Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #33

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Where has the golf season gone? It’s already time for the 3rd Major of the season, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Of course the Major Tournaments are more clustered than they used to be. For years it was the Master’s in April, the U.S. Open in June, the British Open in July and the PGA in August. Now the PGA is in May. Nevertheless the key Major is this week.

The best player to never win a U.S. Open is probably Sam Snead. The most unlikely winner of a U.S. Open? Have you ever seen the movie, “The Greatest Game Ever Played?” If not, check it out. My pick for the most unlikely winner of the national championship is Francis Ouimet. He was the first amateur to win a U.S. Open. And he did it in a playoff against two of the best Brits: Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. Watch the movie.

So who will be the champion for 2021? Phil Mickelson has to be sentimental favorite after his win at the PGA last month at the age of 50. Phil is on the oddsmakers radar this week at 50-1. After tying for second in the PGA, Louis Oosthuizen is a 45-1 long shot. Viktor Hovland is 25-1 along with Tony Finau, both looking for their first Major win. Collin Morikawa is listed as 22-1. Collin proved himself worthy by winning the 2020 PGA. I like his chances. Xander Schauffele and Rory Mcllroy’s chances to win are both 20-1. I believe either one would be a good pick. Bruce Koepka’s line is 18-1. He always seems to perform best in Majors. And the oddsmaker’s favorite is Jon Rahm. He hasn’t proved to me he has the temperament and consistency to shoot four rounds under par. Torrey Pines is certainly not an easy track, but I’m predicting lower scores than normal at this U.S. Open venue. Ouimet won in 1913 with a 304 total. That’s a 76 average. Ben Hogan was victorious in 1950 and ’51 with a 287. Jack Nicklaus shot 275 in 1967 to win. The following year Lee Trevino carded a 275. Payne Stewart took the trophy at Pinehurst in 1999 with a one-shot victory over Phil Mickelson with a 279. Tiger Woods set a scoring record at Pebble Beach in 2000 shooting a 272. Rory Mcllroy beat that mark in 2011 with a 268, a record that still stands. Bryson Dechambeau is the reigning champion so don’t count him out. Rory really needs a win and I think he’ll do it this Father’s Day.

I plan to play golf with my dad Sunday. He’ll hit ’em straight but not far. You hit ’em straight and I’ll recap the U.S. Open next week!