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US Open Golf 2012: Graeme McDowell vs. Jim Furyk—Who's Got the Edge?

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US Open Golf 2012: Graeme McDowell vs. Jim Furyk—Who's Got the Edge?
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk are tied atop the leaderboard at the US Open after 54 holes.

Both players will head into Sunday's final round at one under par, and will have their sights set on their second US Open title.

Furyk was crowned champion back in 2003, and McDowell hoisted the US Open trophy in 2010, but they will have to battle it out this year if they want to walk away victorious.

As the two players get set to tee it up on Sunday, they'll both bring their strengths and assets to the ball game, but who has the better advantage over the other?

 

Driving

McDowell is currently ranked first in driving accuracy, hitting nearly all his fairways, which is essential at a tough layout like Olympic Club. Obviously, the edge should go to McDowell.

However, Furyk, being only 42 years old, is not too shabby, and is ranked second in driving accuracy this year. As for distance, McDowell hits the ball slightly further, but overall both players are solid off the tee.

 

Greens in Regulation

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

At a golf course like Olympic Club, hitting the greens is just as important as finding the fairways.

Again, McDowell and Furyk are pretty similar in this category, with McDowell ranked 23rd and Furyk ranked 25th in greens hit. Of course, when it comes to the final round of the US Open, it is a tougher ball game, and both players look ready to step up to the challenge.

 

Short Game

We all know that Furyk is a guy who has great touch around the greens. Whether he's pitching the ball from the rough, chipping it from the fringe, or even blasting it out of a bunker, Furyk makes those up-and-downs.

In fact, he is 14th in sand saves, and scrambling to make par around the green will be another factor that determines who wins the US Open.

McDowell, on the other hand, has a decent short game when his ball is in the grass, but it's a whole different story when he finds the bunker. McDowell is 181st in sand saves, nowhere even close to Furyk, and that is why Furyk has the advantage in short game.

 

Putting

We have to admit that both these players are pretty good with the flat stick. McDowell made those huge putts to take down Tiger at the Chevron World Challenge, as well as the putt to help Europe win the Ryder Cup.

Furyk made about everything he set his sights on in the 2011 President's Cup, where he used his flat stick to go 5-0-0.

According to the stats, McDowell is ranked 16th in putting, compared to Furyk's 43rd. So, the advantage does go to McDowell, but keep in mind that when Furyk gets hot with the putter, he'll make just about anything. So watch out.

 

Mentality

Mentally, both these past US Open champions are strong within their minds. Furyk is calm and poised, and McDowell is fearless and patient. With their mindsets, both could easily succeed on Sunday and take home the trophy.

Between the two of these talented golfers, it is difficult to give the advantage to either one of them. McDowell brings his strengths in driving and putting, but Furyk is equally superior with his irons and bunker shots. It will come down to a tough battle, but in the end only one can walk away victorious.

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