Everyone else is making their list on which players to watch next week during the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, so I thought what better a time to make up my list. Here are the eight players I think are the most compelling to watch next week in San Francisco.
1.) Tiger Woods
Are you surprised Tiger Woods is on my list? Coming off his win at The Memorial, Tiger should be primed to add another major victory in his pursuit to track down Jack Nicklaus’ major championship record. Or, just maybe, he will kick clubs and cuss and make a fool of himself like he did at The Masters. But that’s exactly what makes it so compelling to watch, we don’t know which Tiger is going to show up.
2.) Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson is playing with Tiger Woods for the first two rounds of the U.S. Open which is exactly why he is one of the top guys to watch. Phil quit, errr, withdrew due to “mental fatigue” at The Memorial and is still in search of a U.S. Open title.
3.) Bubba Watson
Bubba has basically done nothing since his Masters win in April. He has only played in two events, the Zurich Classic and The Memorial last week where he missed the cut. I mean come on Bubba, I understand you won The Masters, but even Tiger Woods has played more than you since then. I predict Bubba will miss the cut at Olympic Club. It’s not a bombers course and he doesn’t know anything but bombing. On top of that, he is playing with the two previous players we just discussed the first two rounds. (What a circus that will be.)
4.) Rickie Fowler
Okay, so Rickie Fowler has finally won on the PGA Tour. Since that win, he has had two top-1o finishes and a T-52 showing at The Memorial. Is Rickie ready to take the ultimate step to golf greatness and win a major? I don’t quite think so yet, but you never know. Maybe going home to California will get him revved up.
5.) Sergio Garcia
Olympic Club will require a ball striking genius in order to get around that course successfully. Who better than Sergio Garcia, one of the best ball strikers on the PGA Tour. What it also will take is someone who can putt and has their head on straight, both things that Sergio struggles with. With a win next week at Olympic, just maybe that can squash the demons that haunt him and it can propel Sergio to win multiple majors during the remainder of his career. If not, let’s see who can he blame this time?
6.) Rory McIlroy
After three missed cuts in a row, it looks as if a couple days spent at Olympic Club working on his game might have got the number two player in the work back in form. A good Sunday in Memphis and he might go back to the West Coast to defend his title with all the confidence in the world. We all knows he has the game. Can he win back-to-back U.S. Open titles? If anyone can do it, it’s this guy.
7.) Lee Westwood
Everyone knows Lee Westwood has the game. With 34 international victories, he is probably the best player right now in the world without a major championship, besides Luke Donald. Precision is the key at Olympic Club and Westwood is one of the best in that category. Can he make the big putts on the slippery greens?
8.) Jason Dufner
With two wins so far in 2012, it seems as if Jason Dufner has broken through to the PGA Tour elite. The only thing that will secure a spot in that club will be a U.S. Open victory. He has become one of my favorite golfers on the PGA Tour and I will be rooting for him this week in San Francisco.
Do you have any favorites to watch? Who do you think will win? Let me know below or hit me up on Twitter @Front9Back9.