U.S. Open Golf Predictions 2012: Rory McIlroy and Favorites That Will Contend
Can he do it again?
Will we see Rory McIlroy blister another American golf course? Will we see a run that only a Tiger Woods can match? Or, will we see a real battle by the one of the world's best (McIlroy) and one of the upstarts we all are waiting for to challenge him during the next decade (Rickie Fowler)?
This could be a great and historic week in professional golf.
While McIlroy and Luke Donald push the top of the world golf ranking off on each other time and time again, there are others in the world we can all worry about.
The American golfers are playing better and the competition worldwide seems to be better all around.
And then there is Tiger, who found his winning mojo.
Things could not be better.
Here are some contenders we all should watch for in San Francisco.
How about an encore?
Does Rory have it in him?
Everyone wants to see what happens this year on a new course. Can Rory make San Francisco bow down to him?
Not this season, but with the talent and the way the competition has gotten better, maybe it will make him play better than last season—if that is even possible.
McIlroy has the ability to make majors look like child's play. We will have the chance to see if that will happen this weekend.
Which Tiger will show up?
Hopefully, the one who can find the mojo to lead going into Sunday.
Hopefully, the one who can make other golfers think about him, maybe taking them out of their comfort zone.
Is Tiger back? Not yet. But his game is better, this is a major golf tournament and never, ever count him out if he is lurking on the leaderboard on the last day.
This could be the major he needs to prove he can still play at a top level.
I am amazed that the world's best golfer has not won a major tournament.
Maybe this is Donald's chance.
Personally, I like his chances and think that this could be the one that leads to other major wins.
Like Phil Mickelson, who finally won a Masters, the roll began after the first one was finally captured.
Donald could get on that kind of a run.
He won Nordea by five shots, but he still does not have a major title to his name.
Westwood is as consistent as they come. He has held the top spot in the world golf rankings and is currently third overall.
Can he make a claim to be the second of the "Big Three" to capture a major?
I think Westwood will challenge on Sunday. He may even be in the finally pairing. If there were a more underrated third-best golfer in the world, I would sure like to know who it is.
Westwood is just solid all around.
The man from England may be the forgotten man in Europe.
We all talk about McIlroy, Westwood and Donald. Rose is ranked seventh in the world and plays as well as anyone.
He could be a dark horse this weekend that we will all be watching in awe.
He plays a solid game.
Oosthuizen always seems to be in the mix when it comes to major golf outings and he is a consistent player.
Again, he is one of those players who does not get the attention he deserves because of others who are ranked ahead of him on the tour.
He is one of my five who could lead from start to finish.
Don't ever count Phil out. He knows something about winning majors and could win again this week.
We would be thrilled to see the "over 40" contingent make a run. What better way to do that then see Phil leading after Saturday and in the last pairing on Sunday?
And if Woods is on the leaderboard, look for Mickelson to pick his game up a bit and play some of his best golf.
Everyone seems to want him to be the next "Tiger" to take over American golf.
The man who likes to wear orange and seems to be ready to make things happen and claim a major title, just may make us all forget about that McIlroy guy in America.
Better yet, if the two were to challenge each other over the next decade, we could see a rivalry like Nicklaus and Watson or the Tiger/Phil rivalry that never materialized.
He won the Players Championship in May. Kuchar is always a threat to win when he is in a tournament.
And we are all waiting for him to break through.
Kuchar is currently ranked sixth in the world and a win could catapult him toward being one of the top Americans to take golf into the next decade.
The St. Simons Island native has the game that can lead the golf world for the next half decade at least.
Didn't he finish second at the Open last season?
Day was a top-10 golfer last year, but has not been as solid as he was in 2011.
Still, the youngster could surprise us all and make another solid run in a major.
He may not win this tournament, but I would not be surprised if he were in the hunt come the weekend and challenging on Sunday.
Jason Dufner may be the hottest golfer on the American tour, and he could make an even bigger splash this week.
Dufner was about to win last year's PGA Championship until Keegan Bradley came along. Dufner has proven to be a consistent golfer so far this season.
That consistency should pay off, as he will most likely be in contention this week.
If he were to win, he would clearly be one of the up-and-coming Americans on the tour.
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