Recent history in majors has been all about the meltdowns and it really got its start a year ago this week when Dustin Johnson handed away what seemed like a massive three-shot lead on the first tee that vanished quickly on his way to a brutal 82. It remains to be seen if this year's U.S. Open venue, Congressional, will offer the risk-reward and downright difficult-yet-memorable holes seen at last year's Pebble Beach.
Length is the defining characteristic of Congressional, made longer by reportedly soft fairways this week. Will that swing the advantage to the big hitters? Or does it play into the hands of a guy who hits it down the middle? With greens heading beyond 14 on the Stimpmeter (if you choose to believe the USGA), will an all-time great putter emerge?
There's no Tiger Woods, no dominant number one player in the world, and certainly no clear-cut favorite this year. In fact, Las Vegas oddsmakers have installed "The Field" as an 8-1 "favorite," with a batch of golfers (Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood) hovering around 12-1.
Our staff offer their predictions: