The 110th U.S. Open will be contested for the fifth time at Pebble Beach Golf Links, beginning Thursday June 17. Here are a few groups worth keeping an eye on:
(* indicates starting on 10th tee)
7:22 a.m. PT: Toru Taniguchi, Soren Hansen, Edoardo Molinari
The U.S. Golf Association likes to amuse itself by forming certain groups in which the players share a likeness. Hopefully for Taniguchi and Molinari this isn’t the tax evaders group.
7:33 a.m. PT: Francesco Molinari, Soren Kjledsen, Hiroyuki Fujita
If one Molinari brother has to play with a Dane named Soren and a guy from Japan, so should the other one.
7:44 a.m. PT: Tim Clark, K.J. Choi, Mike Weir
Easy to overlook this threesome. If only because no one is taller than 5’8”.
8:06 a.m. PT*: Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington, Y.E. Yang
Only five players have won the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year. Do you see Mickelson holding the trophy Sunday evening? Or pushing his tee shot into the Pacific Ocean on the 72nd hole?
8:17 a.m. PT: Stewart Cink, Byeong-Hun An (A), Lucas Glover
The traditional grouping of defending U.S. Open champion, reigning British Open champion and last year’s U.S. Amateur champ. By the way, anyone who can name the last five U.S. Amateur winners is probably a witch.
9:01 a.m. PT: Andrew Putnam (A), Ty Tryon, Hugo Leon
Good to see Tryon competing in his first major championship. At 26, he’s actually the elder in this group.
1:03 p.m. PT: David Duval, Tom Lehman, Ben Curtis
Duval tied for second earlier this year at the AT&T Pro-Am. If he finds himself in contention again this week, expect his standard “I’ve been playing well; you guys just haven’t been paying attention” rhetoric. Never mind the seven missed cuts in his last 10 starts.
1:14 p.m. PT: Sergio Garcia, Steve Stricker, Paul Casey
Not only has Garcia never won a major, no one who has ever played the first two rounds alongside him has won a major. I just made that up. Could be true, though.
1:36 p.m. PT: Lee Westwood, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods
Does the USGA hate Els? Why don’t they just kick him in his bad knee and tell him his Wentworth course changes stink.
1:36 p.m. PT*: Vijay Singh, Dustin Johnson, Davis Love III
Three past Pebble champions who might as well be playing Poppy Hills considering the crowd they’ll draw due to their tee time.
1:47 p.m. PT*: Ryo Ishikawa, Rory McIlroy, Tom Watson
Ishikawa: “Who’s this Watson guy?”
McIlroy: “They say he won here in ‘82”
Ishikawa: “I thought that was his age.”