Press Pass The Winner Top Venue

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 13, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
Hot Topic
Who do you like to win the U.S. Open and what will be the winning score?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
I think the winning score will be 9 over par. No player in the field will have more than one round in the 60s. And I like Jim Furyk, grinding all the way, to win this war of attrition. Watch out for slow play being a big issue this week. There are three potentially drivable par-4s at Oakmont and the prospect of delays on tee boxes looms.
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
Retief Goosen will win the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. If it rains this week the winning score will be 1 under par. If its dry the winning score will be 6 over.
Steve Duemig Steve Duemig - Panelist, Grey Goose 19th Hole:
Had Adam Scott not looked like Lorena Ochoa coming down the stretch lately he would have been my choice. But since he and Ochoa share the same traits, I will be looking at Tiger once again. He has predicted the winning score to be around 4 over, while everyone else is saying it will be much higher. I will take the guy (Tiger) who sees the score in his own mind. Now just go and shoot it! I think the score will be 6 over.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
I initially liked Phil Mickelson, but I'm not too confident in the health of his wrist. If it's OK, then I think he has a great chance at a redeeming victory. If not, I'll take a dark horse in Aaron Baddeley. And I think 4 over will get it done.
Hot Topic
Do you like U.S. Open-style golf and where does it rank on your list of major championships?
I like U.S. Open-style golf very much. Once a year. There will be players who are happy with bogeys and thrilled with pars in certain situations. The U.S. Open is our national championship and it is my favorite major. The winner may or may not be the best player but the winner will be the player who was the toughest mentally for the week.
I like U.S. Open-style golf once a year. I like that the four majors all have different set-ups. I put the U.S. Open third behind The Masters and British Open.
I absolutley love the U.S. Open-style of play! It ranks at the very top of my list as it separates the contenders from the pretenders every year.
As long as it's mirrors Winged Foot 2006 more than Shinnecock 2004, I'm fine with it. The U.S. Open has an identity of trying to determine the best player by employing a stern -- but fair -- test. As long as the tournament meets that requirement, it's fun to watch. It's second on my list, behind the Masters; though, the Masters, judging by this past year, isn't nearly as much fun to watch anymore.
Hot Topic
What is your favorite U.S. Open memory?
Johnny Miller's 63 in 1973. I remember one of the first questions being asked of Miller after his round was, 'What was going through your mind?' Miller's reply was, 'Absolutely nothing.' Or words to that effect. He was deep into the zone on that final Sunday. Watson's chip-in at Pebble Beach on the 71st hole (1982) and Pavin fairway wood on the 72nd hole at Shinnecock in 1995 are way up there.
My favorite U.S. Open memory was attending the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional. It was the first time I ever went to a major championship as a fan and it was near my hometown of Washington, D.C. Hopefully, our national championship will regularly stop in our nations capital.
My favorite U.S. Open moment came when Lee Janzen won the '93 Open at Baltusrol. Lee and I had played a lot of golf together and became friends. We both played out of The Bloomingdale Golfers Club in Brandon, Fla. I even had the opportunity to caddie for Lee in the '92 sectionals. He shot 3 under and didn't make it. The next year he wins the OPEN!!! I was crying right along with him. I've even beaten him once or twice :)
I've been fortunate enough to attend a few of these things and nothing stands out more than what transpired on the final hole a year ago. Standing behind the green and watching Monty and Phil breakdown was almost surreal. But the way both men handled the situation in the aftermath was very impressive.
Hot Topic
What is your favorite U.S. Open venue?
My favorite U.S. Open venue is Merion. It's just so pure. It can test the players without being exceptionally long. Even with the wicker baskets that replace flags on the pins there is a special touch. (The players don't like them because they can't tell which way the wind is blowing.)
Pebble Beach. There is no prettier piece of golf property in the United States than Pebble.
Pebble Beach by a mile. I love it because it is one of the few Open venues that plays on the same course that a yearly tour event is played on. To see the transition from Pebble Beach the public course to Pebble the Open course is truly a sight to behold.
I love the look of Shinnecock, just not the way the USGA set it up over the weekend in '04. It doesn't have the traditional, tree-lined U.S. Open venue feel, but it really stands out in person and on the TV.
Hot Topic
Tell the readers: whats the ONE thing youre most looking forward to this week?
I will be looking to see how the players attack the 288-yard, par-3 eighth hole. And, in general, I will be watching how they handle the greens. I will also be watching how the USGA handles the greens if it doesn't rain (it will be a challenge to keep them playable.)
The one thing Im looking forward to most this week is seeing the worlds best players try to tame one of the toughest courses in the world. I like seeing the best get rewarded for hitting good shots, but also punished for hitting bad ones. If the USGA sets up Oakmont correctly, we should have a good, fair test. Cant wait!
Father's Day and the final round on Sunday, which always happen to fall on the same day. What could be better than knowing that you have the right on your day to tell everyone else to, 'Go find something else to do,' and not catch any slack!
Seeing how Tiger plays the course. He tends to struggle with his driver at times and I'll be interested to see if he tries more of a conservative, Royal Liverpool approach to keep his ball out of the rough. Plus, if he should win on Sunday, it would be quite an emotional scene.
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