championship and we are already on the verge of the Olympic games starting.  In the mean time, Jim Furyk shot the lowest score in PGA Tour history.  He shot 58 and the first thing I thought when he finished was that he left strokes out there.  Jim could have easily shot 56 with a few near misses coming in.  It was really something special, especially when you think of all the great players to ever play the tour and the amount of rounds ever played.

 It's debatable which was more compelling, but the PGA Championship was quite the display too. The wire to wire victory by Jimmy Walker seemed fairly easy, but we can all speculate how difficult it is to keep your cool during a late charge by Jason Day.  Walker seemed fully aware of the eagle made but still executed to win this major.  That caps off a year of four new major champions.  This just shows the depth in golf today, which makes me think that the Olympics could go to just about any team.

Parody seems to be the name of the game after the Tiger Woods era.  For this reason, I'm excited to watch the Olympics this year, that and oh yeah, it's been 112 years.  But, with that amount of time, I think they should have got it right.  The IOC dropped the ball.  The format is hardly the team event that may have caused some additional excitement.  They have many different options to choose from, alternate shot, best ball or make it a scramble, but not a regular four day stroke play tournament.  This could be why so many top players have declined.  I hope they make some adjustments in the future.  The part that they seemed to get right is the layout of the course.  I really like how Gil Hanse setup the finishing holes.  The drive-able par-4, shortish par-3 and reachable par-5.  That sounds like gold to me!  I hope everyone enjoys the games and let's go USA!

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The PGA Championship at Baltusrol is here already?  I feel like I'm still catching my breath from the duel at The Open.  Mickelson and Stenson put on a show with their ball striking.  Stenson's putter was just a bit hotter that day.  I find it tough to anticipate the finish this weekend living up to that epic heavy weight showdown, but it does finish on two par 5's.  I don't know about you but I love when they play a place and everything about it screams hit the big stick.  They even have a long drive competition going on today.   I just watched Rory pipe one 340.  That should get it done, unless Bubba or DJ  can find the fairway.  This kind of tournament seems to have it's own kind of fireworks, I mean who wants to see the longest guys on the planet hitting 3 iron when they could be ripping the big dog.  Ahh...it's good to be back in America, right!

With that being said, I predict the straightest of the long ball hitters will come out on top this week.    I think the total driving stat will be a key for this championship.  Therefore, I think the winner will be Rory Mcilroy.  He is tied for 4th in total driving and hits his irons high enough to stop them on these greens.  There was plenty of rain on Monday but it looks like it will be dry the rest of the week.  The greens should be getting hard and fast going into the weekend.  I also like Keegan Bradley for the same reason.  Day, Spieth and DJ should be in the mix.  I also like Kuchar.  He is always solid and feel like it may be over due for him to win a major.  For my underdog dark horse, I'll take William McGirt as he drives it straight and long, while playing well as of late.

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Is it already that time to watch some old style golf?  I don't know about you but I love waking up early and already having a major championship underway.  It reminds me of playing early at a couple courses in Massachusetts, Myopia Hunt Club and Essex County Club.  They've both held major championships and are designed for Scottish links style play.  The weather can be very similar as well.  It can be so much fun or a nightmare.  That depends on how you use the wind and terrain.  From my personal experience, most of the time those elements are using you and probably laughing about it.  Deep perils bunkers, gorse bushes and thick fescue.  Just when I thought golf was getting too easy, it starts raining sideways with a thirty mile per hour wind.  It must be the masochist in all of us to endure these conditions just to pull-off a 40 yard putt, but it somehow seems worthwhile when you play all the slopes just right.  Or, you like the relate-ability of watching the best in the world make scores in the double digits on a hole.   I think that everyone likes to see them shoot twenty under par at the John Deer, but it might be more fun to see them struggle to shoot par and not be able to get out of a bunker.  Let the fun begin, right!

As I normally do, I will set a few predictions.  First, the obvious, Dustin Johnson is about as hot as the sun (or Paulina) right now. He is coming off of back to back victories and I foresee him in the top five.  He could pass Jason Day this week for the world number one ranking.  I think Day will also finish top five and hold on to his ranking.  Rory has been playing well as of late, with a win at the Scottish Open.  I think he will finish in the top 5 as well.  My pick to win is Adam Scott.  He has finished 10th, 5th, T3 and 2nd in his past four Open appearances.   He won a couple times this season with the shorter non-anchored putter and has a major under his belt.  If you put yourself in a good position enough times, it is bound to go your way eventually.  With that being said, there are a couple other guys that I would watch out for.  Ernie, Mickelson and Westwood have been playing okay as of late.  The three all finished top 5 at Royal Troon in 2004.  They are playing together too.  Sergio has been in the hunt but just can't seem to get over the hump and I expect that to continue.  Louis seems to be always in the mix in the majors.  I think the most under rated candidate that might shake things up would but Brandon Grace.  He might not be as off the radar as Todd Hamilton was in 2004, but I could see him breaking through.  Speaking of a dark horse, mine is Daniel Summerhays.  He is a long shot, but would be a big pay day with those odds.

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Happy Birthday America!  We hope you all have a safe and fun 4th of July.  Keep it in the short grass.

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We are on the eve of our nations championship.  The U.S. Open is going to be contested at Oakmont Country Club.  This is a time when I'm typically trying to figure out who will beat the course and everyone else.  The formula at Oakmont, just like any other Open, is to keep it in the fairway, as the rough is treacherous.  Then, I thought about the speed of the greens and undulation.  The player will have to be a very good putter.  I finally thought, how did I not think about all those famous bunkers.  He will have to have a bunker and iron game.  That is when I realized thlat Oakmont is going to be the headliner and probably will win!  

Now, I know that someone will emerge a champion on Sunday, but it will probably be a war of attrition.  I love that it will be extremely difficult even though it isn't the longest course and it barely has any out of bounds or water hazards.   Don't get me wrong, 7,200 yards is a deep track but it plays a bit shorter with the speed of fairways and some of the elevated tee shots.  Some of the shorter holes will be almost drive-able, that should make it fun to watch.  I suspect that rough will be extremely thick around those greens.  The challenge will be in the strategic placement of the golf ball and avoiding those bunkers and rough.  With that being said, I find it hard to pick against Jordan Spieth.  He is great when it comes to strategically plotting and grinding at a course like this.  I think that Phil will be close, as he has seemed to tightened up his golf swing and played well here in the past.  Jason Day has been so good that you know he will finish top 5, probably top 3.  These are the easy picks, I like throwing out a couple dark horses like Lee Westwood to breakthrough.  He hits it well and around a ball strikers course, this could be time to finally get his major.  Sergio is in that same boat.  I am keeping an eye on Rob Oppenheim.  He has qualified for the Open a few times now.  This course reminds me of a couple in Massachusetts.  As a New England native, he should be accustomed to a course like this.

I hope everyone has a Great Fathers day and enjoys the Championship!

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