US Open Golf 2012: Latest Storylines Heading into Final Rounds
Tiger Woods leads the 2012 U.S. Open after two rounds, and he will be in the final group along with Jim Furyk on Saturday as we head into the weekend at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.
That is the main story heading into the final rounds, but there are other stories worth following, as well.
The Olympic Club has proven to be as stern a test of golfing skill and mental strength as the USGA had hoped for when they set up the golf course. Players look like hell when they're through with their rounds, as the course is demanding every ounce of their physical, emotional and mental energy.
As brutal as the course is playing, there have been some remarkable stories so far through two rounds.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the biggest storylines as we head into the final rounds of the 2012 U.S. Open.
Notable Players Who Missed the Cut
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According to the USGA, via usopen.com, the cut line is set at eight-over par.
There are a number of prominent players who have missed this year's cut, starting with Rory McIlroy, who finished the tournament at 10-over par.
Bubba Watson, this year's Masters champ, also missed the cut after an abysmal two rounds that garnered him a finish of nine-over par. This year is the first since 1994 that the Masters and U.S. Open winners of the year before have failed to make the cut, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
1st time reigning Masters champ (B Watson) & defending U.S. Open champ (R McIlroy) missed U.S. Open cut since 1994 (Olzazabal & Janzen).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 16, 2012
Luke Donald, the No. 1 player in the world, also missed the cut after finishing his second round at 11-over par.
Casey Martin just missed the cut after shooting five-over on the day and finishing the second round at nine-over par. He's the golfer who famously drives around the course on a golf cart due to a circulatory disorder in his right leg, and I was really hoping he'd come through to make it to the weekend.
Dustin Johnson and Vijay Singh round out the group of notables who failed to play well enough to advance to this weekend's final rounds.
Only Three Players Under Par Through Two Rounds
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Through two days at the Olympic Club, only Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Jim Furyk have managed to score in red figures. In fact, there isn't anyone else in the field that even finished two rounds at even par.
The Olympic Club is only going to get tougher over the weekend, as the course continues to dry out and get faster and harder. In the end, I'm convinced that the winning score will be over par.
This is exactly what the USGA was hoping for, too, after Rory McIlroy destroyed Congressional last year. They wanted this course to separate the men from the boys, so to speak, and they are surely getting their wish.
The Leaderboard Is as Tightly-Packed as a Can of Sardines
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Heading into the weekend, there are currently 27 golfers within five strokes of the leaders. On a course like the Olympic Club, five strokes can be lost on one hole, making this weekend must-see TV.
Guys that are in this group include: Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els, Steve Stricker, Justin Rose, Nick Watney, Sergio Garcia, K.J. Choi, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan and Graeme McDowell.
Tiger Woods, David Toms and Jim Furyk have to stay on their toes and make smart decisions in order to stay atop this group of golfers.
Tiger Woods Is Leading the U.S. Open
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The biggest story heading into the weekend is that Tiger Woods is leading the tournament.
He has been brilliant at times on this excruciatingly difficult golf course, and I predict he will overcome the field to win his 15th major championship on Sunday afternoon.
Through two rounds, Woods is one-under par and is in full control of his game, his emotions and his focus. He looks unstoppable, but then again, anything can happen over the course of 36 holes.
Stay tuned for the rest of this year's U.S. Open, as there is sure to be much more excitement to come.