There are only a few days until the best golfers in the world tee off at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania for the 113th U.S. Open, and you must be prepared for what’s to come.
What’s the weather like at Merion? Which grouping is the one to watch? What’s the big storyline heading into the second major tournament of the year? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with all of the latest news and updates right here.
Merion is sure to be quite the test, even for those with great odds to take home the trophy, especially with the weather the course has had the last few days. And keep in mind that Jack Nicklaus once said, “Acre for acre, [Merion] may be the best test of golf in the world,” according to the golf club's official website.
Keeping that in mind, here is everything you need to know about the 2013 U.S. Open.
We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat
Merion and Andrea aren’t good friends—or if they were, they aren’t now. Merion Golf Club, where the U.S. Open will be played for the first time since 1981, was underwater for most of the weekend after Tropical Storm Andrea passed through.
Bob Harig of ESPN.com reported that the course received more than three inches of rain throughout the tropical storm and that many of the holes fell victim to flooding. Here’s what Joe Goode, USGA managing director of communications, told Harig:
The work that Merion Golf Club had done on the banks of the nearby creek to minimize potential flooding worked well, and underscores how this area of the course could survive the worst of the storms.
As of Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. ET, The Weather Channel reports there is a 50 percent chance of rain on Thursday (with potential for severe thunderstorms) and a 20 percent chance of rain on Friday—those days are scheduled for the first two rounds of the U.S. Open. So Merion isn’t out of the water just yet.
What’s of primary concern is the condition of the 11th and 12th holes, which have been prone to flooding in the past, according to Jeff Ritter of Golf.com. If the course is playable by Thursday but those two holds aren’t, the USGA plans to use the 4th and 5th holes at Merion’s West Course instead, according to Ritter.
If all goes according to plan and the weather stays moderate throughout the next few days without much rain, there shouldn’t be any trouble getting the U.S. Open completed from Thursday through Sunday as scheduled.
The Three Amigos
If you’re looking for a grouping to follow through the first two rounds at the U.S. Open, stop right now. Everyone is going to watching the grouping of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott. There’s no doubt about that.
The trio, who are scheduled to play alongside of each other for Thursday and Friday—and potentially the weekend—are currently the top three golfers in the world, according to the Official World Golf Rankings. But there’s even more drama than one might think.
Let’s not forget that Scott’s caddie, Steve Williams, is the former caddie for Woods. Woods let Williams go back in 2011, leaving the caddie in “shock,” according to CNN. It will certainly be interesting to see how everyone gets along those first two days at Merion.
Here’s what Scott told Harig about his thoughts on the grouping:
Absolutely, [there’s going to be] some energy and electricity, playing with him at any time there always is. And given the hype around this group and being a major, it’s going to be an intense couple of days.
But essentially that’s what we’re playing for. That’s a pairing you’d hope for on Sunday, also, because if you don’t enjoy that kind of stuff it’s going to be tough for you to have success out here. At some point, if you’re playing well and winning a tournament, you’re going to have to try and beat him. And that’s what you want to be out here for. That’s why you spend the hours and test yourself. And I’m looking forward to that Thursday and Friday.
Well, Adam, there still is the chance that you and Tiger will be paired together on Sunday. If both top golfers play similarly on Thursday and Friday and both make the cut, there is the off chance that both will be paired up for the weekend. But that doesn’t seem very likely.
The Quest for No. 18 Continues
If Tiger Woods wins the 2013 U.S. Open, it’ll be the 15th major victory of his career, which would put him just three victories shy of tying the record that’s held by Jack Nicklaus. Woods is easily the best golfer of his generation, but breaking Nicklaus’ record would make him the greatest ever without a discussion.
Woods has won the U.S. Open three times in his career, which is tied with The Open Championship for his fewest wins of the four majors. Woods was more successful in the past at the U.S. Open, winning in 2000 and 2002. He won his most recent title back in 2008.
Woods hasn’t had the best luck the last few years, finishing in a tie for 21st a year ago while not even playing the year before due to injury.
This year marks the five-year anniversary of 18-hole playoff against Rocco Mediate in which Woods ended up winning his 14th career major championship. Brian Wacker of PGATour.com recently put together a great feature on those few days for Woods, which includes the thoughts of Woods, Williams and Matt Achatz, Mediate’s caddie.
Woods is already off to a great start to the 2013 season. He’s finished first in half of the events he’s played and also made every cut. After winning the Players Championship in May, Woods recently was horrible at the Memorial Tournament, finishing tied for 65th.
I’m sure there’s nothing more Woods would like to do than win the U.S. Open for the fourth time in his career and get the major monkey off his back, especially when he’ll be starting the tournament right across from his former caddie.
Could the U.S. Open be major victory No. 15 for Tiger?