By Lee Dover
The countdown has almost reached zero, the best golfers in the world have their caddies ready and waiting for the off and fans of the sport are speculating that the next few days will be remembered for a long time to come.
Yes, after an exciting wait where the hype has been building nicely, the US Open is ready to begin at San Francisco’s Olympic Club.
As if organisers needed to add any more drama to this year’s tournament, they have just gone and grouped three of the best US golfers of recent memory together.
Hero to zero to hero once more, Tiger Woods will have to stem the challenge of four-time major winner Phil Mickelson and reigning US Masters champion Bubba Watson in order to add a fourth US Open crown to his long list of achievements.
Woods heads to the Olympic Clubhouse as the hot favourite in Paddy Power’s online betting where they are paying each-way on the first six places. Plenty are willing to bet that Tiger will be sinking his teeth into a fourth US Open title on Sunday evening.
However, while many rivals would be quaking in their golf shoes when challenged to scrap it out with Woods in the US Open, Mickelson believes the grouping is “fabulous”.
Getting jiggy with the Tiger
“I’ll tell you why,” the four-time major winner explained. “First of all, I get excited to play with Tiger. I love it. He gets the best out of me. Second is, the one player I’m most concerned about if I play my best golf who I feel may have a chance to beat me is Tiger.”
So if Mickelson feels more confident when up against Woods and this is mixed with the fact that he is a five-time US Open runner-up, then 22/1 is surely not a bad shout for the American to finally reach glory in San Francisco at the weekend.
Fans will be foolish to forget about Bubba Watson though. The American heads into the 2012 US Open with his magnificent success at the US Masters still fresh in many fans’ minds.
Wait, hold the back page; this may prove to be a curse rather than a blessing, if history has any bearing on this year’s US Open champion.
Ever since Padraig Harrington raced to a US Open and US PGA double back in 2008, there have been 15 different major champions in a row.
Still, everything has to come to an end sometime and Bubba has to be considered good value to rewrite history in the days ahead.
And even if he fails in his quest for US Open glory, one of the PGA Tour’s longest hitters has stated that with “two legends of the game and me – if nothing else, I got a front-row seat to watch those two guys”.