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U.S. Open Preview

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Editor's Note: Be sure to follow @_DanDaly on Twitter this golf season for his off-the-cuff remarks and entertaining commentary!

This is a very bittersweet week for me.  On the one hand it will be the last US Open on NBC which means the end of Johnny Miller covering the US Open.  Love him or hate (I happen to fall in the former) the US Open without Johnny Miller is like a wedding reception without liquor.  It will still go on, it just won’t be nearly as much fun.  This marks the 41 year anniversary of Miller’s win at Oakmont so I’m setting the over/under at 41 “63 in ’73” references by my man Johnny…and I would take the over.  I know this much, there will be tears shed when they sign off, probably by me but definitely by Johnny Miller.  FOX may do a great job going forward, who knows, but just thinking about them trying to cover the US Open instead of NBC makes me want to cry. 

On the other hand it also means this will be the last US Open we have to listen Chris Berman call the Thursday/Friday portion of the US Open and I think we can ALL agree that’s a good thing.  No more David “Ground Control to Major” Toms references or Jason “Bad to the” Bohn references.  Do a Twitter search for "Chris Berman" during his live coverage of the US Open this week, the mutual hatred shared for him is comical.

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As for the tournament itself, “It’s not just the biggest golf tournament in the world; it’s 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 A.T.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.”  Well, that may be true Roy but qualifying is one thing, winning is an entirely different animal.  So let’s look at who really has a shot this week. 

No chance in hell group:

Bubba Watson (28/1): As long as the USGA is still in charge of the course set-up Bubba Watson will not win a US Open.

Lee Westwood (35/1): As long as the US Open is considered a major Lee Westwood will not win the US Open.

Jim Furyk (35/1): Unless they shorten the US Open to 66 holes Jim Furyk will not win another US Open. #5hourenergy

Rickie Fowler (55/1): Last I checked he still only has one PGA Tour win.  Let’s see if he can win something a little smaller like a John Deere or Colonial before we put him in the running for a major.

I would be shocked if they won group:

Steve Stricker (55/1): He was right in the thick of it last year until the second hole Sunday ended his chances.  He’s basically a really talented part-time employee at this point in his career. 

Webb Simpson (55/1): Two US Opens in three years?  Not happening. 

Hunter Mahan (45/1): After watching him whine his way through the final round last year while in contention I don’t think he is mentally capable of winning a US Open.

Jason Day (26/1): Definitely has the game to win if his thumb is ok.  Problem is, I don’t think it is. 

Justin Rose (26/1): Justin Rose will be bidding to become the US Open's first back-to-back winner in 25 years.  Let’s just say I don’t like his odds.  (See California Chrome)

Luke Donald (35/1): If the guy is ever going to win a major, well, he would have done it two years ago, but the US Open has to be his best shot of the four.   

Zach Johnson (45/1): Just shoot me now if he wins this week.

So you’re telling me there’s a chance group:

Sergio Garcia (35/1): Sergio actually played really well last year except for two holes, 14 and 15.  He played those two holes in 16 over for the week (including a septuple-bogey 10) and played the other 64 holes in one under.  Plus Tiger is out this year, he is basically Sergio’s kryptonite. 

Martin Kaymer (40/1): Apparently the dude learned how to play golf again?  For years I’ve been saying where’d he go? And people were like where’d whoooo go… Yeah, and he's laughing at us. (If you don’t get that reference I can’t help you).

Henrik Stenson (30/1): I got nothin’, but just trust me, he isn’t going to win. 

My wife wants him to win group:

Graeme McDowell (35/1): Good year…bad year…doesn’t matter.  The guy just shows up in majors where even par matters. 

The contenders group:

Matt Kuchar (23/1): You know he will be on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon…the question with him is, was and continues to be…can he close down the stretch? 

Dustin Johnson (35/1): Dude is silly talented, has been this close to winning several majors already and will close the deal one of these days in a major.  He’ll be there Sunday afternoon.   

Jordan Spieth (20/1): He may win this week, he may not, but would you bet against him winning a major sooner than later?  Me neither.  Plus he just did this.

Rory McIlroy (10/1): Free at last, free at last, thank god almighty I’m free at last.  Turns out the equipment was the problem after all…just not the equipment we all thought it was. 

Adam Scott (15/1): I mean, is there a tournament in the world you don’t like his chances right now?   

The final group:

Phil FIGJAM Mickelson (16/1): As if his US Open failures weren’t a big enough story already throw in the fact that he is now just a US Open away from the career grand slam and we are returning to Pinehurst #2 where he famously lost to Payne Stewart in 1999. They might as well just rename the Golf Channel the Mickelson Channel this week.  I’ve already called AT&T U-Verse and ask them to remove TGC for the week. 

So “what will Phil do next?” 

Well, I actually thought he might win the US Open this year to be honest with you….and then I read this quote.  "It's a tournament I've played too well in over the years not to finally win and I actually believe I'll win a couple.'' I’m sorry, a couple?  As in, two more than zero?  Yeah, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here Phil.     

So I ask myself, since he isn’t going to win how does he finish second at a US Open yet again?  He’s lost from ahead, behind, in the last group, in the second to last group, on the 18th hole several times, you name it, and he’s done it.  I mean look…when you’ve finished second place SIX times in one tournament you’ve done it all.  And then it hit me; he has actually yet to finish second by losing in a playoff. 

Phil FIGJAM Mickelson, going for the career grand slam at the course where he played with a fake baby pager will once again get himself into the final group.  At which point he will hold a two-shot lead through 67 holes only to hit an overly aggressive iron into #14 which will fly the green leading to a short game meltdown behind the hole and a subsequent double bogey. He will eventually end up in a Monday playoff where he will not only lose but immediately be arrested for insider trading while walking off the 18th green by FBI Special Agent Johnny Utah. 

Your winner in that playoff?

My man, Jason Dufner (35/1): While Phil is being escorted away in handcuffs Dufner will celebrate once again by throwing in a pinch, handing his wife the can and slapping her on the ass on National TV. 

It’s the US Open after all…What’s more American than that?

  
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