Tiger vs. the field is back.
All eyes are on Tiger Woods in the 2012 U.S. Open after just his second victory since his affair fiasco(s) at the Memorial Tournament. Analysts are labeling the competition as what would be the most important win of his career because of his major drought.
ESPN3 will begin its online coverage off Round 2 on Friday, June 14th at 11:30 p.m. EDT.
Bob Harig of ESPN reported that Woods will be paired with arch rival Phil Mickelson and Masters champ Bubba Watson in what will without a doubt be the trio to watch. While those three will be the center of attention throughout the weekend, they aren’t the only group to watch closely. Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood—the three best players in the world—will also be playing alongside each other.
Bettors are throwing money on those big names, but Brendan Prunty of The Star-Ledger doesn’t believe any of them will come out on top. He pegged Matt Kucher as the underdog that will claim to the 2012 crown. Prunty wrote:
This is the week for one of the sweetest swinging guys on tour. Kuchar is first in scoring average (69.3) and 10th in greens in regulation (68.3 percent) this year. Target golf will be key at Olympic this week and Kuchar fits that mold perfectly.
Kuchar is the No. 6 player in the world so he’s certainly no slouch, but it’d still be a surprise for him to be the last golfer standing on Sunday. Tiger is the favorite after his latest triumph and for good reason. His confidence is back and he’s desperate to reignite his pace in the race to catch Jack Nicklaus.
Because the stakes are so high for Woods, if anyone else wins, the fact that Tiger lost will be the story of the tournament.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.