Friday, July 18, 2008
So, Who Ya Got?
Day two of the Open Championship is in the books and we've had just about everything. Bad weather, good weather, past champions, young faces, Tiger Woods even though he's not playing, and some excellent coverage by TNT.
The thing is, after two days, we have less of an idea of who's going to win than we did before the tournament started.
Greg Norman? David Duval? K.J. Choi? John Da...oh, never mind.
The big question is, who will win this thing?
Lets breakdown the leaders and go over what they have to do to win this thing.
K.J. Choi - Maybe the only person on the leaderboard besides Jim Furyk who doesn't surprise you. He birdied 17 and 18, so it appears he can handle the pressure and was here last year (finished t-8 at Carnoustie). He needs to remember he's actually the top dog right now at the Open and play with that confidence (Oh, and fist pump as much as possible, high comedy).
Greg Norman - Just forget everything. Norman said he's probably practiced more tennis lately than golf, and tomorrow is going to be a completely different beast that he hasn't attacked in probably 15 years (when he last won the Open). If he can keep that putter on fire and forget that he's 53, maybe he can pull this thing off. Not to be the pessimist, but you see a lot of this in the first couple of days at a major, and not many are around Sunday night. No matter, he's still the story of this major.
Camilo Villegas - Play like you did the last five holes on Friday. Villegas is in this tournament because he caught fire and birdied his final five holes, but the Florida Gator has never won on the PGA Tour, so it will be tough to not be thinking about that tomorrow and Sunday. I'd so momentum is his best friend right now, so try to side with that and not that huge nervous side that will be around all weekend.
Rocco Mediate - Oh, Rocco, how the golf world is loving you now. The best thing for you to do is embrace this popularity and go with it. Nothing makes a golfer better than personal confidence and it looks like Mediate has it. I don't think Hollywood could write a better story than Rocco losing to Tiger at the U.S. Open is truly amazing fashion, only to come back at the next major and snatching the Claret Jug. If he keeps this play up he's going to be part of Azinger's crew in Valhalla.
Graeme McDowell - Keep it rolling. Two wins on the European Tour including a victory at last week's Scottish Open, McDowell is the hottest player in Europe. Two made cuts and two missed cuts in the British, McDowell has the experience and would make it two in a row at the British for Ireland.
Jim Furyk - Be you. Furyk is the most talented player on the leaderboard and has played very Jim Furyk golf so far, with consecutive 71s. He's won a major and had some success at the British, so the favorite from my eyes needs to just keep doing what he's doing. Furyk is one of the leaders that could benefit from the bad weather because he hits it solid and straight.
Padraig Harrington - Forget the wrist, remember Carnoustie. The defending champion is again in the hunt and after an eagle-birdie finish today, looks to be in as good a form as anyone. If Furyk isn't the favorite, it's Paddy.
David Duval - Think 2001. Duval wouldn't just be the best story of the week, he'd be the best story of the decade if he could pull off this victory. A guy that completely lost his golf game, Duval needs to remember he was a four-time All-American at Georgia Tech, a winner of 13 PGA Tour events and owns a Claret Jug. Reality might hit tomorrow, but the ride has been fun. I never thought I'd be this excited to see "Duval" near the lead.
You can sleep in tomorrow ladies and gents because the British doesn't start until 9 AM.
Photo courtesy of Ross Kinnaird, Getty Images