With the US Open bearing down on us it is around that time where we start to critique all possible candidates for the title and to start off this list would’ve been Tiger Woods, but in his absence we start with none other than big Phil.
I always start of with the negatives when giving information and stats about players and Phil Mickelson’s one and only negative is the fact he has never won the event in his career. Mickelson is known as the perennial US Open bridesmaid. He has finished second in six attempts at the major but is looking to change his misfortunes this year. As aforementioned Phil has only one negative going into the US Open, this isn’t entirely true. There is one more. This of course is his current form this season. It just isn’t good enough to compete at a major event. Big Phil has had a busy 2014 so far which has seen him compete in thirteen events and only finish in the top 25 six times. But as the common phrase goes, ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent,’ and this phrase couldn’t suit Mickelson any better. The man is a genius when it comes to performing when it really matters. The five time major winner is not shy of winning a major tournament or any standard professional tournament for that matter. With a total of 42 PGA Tour victories under his belt, the American is a firm favourite going into the second major of 2014 at a generous 16/1.
Pinehurst no.2 is playing host to the 114th US open and the recent changes to the course will either hinder or help those competing. The rough has been cut back and most of the fairways widened meaning the big hitters will be able to let loose on their drives and see how far they can actually hit it. But the infamous greens at Pinehurst no.2 will separate the men from the boys, with all the greens having extremely steep run off zones surrounding them. If the players are slightly off form, they will encounter a difficult up and down.
Pinehurst no.2 is infamous for it’s sloping greens and unfavourable chip shots which could mean the tournament is one for the masters of the short game.
The dark horse of the tournament is the young American Jordan Speith. Speith has burst onto the scene since turning pro in 2012 and recorded his first PGA Tour victory last year at the John Deere Classic and has since impressed immensely. The American has played in thirteen events in the 2014 season and has finished in the top 25 a total of 13 times, top 10 a total of 6 times and has also finish second twice, one of which was the first major of the year the Masters. Speith put in an incredible performance which saw him leading going into the final round. Some say the pressure got too much for the young American but carding a final round of 72 at Augusta is impressive by anyone’s standards. This is why I am backing Jordan Speith to cause an upset at this years US Open.