114th U.S. Open Preview
The 114th US Open is returning to Pinehurst, North Carolina where the Pinehurst No. 2 is waiting to crown yet another champion. The US Open has taken place at Pinehurst No. 2 two times before this year now while the 2005 US Open was a special tournament that saw Michael Campbell take home the trophy it does not compare to the memorable US Open that took place in 1999, 15 years ago. Tied with Phil Michelson going into the final hole, Payne Stewart sunk a 15 foot par putt to give him a one stroke victory over the lefty however what made the 99th US Open so memorable had nothing to do with the actual tournament it had to do with the death of Payne Stewart just a short four months later in a plane crash. Now the US Open returns to Pinehurst No. 2 where an open field of players is ready to take advantage of the course and place their name in history.
Pinehurst No. 2 is located in the town of Pinehurst, North Carolina and is a course that has seen many changes since the last major was held there in 2005. With a substantial length of 7,565 yards covering the course this par 70 could play more favorably to the golfers than previous US Opens. In 2010, the Pinehurst Resort was anticipating the 2014 US Open coming to their historic No. 2 course so the Resort had all the rough removed from the course which could play into the advantage of the golfers. With 111 Bunkers patrolling the course along with one pond that wouldn’t come into play until at least until the 16th hole which may lead to the US Open seeing a winner score under par for the first time in two years. The course has already received complaints from veterans such as Bubba Watson who complained about the long par 4 holes especially the ones on hole 2, 4, 8 and 16 that are all over 500 yards.
The defending champ of the US Open is Justin Rose who beat out Phil Mickelson and Jason Day by two strokes at the Merian Golf Club last year. With that win he became the first Englishman since Tony Jacklin in 1970 to win the US Open and as a result of his win he was bumped up to third ranked in the world. However he has not won a tournament since his victory last year and as a result he has dropped down to ninth in the world.
The big story of the 114th US Open is Phil Mickelson and his quest for golf immortality with the career grand slam. Mickelson has become one of the most beloved and popular players in recent golf history however due to his history of psoriatic arthritis Phil has had some struggles of late which seems to make him even more beloved. Mickelson is within one US Open victory of becoming a legend in golf in that it would secure him the ever so rare career grand slam. With a victory in the US Open he would belong to a club that currently only has five players in it with legends such as Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in the club this win could place Phil Mickelson’s name in golf immortality. What would make Phil’s quest for his first US Open victory so special and just so amazing is that fact he has come up short so many times in his career as he has finish runner-up a record SIX times throughout his career. Mickelson with no Tiger Woods this year to keep him from immortality he has become the favorite of not only golf expects but the passionate golf fans that absolutely adore the man nicknamed “lefty”.
With the four week number one in the world Adam Scott looking to stultify himself as the world number one along with youngster Jordan Speith and former US Open winner Rory Mcllroy in the field as well as popular golfers Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar this seems to be one of the most wide open fields in recent US Open memory which should result in a great four day weekend.