Top Three: Woods, Mickelson, Scott Paired Together For First 2 Rounds Of US Open

Ben WeixlmannSenior Writer IJune 5, 2008

After receiving a few fiery e-mails, and a couple angry comments about my article tabbing Tiger Woods as the favorite in the 2008 U.S. Open, we won't have to wait long to find out.

Woods will be teeing off at 11:06 AM on Thursday with the two players directly behind him in the world rankings, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott. It has be noted by many, that Mickelson is the favorite heading into the major, because he has won recently, while Woods has been nursing an injury.

The USGA has made the decision to put the top twelve golfers in the world in four separate groups, spreading them throughout the day. This goes against what has been previously done, due to TV ratings.

Mike Davis, the USGA's director of rules and competition said in an ESPN story that he doesn't see any problem with this pairing. "The heck with what TV wants. Let's do what we want for the championship."

While it may be what Davis wants, it might not be the best solution. It is well-known that Woods and Mickelson bring substantial crowds to each tournament that they are entered in, but being a major, these first two rounds might be hell trying to get around.

Between Woods and Mickelson, there have been nine career titles claimed at Torrey Pines, so the San Diego area loves these two. What will happen when thousands of spectators are all trying to watch this duo play? Let's just say that Tiger might have to stop more than a couple times during his backswing to deal with camera flashes.

Many journalists are saying they feel sorry for Scott, but I think if anything it might be an advantage. There will be no pressure placed on the young Australian, although he is one of the best players in the world. He will be far overshadowed by the giant of the game, Woods, and his counterpart, Mickelson.

I think this is great for the game of golf. Back in the days of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player, golf was a mainstay in sporting society. It has now taken place on the backburner to the NBA, NFL, and MLB. These types of pairings, although having received mixed reactions, will pay off for the PGA in the long run.

Mickelson and Woods will hardly be affected by playing together, because they have done it enough already. If anything, I feel sorry for the other players in the field, because Mickelson and Woods both carry such ultra-competitive spirits, they will play the golf version of "My better is better than your better."

My prediction is pretty simple: although I think Woods has the best shot to capture the national championship at Torrey Pines, Scott will fire the best first round score out of the threesome. My first round scores are as follows: Scott 68, Woods 69, Mickelson 71.

It should be a great week with chaos oozing out everywhere this group walks.