The 2013 U.S. Open finally kicks off on Thursday, June 13 at Merion Golf Club's East Course.
Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott will be paired together for the first couple of days—the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 players in the world per Official World Golf Rankings. This premier group kicks off at 1:14 p.m. ET, as noted by Di Dougherty of Sky Sports:
There are plenty of other intriguing groups scheduled to tee off on Thursday, but pairings are far from the only storyline of note for this year's U.S. Open.
Here's what you need to know in order to catch every minute of the action:
When: Thursday, June 13 starting when the first golfers tee off at 6:45 a.m. ET
Where: Merion Golf Club (East Course) in Ardmore, Pa.
U.S. Open TV Schedule
|Thursday||ESPN||10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET|
|NBC||3 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET|
|ESPN||5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET|
After the course was hammered with more than six-and-a-half inches of rain since last Friday (h/t Philly.com), more rain is in the forecast on Thursday, with a chance of violent thunderstorms, according to Weather.com.
According to Mike Buteau of Bloomberg, the USGA is bracing for severe weather and a potential "derecho":
What is a derecho, you might ask?
According to meteorologist Jeff Haby, it's not good:
A derecho is a widespread severe wind event resulting from persistent and violent outflow from a MCS (Mesoscale Convective System)...A severe wind is one with wind speeds of 50 knots (58 miles per hour) at the surface...While a severe thunderstorm may produce severe convective wind gusts that last for several minutes at a point location, derecho wind can last 30 minutes or longer.
Basically, the East Course at Merion could get absolutely hammered by dangerous winds and heavy rain for an extended period of time.
Delays are likely, and it will be interesting to see how the players react to the difficult conditions.
The Big 3
As was mentioned in the opening, Woods, McIlroy and Scott will be featured in one group for the opening two rounds of this year's U.S. Open.
If the weather cooperates and the derecho leaves Merion alone, fans will flock to watch these three giants compete against one another and against the formidable course.
One of the most interesting dynamics with this grouping is the fact that Woods' former caddie, Steve Williams, is now caddying for Scott.
Woods and Williams have a rather frosty relationship these days, ever since Woods fired Williams and Williams called Woods a racial slur weeks later, according to the AP (via ESPN.com).
Even without the Woods/Williams/Scott triangle, this group of golfers will dominate the headlines and television broadcasts on Thursday. It will be fascinating to see how the three players get along and how well they perform the first couple of days.
Which Unheralded Player Will Emerge as Day 1's Superstar?
Nearly every year, in all four majors, you can count on some golfer nobody expected to shoot extremely low to open up the tournament in Round 1.
Last year, Michael Thompson opened up with a four-under-par round of 66 at the Olympic Club.
The year before, Rory McIlroy opened up all our eyes with a brilliant first round—a six-under-par round of 65 at Congressional Country Club. Unlike many of the men who open up with low scores in Round 1, McIlroy actually carried his momentum through the entire tournament, winning in record-breaking style.
In 2010, three golfers opened up with two-under-par 69s at Pebble Beach, but all three went on to finish well out of contention.
The course is in prime condition for a few players to shoot extremely low, as the greens will be soft and receptive. The chances of one of the "unknowns" on tour coming through with a huge opening round are high, indeed.
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