It is kind of the lull before the storm. Golf's break between its first major and its second. At a shade over two months between The Masters and the U.S. Open, it is simply too long.
Apparently I'm not the only one who feels this way. Have you seen golf's ratings lately? With Tiger resting his neck, golf has struggled without its ratings magnet. And when Phil decides to skip an event here and there, well, let's just say CBS could use a little pick-me-up.
The pick-me-up is coming (although not for CBS). The U.S. Open is getting closer. We can almost smell it. Smells like salt water and sea weed. Pebble Beach, that beautiful old lady on the rugged California coast, is set to host another U.S. Open in June.
And after the U.S. Open, the majors come fast and furious. In July we get the grand daddy of all golf courses, St. Andrews and the British Open, and in August the PGA Championship at the strangely enjoyable Whistling Straits.
Sounds like a good plan. The question remains though, will there be a Tiger running along the beach in California, or at least limping?
Pebble Beach has hosted four previous U.S. Opens. In 1972, Jack Nicklaus was the winner. Ten years later Tom Watson had his memorable win at Pebble Beach in the 1982 U.S. Open. Ten more years passed before Tom Kite won in '92. Tiger Woods won the last one in 2000, his historic 15 shot victory.
The Old Course at St. Andrews, the home of golf, is the site again this year for the British Open. Over the years St. Andrews has hosted The Open 27 times. This will be the third time this century. In 2000 and again in 2005, Tiger Woods was the winner.
And then in August, the major season gets wrapped up with a visit to Whistling Straits on the banks of Lake Michigan in Kohler, Wisconsin, for the PGA Championship.
Whistling Straits has no where near the tradition of the other two (in fairness, no one has the tradition of St. Andrews). Pete and Alice Dye designed the links style course which opened in 1998.
The course hosted the PGA Championship in 2004, won by Vijay Singh. Whistling Straits is a long puppy at over 7500 yards, and boasts vast, rolling greens reminiscent of Scotland. In fact, if you didn't see the occasional cheese head standing around in the crowd, you'd think you'd magically been transported across the pond.
We also get a bonus this year, it being an even year. The Ryder Cup will take place in October. Celtic Manor Resort in Wales gets the matches this year.
So, we just need to get through the lull. We're almost there. We do get a rather nice little gem in the beginning of June to get us ready for Pebble Beach. The Memorial Tournament, at Muirfiled Village in Ohio, is one of the better golf courses and better tournaments on tour. The course that Jack built, it always is in great shape and draws the top players in the world.
Tiger Woods is the defending champion of The Memorial.
So, make sure your TVs still work. Get your yard work done in the next week or so, and get ready for a summer of what promises to be great golf. Or, if not great golf, at least great golf courses.