U.S. Open - Tiger vs. The Field
June 10, 2013
By Dan Daly
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“Not just the biggest golf Tournament in the world; the most democratic. I mean it's open. Anyone's got a shot at it. You just gotta get past a local and a sectional qualifier, and unlike Doral or Colonial or the AT&T, they can't keep you out. They can't ask you if you're a garbage man or a bean-picker or a driving range pro whose check is signed by a stripper. You qualify, you're in.” – Roy McAvoy
This past Monday I went out to Lakewood CC in Dallas near my house to watch the US Open sectional qualifier, and what I witnessed was what makes the U.S. Open great. Ryan Palmer and a kid you have never heard of, Zack Fischer, both birdied their 36th hole of the day to go into a sudden death playoff for the last spot into the Open.
As far as golfers go, this thing was David vs. Goliath. Palmer has three PGA Tour wins…Zack Fischer has Monday qualified for three PGA Tour events in his career; and made one cut. No one even knew Zack’s name so we all just called him “orange shirt guy” when we were betting on who would win and how many holes it would take. I texted my wife that I would “be home shortly.” Instead, what took place next would have gone down as the longest PGA tour playoff ever.
Through four holes, each guy had two birdie putts to close it out and missed.
On the 5th playoff hole, both guys stuck it inside of 7 feet and drained it.
On the 7th playoff hole Palmer missed a 5 footer for birdie to close it out and on the 8th playoff hole it was so dark, I couldn’t see the hole…and I was standing on the fringe 20 feet away. Fischer said he made his putt by memory because they had played the hole so many times.
7:30 Tuesday morning we started again. Fischer made a 25 foot sidewinder on the 10th playoff hole to save par and stay alive.
Finally, on the 12th playoff hole, 14 hours, 10 pars and one birdie after the sudden death playoff started, Zack Fischer, a no name 23-year-old kid from Texarkana made a 10 footer for birdie to beat Ryan Palmer and qualify for the U.S. Open. I don’t know if young Zack Fischer will break 80 either day at the U.S. Open but I’ll be rooting for him.
One other side note from the sectional qualifier; you can easily distinguish the PGA players from the wanna be tour players because the tour players are in shorts and have stand bags while the wanna be players are in slacks and have staff bags.
As for the U.S. Open itself.
Normally I like to handicap the field for each major the week before; but as I said back in February in my 2013 PGA Tour preview…Tiger Woods is going to win the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion. Since then all he has done is win four tournaments and get railroaded at the Masters. Soooo, yeah, nothing’s changed. This is basically a 72-hole competition for second place…I don’t really know how else to say it. I could list all of the reasons he is going to win but that would be a waste of everyone’s time; just trust me on this one. Bet on him at 4 /1 odds, collect four times your money and send me a thank you note later. So instead of handicapping who I think is going to finish second I figured I would go ahead and cover a few other aspects of the 2013 US Open instead.
First and foremost the USGA failed miserably with their featured pairing. Under the circumstances, Tiger, Adam Scott (caddy Stevie Williams) and Sergio in the same threesome would have been the single greatest threesome ever assembled for a golf tournament. I guess they got two-thirds of right at least, but overall, I give them an F on that one. At least tell me Gary Anderson and John North are the walking marshals for that group?
As for Sergio, Philadelphia sports fans booed Santa Claus, they are going to crucify him. If he makes it 36 holes without having a complete meltdown I would consider that a successful U.S. Open for him. The odds of him making the cut are somewhere in the billion to one range.
Actually, FIGJAM aka Phil Mickelson will finish second…again.
Oakley released the four outfits Bubba Watson will wear during the U.S. Open…he won’t need more than two.
Luke Donald will be the non-Tiger cliché pick all week by the “experts.” Waste of time.
The Ian Poulter/Boo Weekley pairing by the USGA is actually brilliant. I’m going to need the audio of those conversations immediately.
Lee Westwood will contend, because that’s what Lee Westwood does. Lee Westwood will find a way to lose, because that’s what Lee Westwood does.
Guan Tianlang, good decision bypassing the U.S. Open qualifier so you could continue missing cuts on Tour. Are his 15 minutes up yet? Someone tell him and his parents it’s ok to say no thank you.
The U.S. Open will feature wicker baskets instead of flags at Merion. On a 1 to 10 scale the relevance of this is about a 2 at most, however NBC will talk about it ad nauseam. You were warned.
The Ben Hogan 1-iron plaque on 18 will be showed/featured roughly 1,267,953 times.
John Daly played his entire round at the St. Jude on Sunday in one hour and 55 minutes. Not one group at any point in the entire U.S. Open will play nine holes faster than that.
Am I the only person that thinks Adam Scott should show up on the first tee box wearing the Green Jacket, take it off, hand it to Steve Williams and then shake Tiger’s hand?
Finally, last year it took Johnnie Miller exactly two minutes and twenty-two seconds before he made his first Oakmont reference when he came on the air Thursday. That’s going to be tough to break this year, but hey, the man once shot 63 in the final round of the ’73 U.S. Open to win, so who am I doubt him.
Until Next Week (when I will have four times more money),