Let's be honest for a minute. The US Open is usually a complete and utter train wreck. Back nine pileups, eights on holes, nines on holes, four-putts, five-putts, and a whole fleet of golfers leaving on the weekend pissed off at what the USGA did to them.
You know what? I kind of like it.
This tournament is unique in how tough it is and I kind of enjoy watching these golfers struggle in the same ways I struggle with golf (even if it takes a near-fantasyland golf course to make them do it).
With that, I have 10 predictions for this year's US Open.
1. Phil Mickelson will finish in the top 10: But he won't win. Lefty is too wily to not play well here but he likes to be cranking going into majors and he's just not this season.
He's playing okay but fooling around with his putting grip at the St. Jude Classic and all the other distractions will prove too much (this means he'll win by six).
2. We will get a Monday finish: Whether from rain or a playoff, I think this thing finishes up on Monday afternoon. Bonus golf, never a bad thing. Especially in majors.
3. Rory McIlroy will lead at some point after Thursday: This feels like the Ulsterman's tournament to lose. I know that sounds batty considering he hasn't won on the PGA Tour in the last two calendar years.
But he's one of the few golfers in the field who knows what it takes to hold this trophy and he's been immense of late. If he can grind, he will win.
4. There will be more rounds in the 80s than the 60s: Look no further than last year at Merion. There were 23 rounds in the 60s and 32 in the 80s. The amateur aspect of USGA events lends itself to that. In 2005 at Pinehurst there were 29 rounds in the 60s and 28 in the 80s so it's probably going to be close.
5. Someone will birdie No. 18 on the weekend: Not a bold prediction, you say?! Not a hot enough sports take, you think?! It didn't happen last year.
6. A score of 279 will win the tournament: In 1999 Payne Stewart won it with a 279 and Michael Campbell took it home with a 280 in 2005. 1 under or 2 under with the rough gone seems appropriate. I wouldn't be stunned if 3 under or 4 under won it, though.
7. Jordan Spieth will miss the cut: Yeah, I don't know, just a feeling here. I predicted Bubba Watson to miss the Masters cut in April and he won the dang thing. The learning curve at the US Open is the steepest and I'm not sure how far along Spieth is on it yet.
8. Cory Whitsett will be low amateur: Coming off his second straight national title at Alabama Whitsett blew away the field in his sectional qualifier, shooting 66-66. Roll amateurs!
9. Tiger Woods won't win: I promise you, guys, it won't happen. Tiger Woods will not get major No. 15 at Pinehurst this season. I guarantee it!
10. Charl Schwartzel will: Schwartzel has finished top 15 in two of his last three US Opens and has top 15 finishes in three of his last four PGA Tour events. He's a good putter, a good driver, and a good enough scrambler.
The only stat that worries me is his greens in regulation percentage but, well, I don't think many folks will be hitting greens in regulation this week.
Schwartzel gets his second major this week.