Short of him losing a hand in a disastrously comic lawn mower accident or Elin replacing the nine iron with a machete, who ever thought Tiger Woods would be 8/1 to win a Major again? It sounds like a price we’d quote after the 14 time major winner was relieved of a limb or gets a big dose of Duvalitis. We can confirm that it is a fully limbed Tiger that will be teeing it up at Pebble Beach and in fact, the price might have more to do with one of his body parts working a little too well.
There were serious doubts about what version of Tiger we’d see at Augusta, but he made a mockery of that with a typically macho “Pah €“ turmoil in my private life? Wham – 4th place at the Masters €“ that’s got to be worth a green t-shirt at least” display. Since then his displays have suggested his problems are more technical than emotional and as he’s not Johnny 5, they're two very different things.
Once you reach a certain number of porn stars claiming they’ve shagged you – let’s say more than one – there really isn’t much more embarrassment to be had whether the number is two or two thousand. His main problem has been an inability to hit the ball straight and that is going to be crucial as the US Open swings by the Pacific coast.
Ironically, the last couple of months have been a period of relative calm in Tiger’s life €“ and yes, talk that he’s the father of an illegitimate daughter counts as calm in his life these days. And they mean ‘illegitimate’ in the 19th century Jane Austen way. It’s not as if she’s a fake human being someone downloaded illegally off the internet, like Microsoft Office. We’ll sidestep the potential lawsuit by dealing in fact €“ Tiger hasn’t been playing too badly and considering he's Tiger 8/1 looks big enough to be tempting, especially with 6 places for each-way bets!
Pebble Beach isn’t quite Phil Mickelson's home turf, but it is around 400 miles away from his San Diego home and by American standards, that’s practically a roll out of bed. Lefty has often been mocked for his B.A. Baracus-style fondness for long distance travel and the fact that almost a third of his 38 PGA Tour victories have come within the boundaries of his native Golden State doesn’t do much to disprove that easy stereotype.
Aside from a blip at the Memorial Tournament, he’s been ticking along nicely since his Masters win and the fact he won’t need to change the time on his watch only helps his claims. Plus, for those of us who like to confuse random trivia with portents of future events, Mickelson is turning the big 4-0 in Open week and although that means nothing other than there’ll be cake, it’s nice to know.
When it comes to winning a major, Lee Westwood has been knocking on the door like one of Tiger’s groupies who’s been told his room number and fancies cashing in on a kiss and tell/her own illegitimate copy of Microsoft Office. His win in a pretty high quality St. Jude Classic showed plenty of something we haven’t seen from Lee in the past €“ bottle. As long as you're happy enough with finishing third and second most of the time, his recent major form has been good. Tied for 3rd at last year's US Open and the PGA Championship, the tailors were momentarily considering having to let out the Green Jacket as he made a concerted push for Masters glory, but ultimately mistakes at the start of the final round cost him.
There are however more than three people contesting this US Open and that’s why our 6 Places will come in handy. There’s a whole load of golfers behind the leading trio that you won’t truly expect to win, but at the same time it would be in no way surprising to see raise the unnecessarily large trophy on Sunday evening. Graeme McDowell is in form after a good showing in Madrid followed by a win in Celtic Manor. He has gone -32 under his last 8 rounds and although the naysayers may say that was over a couple of glorified pitch and putt courses, we’d like to point out that sometimes pitch and putt can be difficult. Ian Poulter thinks Ian Poulter can win and as with most carpet bombing tactics, you’d think sooner or later he might be on target. A certain whippersnapper by the name of Tom Watson triumphed at Pebble Beach in the 1982 US Open and although since then the coastline is a lot like Tiger’s dignity – severely eroded – he could be a good bet to Lead After The 1st Round.