US Open QA - A Quick 6

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 14, 2005, 4:00 pm
With U.S. Open Week in full swing we asked The Golf Channel's Peter Oosterhuis and Frank Nobilo to take time away from their Sprint Post Game duties to answer a few questions on the field and the course.
1. Which player in the Top 10 has the game best suited to win at Pinehurst No.2?
Peter Oosterhuis:
Every one of the Top 10 has a pretty good all-around game, they all have sufficient power and great short games. To separate one player from the group, I think you have to go to the mental side. Tiger Woods' absolute focus and determination separates him from the others when it comes to winning a major.
Frank Nobilo:
Tiger Woods. Imaginative short game. Played well here in 99, which made him believe he had the game to win a U.S. Open while others thought he would not be able to rein his game in on the more stringent test of the four majors. Went on to win in Pebble the following year due to Pinehurst. If the setup is similar to 99, he will be the player to beat.
2. Who is your dark horse pick to win this week?
Peter Oosterhuis:
Not really a dark horse but often overlooked - Jim Furyk. Also great focus and determination, seems fully recovered from 2004 surgery.
Frank Nobilo:
Not so much of a dark horse, but a player who was sidelined due to wrist surgery. Not a lot of people have talked about Jim Furyk ,even though he has played extremely well of late. Tiger's won two U.S. Opens, Els two U.S. Opens, Goosen two U.S. Opens - so why not Furyk?
3. Which player has the best chance to end Europes 35-year win drought at the U.S. Open?
Peter Oosterhuis:
Luke Donald, the Englishman who went to Northwestern - cool customer, T3 at the Masters.
Frank Nobilo:
Padraig Harrington. Broke the drought over here finally at Honda, so he has nothing else to prove. The monkey is now off his back and he has a tremendous game for a Pinehurst-style U.S. Open that has chipping areas and demands quality iron play and a very patient head.
4. Which is you favorite course in the U.S. Open rotation?
Peter Oosterhuis:
Tough question! Pebble Beach is my choice. What a beautiful setting! Memories of Nicklaus in 1972, his great 1-iron shot at 17. Watson chipping in at 17 in 1982. Tiger demolishing the field in record fashion in 2000. Pinehurst No. 2 is not far behind and Shinnecock is awesome, what a pity about the set-up last year.
Frank Nobilo:
Shinnecock Hills. Even though they made a mess of it last year, it is still the premier Open venue. Set up correctly, it has a phenomenal back nine that makes the champion earn his spot in history.
5. What is the best playoff format for deciding a major championship?
Peter Oosterhuis:
Definitely NOT 18 holes on Monday, bogus for everyone, players, spectators, television-watchers and media! Perhaps the multiple holes of The Open or the PGA Championship, but that can be anti-climatic. I take sudden-death. You've just had a chance to win at the 18th hole, now you have another go at the same hole. Worked at the Masters this year, let the fans stay in place for the first hole at least!
Frank Nobilo:
Eighteen-hole playoff is the fairest way to determine a winner. 72 holes is used to separate a winner from the field. If contestants cannot be separated after 72, then they need 18 holes - which in turn becomes a form of match play to determine the better champion.
6. What is your most memorable U.S. Open moment?
Peter Oosterhuis:
Unfortunately not too many great U.S. Open moments for me! Some memories:. My first U.S. Open was at Medinah, in Chicago, in 1975. First hole, pulled my tee-shot on the medium-length par 4, stroll up there, my ball has stayed up in a tree about 10 feet off the ground! Welcome to the U.S. Open, kid! Took a drop, 8-iron on the green, 30-footer for a par! Went on to be tied for the lead with nine holes to play in the championship, didn't know it because there were no leaderboards out at the far end of the course! Playing with Ben Crenshaw, we both let a winning opportunity slip away, I shot 39 on the back and he went in the water at the par- 3 17th. (Different hole from the 1999 PGA Championship where Tiger made a decisive putt on the way to beating Sergio.) Unbelievable lightning strike in the trees behind 17 as we were on the tee. Same year that Trevino, Bobby Nichols and Jerry Heard were hit at the Western Open, also in Chicago!
Frank Nobilo:
My best U.S. Open memory was Sunday in 1994 playing in the last group of a major championship with the eventual winner Ernie Els. That is when I felt I could compete with the best players in the world on the highest stage.
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