After Tiger's impressive down-the-stretch clutch play to capture the Memorial, anticipation of the US Open is high. Who are the favorites?
1. Tiger Woods. Obviously, Tiger's going to be a favorite after his clutch finish to take the trophy at Muirfield Village. More impressive (and relevant for a US Open discussion) is his 77% of fairways hit for the week, and 13/14 fairways on Sunday. He also scrambled quite well (even if you don't count the 70th hole), which is key to staying in contention at the Open. But recall that Tiger-fervor was at an all-time high going into the Masters after he won at Bay Hill. Tiger's Masters was a flop, and not the good kind (again, thinking of the 70th hole at Muirfield).
2. Luke Donald. Luke's my top pick this week. He's the world's #1 by a decent margin, taking that distinction after winning the European Tour's biggest event for the second straight year. Whenever Luke is #1, however, it seems as though the world wants to talk about how someone else near the top is the true #1--and with Tiger moving to #4 in OWGR, this week is no different. Luke comes off a lackluster performance at Memorial, but is having a very solid year with two big wins and the usual host of top-10s. The US Open seems tailor made for a guy who keeps the ball in play, never misses an iron shot, has a rock-solid all-around short game, and makes 10-footers with robot-like precision. However, the US Open is Luke's worst major, historically. Maybe the UK-like summer weather in the Bay Area will inspire Luke to a strong finish.
3. Matt Kuchar. Everyone knows that Kuch is going to win a US Open, the only question is when. We all got to know him (and his dad, unfortunately) in 1998 when he was low amateur. It took him a decade before he made another cut at the US Open, and he's only bested that T-14 low amateur finish once, in 2010 (T-6). He has the game and, especially, the temperament (aw stinker!) to compete in this tournament, and he's playing great this year with 9/12 top-25 finishes, 5/12 top-10s, and a win at the Players.