The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts is hosting a golf tournament this weekend. There are five different groups and the winner will come from one of these groups. Here’s an overview of who they are and their rankings so far:
1) The Group Of A Young Tiger And Superstar Golfers
2) The Group With 7-Time Major Champion Phil Mickelson (and more!)
3) The Group With 3 World Champions
4) Groups That Have Never Won Before or Been In This Position At All before today, respectively
The “country club near me” is a country club in Brookline. The winner of the Country Club’s championship golf tournament will come from one of these 5 groups.
Anyone anyone get the impression that the PGA Tour players and those who have switched to LIV Golf are about to engage in a West Side Story-style brawl? I’m kidding. Maybe. The U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, this week presents the first opportunity for such a thing to occur, if it is going to.
One of the main talking themes of the 122nd U.S. Open will definitely be the PGA vs. LIV debate. And considering what is going on in the game right now, it should be. But at the end of the day, 156 of the best golfers in the world will seek to put their names to one of the sport’s most renowned trophies at one of its most storied settings, and no matter whose side you’re on, we’re all going to watch it.
And I have a lot of faith that one of these five groups will produce the golfer who takes first place. Spoiler alert: Phil Mickelson won’t be it, despite the fact that he will likely have an eventful week regardless of where he finishes on the leaderboard. But only because Shane Lowry and Lefty are paired together for the opening two days, and I think Lowry has a good chance of adding a U.S. Open trophy to the Claret Jug he won in 2019.
Just not enough to bring the whole gang in at this time. Louis Oosthuizen of LIV is also included in the group. However, let’s take a closer look at the other five players from the first two rounds who have a far higher chance of delivering the 122nd U.S. Open champion.
James Piot, Jon Rahm, and Collin Morikawa
Defending @usopengolf champ Jon Rahm on LIV temptation: “Shotgun, three days with no cut to me is not a golf tournament. I want to play against the best in the world in a format that has been going on for a hundred years.” pic.twitter.com/zMw1cnQhNM
— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) June 14, 2022
James Piot, the current U.S. Amateur champion who only turned pro last month, should be disqualified right now. He failed to make the cut in each of his four 2022 PGA Tour appearances. At The Masters, the 23-year-old also failed to make the cut. But he eventually received payment when he tied for 25th in the first LIV competition in London, finishing 14 strokes behind the victor Charl Schwartzel. So, there you go.
We definitely have to start with the current champion Jon Rahm when identifying the members of this trio that have the potential to win the U.S. Open. Despite finishing 48th at the PGA Championship and tied for 27th at Augusta, the world’s second-ranked golfer understands what it takes to prevail in this golf competition. He hasn’t been a factor in either of the season’s first two major tournaments.
Collin Morikawa, who has had a rather up-and-down year so far, completes this trio. Since the year 2022 began, he has finished in the top five four times, but not since The Masters. And in his four outings since then, the world No. 7 hasn’t fared better than 26th, including a missed cut at his most recent start at the Memorial. But given that Morikawa has two victories and five top-10 finishes in ten tries in major championships, he must be taken into account in this situation.
Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, and Max Homa
Max Homa hasn’t exactly had the best history at the U.S. Open; in his three visits, he’s missed the cut twice. The 31-year-old is playing some fantastic golf as he travels to Brookline and is enjoying the finest season of his career. Last month at the Wells Fargo, he earned his second PGA Tour victory of the whole season. In his most recent outing at the Memorial, he tied for seventh. His best-ever major result came at the PGA Championship in between, when he tied for 13th.
Adam Scott hasn’t finished in the top 10 at a major in three years, but at least that major was the U.S. Open. The 2013 Masters champion may be able to dig deep this week and find some more of that major magic because he hasn’t placed higher than 26th in his past six stroke-play tournaments, a span that includes two missed cuts.
Jordan Spieth is now the favorite to win the 2022 U.S. Open, as he should be. The guy who is now ranked 10th in the world has made three of his previous five starts and has placed seventh or better, including victories at the RBC Heritage and the Byron Nelson. Despite his lackluster performance at the majors this year—he missed the cut at Augusta and tied for 34th at the PGA—don’t be shocked if the 2015 champion makes the cut on Sunday.
Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, and Hideki Matsuyama
📈 @McIlroyRory’s resume continues to grow.
Nelson, Byron Nicklaus, Jack Palmer, Arnold Watson, Tom Woods, Tiger McIlroy, Rory
No one else has recorded 21+ TOUR wins with 4+ major championships before the age of 34 since the inception of the Masters. pic.twitter.com/HwTAs5ChgO
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 13, 2022
Hideki Matsuyama, the reigning 2021 Masters champion and current world No. 13, would be happy with any result after being banned from the Memorial for marks on his 3-wood, the first DQ of his PGA Tour career. Matsuyama’s tenth U.S. city is Brookline. He has made an Open appearance, has participated in the weekend every year except one, and has six times placed in the top 25, including a runner-up result in 2017.
Rory McIlroy returned to the winner’s circle this past weekend at the RBC Canadian Open after having five top-10 finishes in his first 10 appearances of the year but no victories. Greg Norman, the face of LIV, has 20 PGA Tour victories, so he made sure to note that this was his 21st. Sticking it to the LIV contenders teeing it up at the U.S. Open is probably a major incentive for the 2011 champion. McIlroy has been defending the PGA Tour every time he gets.
Olympic gold winner Xander Schuaffele likes playing golf at the U.S. Open, but he has yet to win his first major tournament. The player with the 12th-best ranking in the world has participated in five national championships and has never finished worse than eighth.
Justin Thomas, Viktor Hovland, and Tony Finau
Tony Finau, who is without a doubt one of the finest golfers in the world but has never won a major title, arrives in Brookline having been playing well. In three of his previous five events, the world No. 15 has placed in the top four, including this past weekend’s second-place showing in Canada. He is really overdue for a strong performance in the U.S. Open. Finau failed to make the cut in the last two unlucky years, 2019 and 2021. However, he came in fifth in 2018 and tied for eighth in 2020, the last two even years. That signifies nothing at all, but I think his odds this week are good.
I keep looking forward to Viktor Hovland’s breakthrough performance, but it hasn’t happened yet. And that’s unexpected coming from a person who is seventh in the world. The first ever Norwegian to win a PGA Tour event has made eight major starts, but despite withdrawing from the U.S. Open last year, he has never been within the top 10. His finest major, despite that withdrawal, has been this one. At Pebble Beach three years ago, he finished tied for 12th as the bottom amateur. The next year at Winged Foot, Hovland finished tied for 13th.
This week, Justin Thomas is unquestionably a wise investment. Why else would he be? The man who is now ranked fifth in the world has had three of his previous four outings end in a top-five result, including his victory at the PGA Championship last month. In Canada this past week, he too displayed exceptional golf, coming in third behind Finau and McIlroy. If he were the one to help Bones Mackay win the U.S. Open, that would be rather comical.
Scottie Scheffler, Cameron Smith, and Brooks Koepka
Recently, Brooks Koepka’s golf game hasn’t been at its best. However, the two-time U.S. Open champion should never be written out in any big event, particularly this one. Koepka has made eight starts in his career in the U.S. Open and five times he has been in the top 10. Additionally, in each of his previous four tournament starts, he has placed fourth or better (he missed 2020 due to injury). Although the course is different, he enjoys playing in the U.S. Open, so this may be the week he gets his game back on track.
Scottie Scheffler is still a danger to win any event he enters, despite the fact that he has slowed down a little since his remarkable run that propelled him to the top of the world rankings and featured a victory at The Masters. Scheffler rebounded well with a second-place result at the Charles Schwab Challenge after unexpectedly missing the weekend at Southern Hills. His game is in fantastic form as he seeks to win a second major as he recently tied for 18th in Canada.
As he tied for fourth at Chambers Bay, Cameron Smith’s 2015 U.S. Open debut was a resounding success. But since then, it hasn’t been nearly as easy. The world’s sixth-ranked golfer hasn’t advanced above a tie for 38th place in his five U.S. Open appearances since then (he skipped 2017) and has missed two cuts, including last year at Torrey Pines. Without The Masters, Smith’s only other top-10 result in a major is a T-4 in the 2015 U.S. Open. It will thus be intriguing to observe how he performs this week.
And the 2022 U.S. Open champion is…
On June 15, 2022, Rory McIlroy chips to the 14th green at The Country Club during a practice round for the US Open. Getty Images/Warren Little
Amazing, huh? I’m not even going to try to pretend that I ever thought Rory would not win the 2022 U.S. Open. Not based on his recent playing style. Yes, I am aware that I chose him for both the PGA Championship and the Masters. Additionally, McIlroy would have made me seem pretty terrific at Augusta had Scheffler faltered even little.
And when he started with that 65, I was pretty confident in my choice at Southern Hills. Over the next two days, he was unable to do anything. Even so, he only ended in a tie for eighth place, three strokes short of the playoffs. I’m staying with Rory because he’s right there poised to add a fifth major. And, spoiler warning, regardless of what happens at Brookline, I most likely will at The Open Championship the following month as well.
But in all honesty, I believe McIlroy will prevail in this golf match. Although he’ll need to locate the fairway a little bit more, Rory may be best at hitting some impressive tee shots, which will be necessary. Although he is 112th in accuracy, he is fourth on the PGA Tour in terms of total driving distance.
However, I remain optimistic about his possibilities. How amazing would that victory speech be, too? On a lesser platform last week, he already made some harsh remarks about Greg Norman. Think of the shots he’d fling at the LIV men at the U.S. Open!
There is a clear narrative. He simply has to string together four good rounds this time, not just three, to win that fifth major. The 2022 U.S. Open is won by Rory McIlroy. Plan it.
PGATour.com and the Official World Golf Ranking provided the statistics.
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