Glorious Pebble Beach. The site of this year’s first Major Championship and our National Championship, the US Open.
First, the standings:
- spencer096: 74
- Lefty: 210
- Tips: 254
- Schneider: 262
- AC: 349
- toneypenna: 349
But before we get to the picks, lets make sure everyone’s playing this week first.
///I guess I’m the only one who should be worried…
Tiger Woods is the pick. He’s due to return to old Tiger form some time and he’s already won the US Open at Pebble in 2000 in historic fashion. The course will be dry and fast so why not take one of the guys who can pull off almost any shot? Did I mention he won in historic fashion in 2000? Oh I did? Well he’s gonna do it again.
There are obvious choices in life, and one of the obvious choices in a competition that rewards the chooser for high finishes is the man who has five career US Open runner ups. Yes, that’s right, I’m taking Phil Mickelson. A gutless choice? An uninspired one? Perhaps, but this isn’t a dick measuring contest, it’s a picks contest and I’m determined to win. And not only do I think that Phil will finish high at a course he’s had some fond memories at, I think he wins this one going away and gets the giant US Open monkey off of his back for major number five. Nothing flashy, nothing pretentious, just the favorite taking the favorite, that’s all.
After almost punching David Toms in the face last week, he finally decided to play on Sunday and gave me a semi-respectable score of 29. You’re lucky, dude. Consider yourself warned. This week, I’m going with someone that fits all of the criteria to win at Pebble even though he hasn’t played there in about 6 years…Zach Johnson (god I hope he at least played a practice round or something this week). ZJ is deadly with the wedge and putter and those are 2 pretty good weapons at the Beach…especially if you can also find the fairway (9th in driving accuracy). It’s going to be fast and firm, and like Spencer, ZJ likes it like that.
I’m taking Nick Watney (again?) for no other reason than I’m tired, hungover, and on vacation.
I’m taking Lee Westwood. He’s coming off a win last week, and has finished in the top three in the last three majors, as well as fourth at the fifth major, The Players. He’s playing well right now, and is due to win a major. With Tiger in a funk, and my disbelief that Phil Mickelson can ever win this tournament, Westwood is a lock to bring this one home.
As I am the newest member of TunaGolf, yet, ironically, also the oldest, it is at the US Open that I make my initial prediction for “Who ‘Ya Got?” With that in mind, and with the majestic Pebble Beach as the venue, I am going with my heart, not my wallet, and choosing Tom Watson to win this week.
He has everything going against him: he is 15 years older than Hale Irwin, who, at 45, is the oldest winner of the US Open. The course has been lengthened and toughened up, which will make it much harder for the almost 62 year old Watson to compete with the “flat bellies” of today.
However, you know what Watson has on his side???? Karma. Check this out.
1. Watson attended Stanford, literally honing his game there. He knows every possible playing condition at Pebble, having played there for over 40 years.
2. He is the only man in history to have competed at ALL FOUR of the US Opens contested at Pebble Beach, even winning in 1982 with his dramatic chip-in on the 71st hole to unseat Jack Nicklaus.
3. Three generations of karma: His father, Ray, won the Pro-Am in 1941. Tom won the tournament, twice, in 1977-1978. Tom and his son, Michael, came in 2nd in the 2007 Pro-Am to Phil Mickelson. Watson men LOVE Pebble!
4. Courses for horses: Like most of us, there are certain courses/types of courses we play well. Watson has ALWAYS been a great “links” and “hard” course golfer. The drier and harder Pebble Beach becomes, the more players will be eliminated. If he can somehow get to Sunday, he might be able to post a round while other s fade, a la Tom Kite in 1990.
5. Recent major performance: Hard to argue with a 2nd at Turnberry, a win in Hawaii at the Champions in January, and an 19th at the Masters. This year, Watson is 10th in total driving, and #1 in putting on the Champions Tour, overcoming some of the putting demons that have dogged him for years. Driving accuracy and putting will be paramount this week to contend.
6. His playing partners: For Rounds 1 and 2, Watson has been paired with two of the “young guns” on tour, Rory McIlroy and Ryo Ishikawa (combined age 39). I think their youthful exuberance will help keep Watson in the moment, and not projecting what might posibly happen.
There you have it. Get the ranch, the farm, whatever, because “Wee Tom” is gonna do it for the AARP crowd.