tclakin

2009 US Open: Finding This Year’s Roy McAvoy

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm
Who is this year's Cup?

Who is this year's Cup?

Thursday marks the start of the 2009 US Open at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York. The thing on everyone’s mind heading into this year’s Open is, obviously, Tiger Woods’ heralded 2008 victory over Rocco Mediate and a bum left knee. Now, on the heels of his win earlier this month at The Memorial, many are predicting another helping of Woods domination this week at Bethpage.

Here at Game Six, we’re taking a different approach.

As I’ve mentioned before, Game Six has long been tired of the Tiger Show, so this year we’re dedicated to bringing you a list of other guys to watch for through the weekend. Guys who could, with the right conditions and a couple fortunate bounces from the little white ball, unseat The King himself:

1. Bubba Watson

Bubba is one of my all-time favorites. The southpaw heavy-hitter finished tied for 5th in the 2007 Open at Oakmont, and the outrageous length of Bethpage Black plays right into his skill set – namely, his ability to absolutely punish the ball off the tee (A few years ago while playing on the Nationwide Tour, Watson recorded a 422 yard drive). Bubba routinely out-drives the field at tournaments and he leads the PGA Tour in driving distance this year with a 313.2 average. This is the bottom line:

Bethpage plays long. Bubba can hit it 4oo-plus off the tee.

What else you need to know?

2. Hunter Mahan

The 27-year old Mahan, while enormously talented, has recorded only two professional wins and just one PGA Tour victory (the 2007 Travelers Championship). And that’s absolutely no reason to count him out this weekend at Bethpage. Why? Because Mahan has shown serious flashes of potential recently, finishing tied for 10th at the this year’s Masters and 14th overall at the Memorial last week. Mahan has finally broken into the PGA Top-50 (he’s at 43) and he brings a lot of momentum and a wealth of skill into tomorrow’s first round.

3. J.B. Holmes

A former Kentucky Wildcat, Holmes is another big hitter who’s distance off the tee should come in handy at Bethpage. Holmes is a “grip-it-and-rip-it” style player in the John Daly vein, which lends his game an unconventional – and often inconsistent – edge. But if JB is firing on all cylinders this weekend, he has a legitimate chance to compete for his first major championship.

4. Anthony Kim

AK-47 is always a threat to win any tournament he enters, simply because he genuinely believes he’s that good. When asked which major will be his first win, the 23 year-old Kim answered, “The next one.” The kid’s confidence is off the charts, and that in itself is an intangible that cannot be ignored. It takes swagger and guts to win major championships and Kim is all set in that department. And, as he’s proven before, AK is also a helluva good golfer. Don’t be surprised to see him hanging around on Sunday.

5. David Duval

Yes, that David Duval.

The former World No. 1 who’s game took a devastating nosedive soon after his 2001 British Open win; the current 882nd-ranked player in the world who looked all but done with golf just a few years ago; the guy everyone thought had faded from the spotlight for good.

Well, Duval has quietly put together a bit of a resurgence of late, submitting a couple great rounds in sectional qualifiers in order to have the privilege of lacing ’em up in the ’09 Open at all. Nobody is saying he’s back in top form, but I for one am hoping to see him below 70 and on the leaderboard tomorrow. Who doesn’t love a comeback story?

Last but not least, here are a couple authentic Tin Cups to watch for over the weekend:

New Beford native Kevin Silva and Quincy’s Mike Welch – two local guys who Game Six would love to see make a run.

Silva is a veteran of last year’s Open at Torrey Pines and is coming off a second straight medal performance (70-67) at the Open qualifier in Purchase, NY. If Silva can clean it up around the greens, he’ll have an underdog’s shot to make some noise. Silva’s practice partner is the 27 year-old Welch, who goes into tomorrow hoping to build on some recent high-level experience and hang around through the weekend (an Open cut made gives you a bye through the first stage of Q School). Make sure to keep your eye on both these guys as you tune in to this weekend’s golf action.

If we’re lucky, we’ll hear a couple Boston natives dropping their R’s all over the course come Sunday.

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