Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
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Pinehurst, N.C. _
Just came off the course. Wanted to walk 18. Made it through 1 1/2 before heavy winds forced the course to be shut down.
On to the picks...
The only thing dumber than sportswriters picking who's going to win a game is sportswriters picking who's going to win a golf tournament. We don't know. We really don't. If we knew who was going to win, we'd live in Vegas. Or Monte Carlo.
I'm not going to pretend I have any idea who will win this week at Pinehurst. I wouldn't have picked Michael Campbell in the last U.S. Open held here. I wouldn't have picked Payne Stewart in 1999.
But there are types of golfers who have a better chance than others of winning a U.S. Open on a course like this. Here are some of the players I like to at least contend this week, in no particular order:
1. Rory McIlroy sounded well-prepared and eager today. He hits it long, hits it high, has a chance to stop the ball on fast greens, and is capable of having a hot putting week. What will be tested is his short-game touch on a course that will require a lot of uphill chips from tight lies. He practiced at PInehurst last week and visited with Jack NIcklaus about major mindsets. If McIlroy can avoid his now-typical early-round blowup, he could win.
2. Jordan Spieth finished second at The Masters, and his profile may fit the U.S. Open even more than The Masters. He's not a long hitter, but he can shape and control his iron shots and has a great short game. He handles pressure well and wants to be great. He might be my favorite to win this week.
3. Matt Kuchar isn't particularly long, but he's a grinder who hits it straight and should win a major somewhere, someday. If the course is brutally tough, Kuchar could be the kind of guy to play it safe, make a million pars, and watch everyone else fall off.
4. Sergio Garcia. No, I don't really expect him to win, but if this becomes a chipping contest requiring creativity, it will play into Garcia's deft hands.
5. Phil Mickelson. There is no good reason to pick him based on the way he's playing now, but if he plays well in the first round while adapting to his new putter grip, he could ride a wave of emotion through Sunday afternoon.
6. Luke Donald. Another guy I don't expect to win who is well-suited for the course and its demands.
7. Steve Stricker. The Wisconsinite is a great putter. That alone could give him a chance.
8. Adam Scott. Not because this is necessarily a great course for him, but because he's a wonderful player in his prime.
9. Graeme McDowell. McIlroy called this course ``linksy,'' meaning like the links courses he plays back home in Northern Ireland. McDowell, another Irishman, has the guts and game to make a run at another major.
10. Jim Furyk. He has a quintessential U.S. Open game.
11. Jason Day. He's actually one of my favorites this week. Hits it long and high and has a great short game. He's in my top three, with Spieth and McIlroy.
I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 and on 1500ESPN at 12:15 tomorrow and Friday from Pinehurst.
|Boston||8||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Toronto||0||Top 8th Inning|
|Oklahoma City||50||3rd Qtr|
|Calgary||3||3rd Prd 2:16|
|Minnesota||2||3rd Prd 3:11|
|NY Islanders||2||2nd Prd 4:20|
|Vancouver||0||1st Prd 10:06|
|Holy Cross||77||1st OT 1:01|
|Fla Gulf Coast||62|
|Texas State||64||2nd Half 0:22|
|SC State||49||2nd Half 7:22|
|Delaware State||93||2nd Half 1:51|
|Texas-Arlington||61||2nd Half 2:25|
|Norfolk State||65||2nd Half 6:32|
|NC A&T||50||2nd Half 5:45|
|Savannah State||28||2nd Half|
|Southern Miss||37||2nd Half 11:47|
|Marshall||38||2nd Half 11:07|
|Rice||63||2nd Half 6:56|
|South Alabama||47||2nd Half|
|Alabama State||18||1st Half 9:50|
|Alabama A&M||19||1st Half 5:00|
|Sam Houston St||9||1st Half 10:12|
|Georgia State||28||2nd Half 18:33|
|Central Arkansas||24||2nd Half|
|Portland State||23||2nd Half|
|Southern U||15||1st Half 10:58|
|Alcorn State||21||1st Half 5:00|
|Houston Baptist||29||2nd Half|
|Ark-Little Rock||20||1st Half 3:11|
|SE Louisiana||15||1st Half 11:45|
|California||14||1st Half 10:53|
|Memphis||22||1st Half 7:29|
|VA Commonwealth||9||1st Half 11:46|
|Miss Valley St||0|
|Sacramento St||19||1st Half 7:49|
|Northwestern St||16||1st Half 11:30|
|Stephen F Austin||21|
|North Texas||15||1st Half 7:42|
|Colorado||20||1st Half 7:42|
|Idaho||11||1st Half 10:48|
|Abilene Christian||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Eastern Wash||28||1st Half 5:44|
|Marist||8||1st Half 15:30|
|Eastern Ill||0||1st Half 18:31|
|Cal State Fullerton||9:00 PM|
|Long Beach State|
|UC Riverside||9:00 PM|
|(18) Texas A&M||57|
|East Tenn St||73|
|Sam Houston St||73||FINAL|
|Stephen F Austin||56|
|Miss Valley St||0|
|Georgia Tech||27||2nd Half|
|(15) North Carolina||37|
|Charlotte||47||2nd Half 11:51|
|Texas-El Paso||44||2nd Half 12:38|
|Wichita State||67||2nd Half 7:09|
|Loyola-Chicago||47||2nd Half 12:06|
|Bradley||40||2nd Half 9:48|
|Colorado||15||1st Half 11:28|
|San Francisco||26||1st Half 8:38|
|Idaho State||15||1st Half 8:38|
|Weber State||10||1st Half 9:20|
|Cal State Fullerton|
|Long Beach St||9:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|UC Davis||9:00 PM|
|Northern Ariz||9:00 PM|
|Southern Utah||9:00 PM|
Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?