Who will win the 112th US Open?

The golfing calendar is now brimming with professional golf tournaments every weekend of the year, it seems.  Though the four tournaments that matter above all else in men’s golf are the Majors; and it is every pro golfers dream to win one of the four most prestigious championships in the world.

The first of the Major Championships in 2012 was a classic, settled by a two-hole play-off when Bubba Watson beat South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen after an amazing approach shot found the green after a disastrous tee shot left him deep in the trees.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were the favourites going into the US Masters though I had a sneaky feeling the long fairways were going to be perfect for Lee Westwood to win his first Major Championship. Neither Tiger or Rory were contenders, and Lee Westwood left himself short with some poor putting throughout the whole tournament.

The next of the four Majors will be the 112th US Open Championship in June, followed by The British Open (known simply as ‘The Open’) in July and lastly, the PGA Championship in the United States.

While Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer continue to jostle to be ranked number 1 in the world, all eyes will be focussing on the US Open which this year will be held at The Olympic Club, Lake Course on 14-17 June.

Rory McIlroy and Tiger woods are once again favourites ahead of the US Open, with McIlroy looking to defend his title and Tiger Woods (2000, 2002, 2008) looking for a fourth victory to equal the current record held by Scotsman Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905) and American legends Bobby Jones (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930), Ben Hogan (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953) and Jack Nicklaus (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980).

Current golf betting has Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at 8/1 followed by Phil Mickelson 12/1, Lee Westwood 14/1 and Luke Donald 16/1 with Hunter Mahan, Martin Kaymer, Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson at 33/1.

I can’t help thinking, if only Lee Westwood could be step up with his short game, it would only be a matter of time before he wins his first Major.  But equally, you never know when the Tiger is going to return; and I am confident it is when and not if.


Rory McIlroy Wins US Open

Yesterday Rory McIlroy won the US Open, his first Major victory with an amazing -16 and eight shot lead.

22 year old Rory McIlroy became the youngest player to win the US Open for 88 years and the first to lead at the end of all four rounds since Tiger Woods in 2002.  In doing so he will have wiped the memory and pain of his disaster at Augusta where he was in a similar position after three rounds, only the fall apart on the final day.

Though he is still only 22 years old, big things have been expected of Rory McIlroy since he turned pro in 2007 at the sprightly age of 17.  The weight of expectation was placed on his shoulders when Tiger Woods stated that McIlroy was the future of golf.  And though over the past four years he has come close, he has never been able to keep in the zone for four days solid; until now.

On completing his final round, 2010 US Open champion, fellow compatriot and close friend Graeme McDowell said Rory McIlroy was the best golfer he has ever seen.  Strong words coming from a man who has played with Tiger Woods on several occasions.

Rory McIlroy has now officially arrived on the world stage.  The US crowds love him and with a deflated Tiger Woods, the biggest sponsors in the world will be queuing up to have a piece of his fame.  But it could have been so different if he had cracked under the pressure, as he did at Augusta in the US Masters in April when he went into the final day with a four stroke lead and finished in joint 15th after a final round of 80. If the same choking capitulation had happened to Rory McIlroy yesterday at Congressional it may have had a lasting psychological effect.  That is something McIlroy had been working on among other things with golf legend Jack Nicklaus who has acted as a mentor to McIllroy over the past two years.

As it is, this morning Rory McIlroy wakes up to realise it wasn’t all a dream after winning his first Major championship and with it will no doubt be the favourite to win next month’s British Open Championship at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, Kent.