Open Time

Filed under: Entertainment,Golf,Just For Fun,Leisure |

Today is one of the biggest days in the golfing world… it’s the first round of the US Open.

The United States Open Championship, commonly known as the U.S. Open, is the annual open golf tournament of the United States.  It is the second of the four “majors” in golf and is always staged in the middle of June by the United States Golf Association (USGA).  The event is scheduled so that, if there are no weather delays, the final round is played on the third Sunday, which also happens to be Father’s Day

The U.S. Open is staged at a variety of courses and set up in such a way that scoring is always very difficult with a premium placed on accurate driving. U.S. Open play is normally characterized by tight scoring at or around par by the leaders, with the winner emerging at around even par.

The one major difference with the U.S. Open is it is the only one of the four major championships that does not go immediately to a playoff if two or more players are tied at the end of the four rounds. Instead, the players play a fifth 18-hole round the following day (Monday), but if a tie still exists after the round, then a sudden death playoff is held. Only three times has the U.S. Open gone to sudden death after the playoff round, most recently in 2008 when Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate on the first playoff hole at Torrey Pines.

This year the event returns to one of my favorite courses, Pebble Beach. Pebble Beach Golf Links is  located in on the Monterey Peninsular in California and is one of four courses in the coastal community of Pebble Beach. The other courses are The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and Del Monte Gof Course.

Pebble Beach is one of the most beautiful courses in the world. It hugs the rugged coastline and has wide open views of the ocean. In 2001 it became the first public course (i.e. open to the general public for play) to be selected as the No.1 Golf Course in America by Golf Digest but greens fees are among the highest in the world, currently at $495 (plus $35 cart fee for non-resort guests) per round.

Pebble Beach has hosted the U.S. Open four times and has an exceptionally distinguished set of Open Champions including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite and Tiger Woods.  It was also the venue of the 1977 PGA Championship which was won by Lanny Wadkins.

So, who’s in the running this year? Well, the last two weeks have seen English victors on the PGA Tour with Justin Rose and Lee Westwood winning the Memorial and the St. Jude Classic respectively. Both Rose and Westwood are in fine form and you can expect a challenge from both of them.

The sentimental pick, particularly after his performance at the British Open in 2009, is Tom Watson but other notables and those who usually challenge for honors are Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington and Jim Furyk. Then, of course, there’s the best player in the world, and if Tiger Woods can recapture his wayward form in 2010 then it’s hard to see past the title going to one of these nine names.

There’s much to look forward to… let the action begin.

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