Rory McIlroy dominated last year's US Open by eight strokes. It was surprising to see how well he played following his Augusta collapse, but he proved that his mind was in the right place.
One year later and he's ready to defend his crown. Here are three things he must accomplish if he plans on recapturing the US Open title.
Sounds easy enough, but if you golf then you know it's not. Even for the best golfers in the world, staying consistent on every swing is just about impossible.
He has been consistent for the most part in 2012 in terms of top-10 finishes. He has five top-10 finishes in only eight PGA Tour events. McIlroy is tied for the tour lead in top-10 finishes, but he played in less events than other big-time golfers.
His pace has been tremendous.
McIlroy must be able to find the fairway, hit the green and be solid with the putter. If he can do these things consistently, we will see McIlroy fighting for another US Open title on Sunday.
Get Off to a Fast Start
Getting off to a fast start is paramount for any golfer in Major tournaments. You don't have to shoot six-under par on the first day, but you can't afford to be 10 shots down after the first day.
Shooting under par, even if you're three or four strokes back, would be ideal for any golfer's chances in this tournament.
A great start won't win the tournament for you, but a horrific start will probably end your chances.
Remember Your Successes
McIlroy dominated last year's US Open, winning by eight strokes. He shot 16-under par after his horrific ending at Augusta.
It was the victory of his career. It was the victory that made people believe that he is for real in the sport.
One year later and he's ready to prove that it wasn't a fluke.
Confidence goes a long way in sports, but especially in golf. When your stoke is consistent and your decision making is on-point, you are confident in taking any shot.
McIlroy will remember his performance from a year ago and it will encourage him to believe in himself. When you're that young, that talented and are pouring confidence, the sky is the limit.
We'll find out how confident he is come Thursday.