Rory McIlroy will tee off today hoping to make yet another mark on the history of golf. His defence of his US Open will start at 21.30 GMT with the familiar faces of Donald and Westwood for company in the first two rounds.
The Olympic Club in San Francisco is one of the toughest in major golf. The course enjoys a threefold defence system in length (including the 670 yard 16th), fast undulating greens and rough which is thicker than Wayne Rooney. Its toughness was evident in the scoring at the 1998 US Open where no player broke par and straight hitting Lee Janzen claimed the title. And this year’s layout is said to be considerably more difficult than the 98 version meaning any score around level par this year will be in with a shout.
McIlroy is clearly confident of his chances this week saying “I like it. I think it really adds to the atmosphere” – while many will share his confidence US Masters champion Bubba Watson issued a warning to the large crowds who will follow him, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in their 15.30 GMT threesome “The crowds better watch out, I don’t hit many fairways!”
World number 1 Luke Donald, who will be hoping to claim his first major title this week, seems happy enough with his own game heading into the championship “It’s a tough track. It challenges every part of your game from the first tee shot to when you walk off 18. It’s a grind. Out of all the major championships this is the toughest test in a way. Most of the time par is a good score.”
With a world class field you must be left wondering if old man par stands much of a chance this week. Let’s hope Olympic offers a test for all and if it’s not too much to ask, maybe a European winner?
The resident golf geek at Your Golf Travel. Have been lucky enough to have travelled far and wide playing golf and if I’m not writing about it at work, you will probably find me hacking it around my local course. Owner of 2 holes in one and some of the most crooked drives you have ever seen!