US Open Golf 2011: Sergio Garcia and Other Possible Sleepers at Congressional
The US Open always presents the chance for a dark horse to emerge. The long hitter can take angles off the tee that most of the field cannot. He can also have many more short-iron approach shots. The golfer that keeps mistakes to a minimum for the week can also contend, even if they are not as physically gifted.
If you wish to read my prior article, a preview of the course and contenders, you can find it here.
Cabrera has struggled in 2011, missing five cuts in 11 starts. His world ranking has slipped to 83rd. He won the 2007 US Open out of nowhere and wasn't playing great before his 2009 Masters win. Cabrera has incredible power and talent; never count him out in a major.
Toms is having a resurgent year at age 44. He won the Colonial Invitational and lost in a playoff to KJ Choi in the Players Championship.
Currently, he ranks eighth in the FedExCup standings. He doesn't possess the physical ability of the top golfers but is very accurate. He also has won a major, the 2001 PGA Championship. If Toms can handle the length of Congressional, he could make noise on the weekend.
The journeyman has appeared in one prior US Open, 1998 at the Olympic Club. Wilson is having a career season, winning the Sony Open and the Waste Management Open. He is a very accurate driver, but could have trouble with the length of the course.
Garcia had a last-minute change of heart and decided to enter sectional qualifying. He managed to get one of the four slots in Memphis and his streak of major championship appearances will continue.
He is as talented as any golfer and seems to have his head back in the game. Perhaps the longest and highest-iron hitter on tour, that asset could be very beneficial at Congressional.
The Italian could very well be the next legend of golf. He has won twice on the European Tour, both before his 18th birthday in April. He is the youngest golfer to qualify for the Masters, which he did at 16 in 2010. Manassero played well at the tough BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
The talent is there, but you have to wonder how the pressure of making his debut will factor.
The Big Easy has struggled in 2011, recording no finishes in the top 10. He has really struggled with the putter and has dropped out of the World top 20. He was the winner of the 1997 US Open at Congressional. While the course has been altered, it still will be a positive environment for him.
He had a very solid 2010 season, ranking first in the FedExCup standings prior to the playoff events. If the putter cooperates, Els could be a factor.
The Spaniard is perhaps the longest hitter in the field. He is having a good season, winning the prestigious Dubai World Championship and is ranked sixth in the race to Dubai. If he can play like he did during the first two rounds of the BMW PGA, Quiros will have a great chance to win.