Posts tagged ‘Nick Watney’

July 12, 2011

Three Ideal Story Lines for the Open

I have been reading a lot of conflicting predictions for the upcoming Open this week.  I have heard that Royal St. George will produce a Dark Horse winner that no one expects, but I have also heard that it is a course where the best tend to win.  I have no idea which it will be, but I hope it is the scenario where the best wins.

Last week we saw the field absolutely demolish the Scottish Open due to non-existent winds and a soft course.  I don’t think the Open will be nearly as soft, and you never know with the wind.  If anything at all can be taken away from the Scottish Open it is that the top players in the world are playing well right now.  Donald, Westwood, Kuchar and McDowell (for three rounds) all played great golf last week.  Phil played decent but not great.

I think there are a few potentially explosive story lines going into next week that are a real possibility.  The first I could see playing out is a Northern Ireland heavy leader board.  I could very easily see McDowell and McIlroy high up on the leaderboard battling it out for the championship over the weekend.  Wouldn’t that be something to see the past two U.S. Open Champions slugging it out at the British Open for their second major?  I for one would be glued to the T.V. and really do believe this is a strong possibility.

The second story line is similar to the first but it involves two Englishmen instead of Irishmen.  It is a very real possibility that we will see both Donald and Westwood high up on the leader board during this championship.  Donald is fresh off his win last week and Westwood has been playing good golf pretty much all year.  He always finds a way to play well in Major championships and it really feels like it is his time.  He can’t go his whole career without winning a major, can he?  A Donald vs. Westwood showdown would be fantastic in its own right, but the fact that it would be a rematch from when Luke snatched the world #1 ranking from Westwood at the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth would make it that much more exciting.  I can’t decide which is more likely, Donald vs. Westwood or McDowell vs. McIlroy, but both would be fantastic.

The last story line I would love to see play out this weekend is pretty much any American making a run at the Claret Jug.  Do I think they will?  Not really, but I think Matt Kuchar is our best shot.  Watney may get hot and get in the mix but I don’t see it happening.  Kuchar was playing in the Scottish Open last week and played very well.  He is Mr. Consistent and seems like the kind of player who will win a major in his career.  Why not now?

The biggest dark horse American player I can think of who has a decent shot is Steve Marino.  I know he hasn’t wo on Tour but he has a good resume on links courses and is a relentless grinder.  You need to be able to handle bad breaks and Marino has tasted bad breaks this year, but keeps chugging along.

At the end of the day I am still going to go with pretty much everyone’s favorite pick thus far.  I think Rory is going to be lifting the Claret Jug come Thursday.

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June 20, 2011

Changing of the Guard, Will American Golfers get left behind?

I spent some time today reading all of the wrap us from the U.S. Open.  It is overwhelming how many comparisons came out between Rory and Tiger.  I can’t say that I disagree with all of them, but I don’t want to brand him the “new” Tiger after one major win.  I think he will win plenty more and be around for quite some time, but you never know.  Golf is a funny game.

Even more surprising, to me, was the amount of people finally accepting the fact that the new younger crop of players are getting really really good.  Jason Day hit his ball everywhere but the fairway on Sunday and managed to take home a solo second place.  I feel confident saying that Day will figure out his driver and put together a heck of a career.  He is talented beyond belief and he doesn’t get frazzled.  No matter where he was on the course he was focused on his next shot.  It was very impressive.  It actually reminded me a lot of watching Phil play.  His tee shots can get wayward, but you know he has some magic in his game that will get him to the green and in the hole safely.

The reason this surprised me so much was because outside of Rory, Chappel and Day there weren’t a ton of young guns playing that great at the Open.  Let me re-phrase that; besides Chappel there weren’t any young American players playing well in the open.  Davis Love III tied for 11th for crying out loud.  Dustin Johnson was the only notable young American player on anywhere near the leader board and he finished T23 along with Gary Woodland and Bill Haas.  Webb Simpson finished T14, but I don’t think we can consider him our next great hope for American golf.

Where was Mahan, Fowler, Bubba, Kim and Watney?  Bubba was the only one to make the cut and he finished at +9 for the tournament.  The rest of the contenders in the Open were older veteran American players and Europeans.  Other that Rory and Day can we really sit back yet and say the younger players have taken over?  I don’t think we can just yet, but Rory’s win certainly makes me feel confident that we will be able to say that with unwavering confidence very soon.