Since golf returned from the coronavirus shutdown in mid-June, the scores had been low. Easiest twice has the winner no longer gotten to double digits below par. Four times the winner has been on the least 20 below. At The Northern Trust, Dustin Johnson used to be 30 below. These guys are making it take a look at easy. Effectively, the U.S. Delivery doesn’t attain easy. And Winged Foot in actuality doesn’t attain easy.
But that is correct some of the immense questions heading into the year’s second main. Can Tiger Woods procure his ability? Does Phil Mickelson bear any magic left? Who will shock and who will war? Our experts weigh in:
1. Any chance Tiger Woods emerges from his funk?
Bob Harig: Now not sure Winged Foot is the placement to search out your game. Even despite the incontrovertible fact that the instances had been completely varied, Woods uncared for his first sever in a major as a reliable in 2006 when the U.S. Delivery used to be performed at Winged Foot, as he had no longer performed since the death of his father, Earl. The similarity is lack of competition. Yes, Tiger performed no longer too prolonged ago in the FedEx Cup playoffs, but a customary theme emerged — and incapacity to put four rounds collectively. Genuinely, in all four of Woods’ begins since the shutdown, he’s in actuality had correct one perfect day outing of four. There wants to be slightly a few development in all aspects of his game for Woods to be competitive this week.
Michael Collins: Tiger is no longer in a funk. He’s in a location connected to guys on the bottom of the cease 125 checklist or coming off the Korn Ferry Tour. He’s no longer getting consistent begins, which turns into no longer getting consistent finishes. Ought to we quiz immense things from this week? Fully no longer.
Ian O’Connor: Certain, there is a gamble. If Tiger Woods is solely, he’s bought a gamble. But it completely’s more admire a form of Jim Carrey “So that you are telling me there is a gamble” probabilities. I attain bid Woods will fetch one other main earlier than he’s carried out, but doubtless at Augusta and least doubtless at a U.S. Delivery.
Gash Pietruszkiewicz: No. Now not at Winged Foot. He has admitted the adjustment to life on the Tour, with out fans, has been advanced. But forget that he doesn’t bear thousands following his every transfer — which brings him energy and distracts these taking half in with or finish to him — and level of curiosity as a replace on his game. Or no longer it has been a rough coast since the restart. At one level or one other some fragment of his game has long previous missing — tee, short irons, putter. And no longer having some — or all — of your game fascinating is no longer the ability you ought to head to Winged Foot.
2. There will most doubtless be slightly a few attention on Phil Mickelson in his return to Winged Foot. So what happens? So-so week? Overlooked sever? Contender?
Harig: Phil’s lack of comprise in weird and wonderful tour events does no longer portend to being a contender at Winged Foot, the put in 2006 Mickelson used to be fortunate to be in competition, given his incapacity to drive the ball in play for slightly a few the week. That is aloof a teach in his game, and 14 years later, it is no longer doubtless that he can arise for the complete wayward drives with a nearly about supreme short game. If the early scouting experiences are trusty, Winged Foot will most doubtless be a beast, with a gather round par being the profitable number. If Phil can keep away from the immense numbers, seemingly he has a first rate week.
Collins: Overlooked sever need to be the reasonable expectation, but will anyone be surprised if a few of that feeble Lefty magic is aloof left in the tank for 2 or three rounds. The largest hurdle for Mickelson might well be the first round. If he can get by diagram of the first round throughout the cease 25, he’ll get the sever — which for me is a fetch for Phil.
O’Connor: As a sports journalist you are allowed to root for the excellent on hand myth, but no longer for groups or individual athletes, simply? As noteworthy as I might well seemingly well seemingly admire to verify Phil in competition on Sunday for the sake of the parable, I feel it be correct soliciting for too noteworthy. I order he makes the sever, makes it a runt bit attention-grabbing on Saturday, but then falls off. And I am hoping he hits a driver on 18 all four days.
Pietruszkiewicz: How noteworthy fun would it no longer be to verify his identify excessive on the leaderboard gradual Sunday afternoon? But, sadly, it doesn’t feel seemingly. His T-71 on the PGA Championship and uncared for sever at The Northern Trust, which bounced him out of the FedEx Cup playoffs, doesn’t get me feel perfect about his probabilities. Certain, he lit up the PGA Tour Champions in his debut to purchase a fetch, but benefit on the immense tour this previous week on the Safeway Delivery, he used to be weird and wonderful as soon as more. Traditional is no longer going to sever it at Winged Foot — and no longer with all that U.S. Delivery baggage coming along for the dawdle.
3. How doubtless is it that the gamers will whinge in regards to the setup or that Winged Foot is simply too hard?
Harig: It is quite inevitable. There might well be crawl to be one thing that is over the cease at Winged Foot, an already stern take a look at that potentially does no longer need noteworthy in the job of additional attention to get it advanced. All but some of the U.S. Opens performed at Winged Foot has had an over-par profitable gather, and so there might well be crawl to be some grumbling. If firm, like a flash instances retain, it might well seemingly well seemingly be slightly a wild dawdle.
Collins: It ought to be the same share as these that notify the earth is round. (That is referred to as a shaggy dog myth grenade — wait 3 seconds, then it hits.)
O’Connor: There will most doubtless be some conventional USGA griping, but optimistically no longer too noteworthy given the venue. Winged Foot is this kind of storied location, it deserves greater than that. Attain you coast into Yankee Stadium as a visiting pitcher and correct whinge in regards to the short simply-topic porch? Or attain you order, “Wow, I’m pitching in Yankee Stadium?”
Pietruszkiewicz: This is fine noteworthy guaranteed. Easiest as soon as in the 5 times the placement has hosted the U.S. Delivery has the winner been below par, when Fuzzy Zoeller shot 4 below in 1984. The final time this championship used to be right here, in 2006 when Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie melted on the 72nd gap, Geoff Ogilvy won with 5 over. The USGA enjoys inflicting effort. This might well seemingly well seemingly inflict effort this week. And the gamers is no longer going to admire it — at all.
4. Everyone is conscious of the favorites. Who is your sleeper purchase this week?
Harig: Matthew Fitzpatrick. He’s quietly set collectively a glorious sage since the return to competition in June. While he’s uncared for three cuts, he also has four top-15 finishes, at the side of three top 10s. His third-location form on the Memorial used to be the of a final-round 68 in some very advanced instances. Plus, he used to be the excellent player to shoot in the 60s that day. Fitzpatrick looks to bear the ability to grind it out when it is difficult.
Collins: Michael Thompson. While you take into account ability benefit in the day, Thompson had the U.S. Delivery lead for a minute at Olympic Membership (the one Webb Simpson won). A more seasoned and war-tested man might well seemingly well seemingly shock slightly a few of us this week at Winged Foot.
O’Connor: I might well seemingly well seemingly bear thrown a Scottie Scheffler at you if no longer for his unhappy withdrawal thanks to a undeniable COVID-19 take a look at. And I form no longer bid Webb Simpson qualifies as a sleeper, despite the incontrovertible fact that you might well seemingly well seemingly get a nuanced case for it. I do know there is totally no reason to purchase Justin Rose, since he’s uncared for four cuts in his previous six begins. However the U.S. Delivery requires toughness above all, and Rose, who beat Phil at Merion, is a advanced golfer. He’s my intestine-feel sleeper.
Pietruszkiewicz: Effectively, I’m choosing Viktor Hovland to fetch the item, so does that count? He plays properly at USGA events, that noteworthy is evident. He is no longer going to be daunted by the teach presented at Winged Foot. And already this year now we bear had youth served, with fellow 20-one thing Collin Morikawa profitable the year’s first main by taking the PGA Championship in dramatic vogue at TPC Harding Park.
5. Who among the cease 10 on the earth might well seemingly well seemingly aloof we be alarmed about this week?
Harig: Bryson DeChambeau. After so noteworthy fanfare, Bryson is immediate in moderately of a rut, ending 50th on the BMW Championship. His 72-gap gather would had been 25th out of 30 on the Tour Championship. The latter week used to be especially bright as DeChambeau eschewed the driver most ceaselessly with a concept to search out more fairways and aloof struggled. Will he unleash the driver most ceaselessly at Winged Foot? There is a gradual line between distance and having to get out of the rough at a U.S. Delivery. It looks as whether it is also a advanced week for DeChambeau.
Collins: Collin Morikawa. His fetch on the PGA Championship used to be handiest his second initiating in a major. He did form T-35 in his other main initiating — final year’s U.S. Delivery at Pebble Sea toddle. But that is the teach. This time Mother Nature is no longer going to describe the USGA what to attain. This might well seemingly well be having a take a look at to brutalize golfers. Morikawa can bear by no diagram viewed what’s coming.
O’Connor: DeChambeau. It wasn’t prolonged ago that we had been wondering if he’d fetch handiest some of the three majors being performed this year. But DeChambeau uncared for the sever on the Northern Trust, positioned 50th on the BMW and done toward the bottom on the Tour Championship, leaving me to mediate this would seemingly well even be a advanced week for him. He completely has the game to fetch the U.S. Delivery, but I’m pondering it be more doubtless Winged Foot brings out his hot mood.
Pietruszkiewicz: Look if this sounds acquainted: DeChambeau. I form no longer admire the prolonged game at this venue — or any U.S. Delivery, for that topic. Certain, if he swings for the fences and retains it in the fairway he has a mammoth profit. But when he doesn’t, he will get pissed off very, very swiftly. And if he will get pissed off, that is when the immense numbers have a tendency to plan. This does not feel admire the simply main for him to step forward and, as a replace, will even be a short week for him.