The 113th U.S. Open is finally upon us. This week the best golfers in the world will tee it up and try to conquer (or at least survive) the incredible test that awaits them at Merion Golf Club. The biggest story of the week – outside of the weather – is Tiger Woods gunning for his 15th major in his pursuit of the all-time record. The USGA is almost assuredly going to take a revenue hit this week, having been forced to cap daily attendance at right around 25,000. Most events of this magnitude draw between 35,000 and 40,000 visitors each day.
Merion is one of the shorter tracks on the PGA Tour. The par 70 course weighs in at just under 7,000 yards (6,996 to be exact). The course places a premium on accuracy and, when combined with the deep rough, will wreak havoc on any poorly placed shots. I just hope the players in this week’s field have been working on their scrambling, otherwise this could be a very long, exhausting week. At the same time, however, the course should be much more receptive to well-executed shots, so we could very well see a lot of scoring.
As I mentioned, Woods is vying for his 15th major and based on the way he has played so far this year comes into the second major championship of the season as a heavy favorite. Defending champion Webb Simpson didn’t card a bogey in his last 13holes last year at Olympic Club en route to a one-stroke victory over Graeme McDowell and Michael Thompson. While the scoring is likely to be much improved this year, we can only hope for the kind of fireworks that we saw on Sunday last year.
As long as the weather cooperates, the action will get underway early Thursday morning, keeping golf fans on the edge of their seats until a champion is crowned.