10. Americans vs. The Field – John McDermott started a trend after being the first American to win the U.S. Open at 20 years old. He actually went back and won it again the next year. Once young John broke through as the first American to win, they dominated for decades. From 1982 to 1993, the Americans won them all. From 2001 to 2014, the Americans won just 5. Now we have won the past 4 U.S. Opens and my question is: Will they continue to dominate and go back to how they were in the ’80s? Or does the world fight back and get themselves back in the winning circle?
9. Father’s Day Sunday – The best day to finish an event, where fathers mean so much. Most of us got into the sport because of our fathers, and to win this event on Father’s Day has got to be the greatest gift of them all.
8. The plus 35’s – Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Marc Leishman, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and many others are still fighting to create a prized legacy. Most of these guys in my mind could have done a lot more. It is now where they have to write more on their scripts and be content when they ride into the sunset that they accomplished the most they could. Look out for one of these guys this week to make noise and try and add to their trophy case.
7. DJ and Under – DJ in my mind is the oldest in this new generation. He is leading the way by dominating PGA events, but we all know that majors define a career. Rory, who has 4, winning last week gives him extra confidence leading into a place where he lacks success. Brooks has been a machine the past 3 years in majors and don’t look for him to slow down. Jordan is feeling himself again and is at a place in which he feels comfortable. As for Jason Day it relies on health. JT is as good as anyone in the world when he is on, and he wants to be the best in this generation. Rickie needs to join these boys to get the monkey off his back. X, Cantlay, Bryson, and many others are watching these guys win majors at young ages and are fuming of jealousy to join them in golf history. This could be one of the greatest U.S. Open’s we ever watch in a generation that I consider golden.
6. Golf’s Toughest Test – Who doesn’t enjoy seeing the best players in the world struggle? Over par rounds are the ones I enjoy the most. Why do you think Tiger’s round in 2000 was so special? Or Kaymer in ’14? They beat courses that made everyone else look silly at. Those are the rounds or moments in which you give the players a hat tip and are in awe of the shot creations these guys come up with.
5. Can Brooks really do it again? – Is a Brooks 3 peat possible? I would have said no before Bethpage, but at this specific moment, anything this guy does will not shock me. The Scot Willie Anderson did it from 1903-1905 and if Brooks does it this week, we should all bow down because that will be as impressive as anything I have ever seen in golf.
4. Chasin’ 18 – Come on! You really thought Tiger wouldn’t get included? The chase to 18 is officially back on, and Tiger is at a place where he blew out a field by 15 strokes 19 years ago. Every golf fan has to be all in on the chase to the historic 18.
3. What is “The Open” – Growing up I knew this event at The U.S. Open and the one in July as The British Open. The past 10 years we have had people begin to call The British Open “The Open,” almost a slight diss to the U.S. I recently have begun to hear Americans call The U.S. Open “The Open.” Now I am beginning to sense a rivalry between the two majors. The USGA has struggled recently but if they put on a great event this week people will begin to ask “what is the greater major.” Let the games begin.
2. The Grand Slam – This is bigger than anything this week, a player is going for the grand slam of golf, and it is the last opportunity of the season. Phil Mickelson has finished 2nd at the U.S. Open 6 times(!), but the last was 6 years ago. He returns to Pebble, a place he has won at several times before, and we have to start thinking this is one of the last and best opportunities he has. Don’t she shocked to see Lefty in the mix come Sunday.
1. Pebble Beach – America’s very own St. Andrews. Enjoy the beauty and watch history happen. This is the place where dreams are made, where kids grow up believing they will one day win at this venue. Let those dreams come true.