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22.09.2018

Why this US Open figures to be the most fascinating in years.

This will not be a boring U.S. Open. There are too many elements that figure to make the week a memorable one at Shinnecock Hills. You have your pick of a number of sub-plots: — Tiger Woods, healthy and in solid form, playing the tournament for the first time since 2015. — Phil Mickelson, a...
Time: 20:51     Date: 13.06.2018
Last US Sport News: Why this US Open figures to be the most fascinating in years. NY Post 24 - US News

There are too many elements that figure to make the week a memorable one at Shinnecock Hills. You have your pick of a number of sub-plots:

— Tiger Woods, healthy and in solid form, playing the tournament for the first time since 2015.

— Phil Mickelson, a six-time runner-up at the U.S. Open, attempting to complete the rare career Grand Slam.

— The No. 1 ranking, which has become a hot potato, is up for grabs again.

— Shinnecock itself, which is hosting its fifth U.S. Open — the last of which ended in controversy with the USGA’s egregious, blatant mishandling of the green conditions in the final round, thus compromising the integrity of the field and the championship.

— Brooks Koekpa, the defending champion, has been a virtual afterthought after having missed most of this season with a wrist injury.

— Is anyone paying attention to Jason Day, who’s finished in the Top-10 in five of his seven U.S. Opens, is a long hitter with a magnificent short game and is ranked No. 1 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting?

Some of the pairings the USGA put together are positively delicious — TV candy. On the Thursday morning side of the draw, Mickelson is paired with Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy — all three players currently missing one major championship to complete the Grand Slam.

On the Thursday afternoon side, Woods is paired with Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, Nos. 1 and 2 in the world rankings, respectively.

Then there’s the old dudes pairing of Ernie Els, Steve Stricker and Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk. Els and Furyk were given special exemptions into the field.

Then there are the three Spaniards paired together — Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrero-Bello, whose caddie is Colin Byrne, Retief Goosen’s caddie for his win at the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock.

To illustrate how volatile the race for No. 1 is, five players have a chance this week to dethrone Johnson. Thomas needs a three-way tie for fifth or better. Justin Rose needs a solo second place or a win. Spieth, Rahm and McIlroy need to win.

Thomas insisted that losing his No. 1 ranking to Johnson last week “didn’t affect me … because I couldn’t do anything about it. I wasn’t playing.’’

“And, D.J. won, so it’s not like he didn’t play well and didn’t earn it or anything,’’ he said. “He won a golf tournament and a great tournament. So there’s nothing I can be upset about for that.’’

Thomas then related something he saw on Twitter that amused him.

“It was something about like the last time that I wasn’t ranked No. 1 in the world — and it was like ‘Ovechkin didn’t have a Stanley Cup and Rickie (Fowler) wasn’t engaged,’’’ he said. “I thought it was pretty funny, whoever came up with that.’’

“I’m in the great position where world ranking, becoming World No. 1, is going to be a byproduct of winning this week,’’ he said. “So I may as well just continue to focus on the winning. That’s where the points are. That’s where the fun is, to be honest with you. I couldn’t think of a better scenario than to win a major, to win a golf tournament and to become World No. 1.

“I don’t know where any scenarios are this week. All I’m focusing on is winning. Winning major championships has been my dream as a kid. A World No. 1 is a really cool thing to say at some point in your career, but it’s not my primary focus. My primary focus is winning the tournaments that will get me there.’’

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Business

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Sport

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