Phil Mickelson

Pinehurst No.2, 114th US Open

Let’s get straight to it, the second of the majors gets underway this week with the 114th US Open, at Pinehurst No.2. Woooooooooooooooo!

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Did you know… ( I didn’t either)

Twelve of the 14 US Open winners this century have been aged between 26 and 37 – only Woods and McIlroy have won at an age younger than 26 and in the case of those two world class stars such players are always likely to buck trends. Reducing the age range of the last 14 winners further, exactly 50% of them have been aged between 29 and 33.

So what does it take to win the US Open?

Well, in 2010, Pinehurst underwent a massive renovation that completely changed the way it plays. The course cut 35-40 acres of area that was just fairways and rough.

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‘The course now consists of 50 acres of turf, all maintained at fairway mowing heights, essentially eliminating the higher rough. The rest of the marginal areas were transformed into irregular, sandy ground dotted with wispy, unpredictable wiregrass. Bunkers that had been grown over also were reclaimed, while some existing ones were tugged and extended into lines of play.’

So yes, now it has been cut back it does allow the longer hitters to have a little more room when they hit bombs but I think Pinehurst will still have enough bite to punish those wayward drives to make some think twice for their risk and reward.

However for me I still think it’s going to come down to strong approach play, tight recovery shots and a magical touch around the greens that will Unlock Pinehurst No.2 come weekend.

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Although Rors and the inform (never really out of form) Adam Scott are favourites I honestly think it’s somebody else’s day… Not Jason’s either (apologies for the pun!)

To me this favours players like Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell and Zach Johnson. They aren’t the most intimidating off the tee, but they understand that putting the ball where it needs to be is more important come Sunday!

Other favourites for me are Matt Kuchar, steady eddy, a few hiccups here and there so far in 2014 but Matt’s always there, scrambles well too which will be key at Pinehurst!

Another one for me is Jason Duffner, another easy going guy, but hey what do I know, let’s wait and see, bring on Pinehurst!

Who’s your pick to win the US Open? Who will rule the weekend at North Carolina?

 

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Masters Week, Augusta starts here!

IT’S MASTERS WEEK!!! The one we have all been waiting for, the first major of the year, and the major of all majors. Augusta National.

My dream came true this time last year, as I actually got to go to the Masters, we played some courses in South Carolina during the week and spent the weekend inside the gates of Augusta! Somehow I don’t think SkySports can recreate that this week, or ever in fact, however I am equally as excited!

Anyway let’s get to it, Masters week, nothing quite like it is there? The build-up, the par 3 contest, and then the first Tee! Oh Boy!

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Out of reach for Woods?

Tiger Woods’s run of featuring in every Masters since 1995 is over after confirmation that the world No1 will not play at this week.

Woods, has been plagued by back trouble since the latter half of last year, underwent surgery on a pinched nerve last on Monday. He has set his sights on a return to action this summer and insists his career is far from over.

Big Phil also had problems last week withdrawing from the Texas Open with strained oblique’s, this said people are writing him off, and that’s all well and good but let’s be honest, out of every player in that field, Phil can always find the momentum in the majors!

Check back on Wednesday for our betting previews, not to be missed!

The Fowler Spectrum

Rickie..Rickie, Rickie, Rickie…

You remember Rickie Fowler, the young gun from Oklahoma State, the kid with the long, floppy hair under hats with bills far too big, how can you forget, he wears bright orange!!!

We briefly spoke about Rickie towards the start of the season when He teamed up with Butch Harmon for 2014.

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All kinds of talent, a great amateur career, eccentric, unique, even a motor-cross fanatic, Rickie Fowler has it all. I was watching the golf the other day and there was a piece on him, and it mentioned even with all of that, he has just one win since he hit the PGA Tour, causing a considerable stir in the world of golf.

At the ripe old age of 25, the wonder kid has been to the winner’s circle just once. But guess what? That very same guy, the one with only one win on the PGA Tour has won over $11 million. And the truth is that 2012 season, in which he won the Wells Fargo Championship, could have been even better. He was in the next-to-last group in the final round of the Memorial Tournament but managed to shoot an 84 to fall out of contention quickly.

This very well could be the year he breaks through that glass ceiling. Why? Well for a couple of reasons, actually. First, he is 25. Fowler has managed to get through the growing years as a professional golfer rather nicely. He’s posted 24 top-10 finishes and 43 top-25 finishes. There’s no doubt this kid can play.

He started out this season with a T19 in the CIMB Classic in the fall part of the 2013-14 season, and after five less-than-sparkling outings, he finished third in the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.

As previously mentioned he also has a new swing coach, and yup, the guy he hired has a glittering resume. You may recognize some of his students and former students. Do the names Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson ring any bells? Yes, Butch Harmon is the man, and he’s been working with Fowler since December 2013. Harmon has had a major stable of players over the years, led by Woods and Mickelson, and he knows talent. Look towards Dustin Johnson too.

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Fowler showed up at the Northern Trust Open with those long locks gone and the straight bill look on his golf hats. The new compact swing has taken a bit of time to yield results, but Fowler loves it.

“I’ve been swing well, the swing feels really comfortable. I know a lot of people question whether its swing changes (causing poor play) or if I’m not comfortable with it. But really I just need to get the putter warmed back up.” Look, this guy can play. He averages 298 yards off the tee, but his issues previously have been keeping those bombs in the short grass. He only does that about 57 percent of the time. That should be something that could be corrected by the instruction Harmon is providing along with that more compact swing.

Fowler is absolutely right when he talks about his putting. It’s been miserable thus far in 2014. He’s ranked 174th in the “strokes gained putting” category. Very few winners on the PGA Tour are lousy putters. He’s made a name for himself with his colourful clothing, but that’s not what he wants to be known for when he’s 40 years old. Right now, however, those clothes might be the only way golf fans will be able to recognize him because his short haircut gives him a totally different look. It all seems to be coming together for Fowler, and if it does, 2014 could be a spectacular breakout year for him.

There’s more to come from us, subscribe and share, and thanks again for reading!