Point/Counterpoint: Who is going to win the U.S. Open this weekend?

BY DI STAFF | JUNE 13, 2013 5:00 AM

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Tiger Woods

The U.S. Open is widely acknowledged as the most difficult tournament on the PGA Tour. The Merion Gold Club in Pennsylvania will host its first U.S. Open since 1981, and the course conditions will be brutal, low scores will be hard to come by, and Tiger Woods will come out on top.

Woods laid an egg in the Memorial Tournament on May 30, and he hasn’t competed in a PGA event since. He finished outside of the top 20 during last year’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The road to his first major title since 2008 won’t get any easier today — Woods is paired with reigning Masters champion Adam Scott and fellow Nike spokesman Rory McIlroy.

Some might say that these three factors will doom the greatest golfer of our time. But I think Tiger will rise up and come out victorious.

Woods has put together a stellar PGA regular season despite all else. He’s won four PGA tour events, accumulating more than $5 million while regaining his rightful position as the world’s top golfer.

The 14-time major champion was within striking distance at the Masters until a beautiful shot struck the pin on the 15th hole and turned into a water hazard, costing him a potential birdie. That hole cost him four strokes. If Woods had not had that mishap, he may very well have been the 2013 Masters champion.

This is the weekend things finally come together for Woods. He’s returning to his old form on the course. Couple that with the loaded group that he’s playing with today, and Woods will be more determined than ever to shut his critics up by playing some of the best golf of his career over the weekend. Expect the eye of the Tiger to return this weekend at Merion.

— by Dominick White

The field

Think about this: Tiger Woods’ probability of winning this weekend’s 2013 U.S Open is 0.006 percent.

There are 155 other participants teeing off today at the opening round at the Merion Golf Club.

Granted, Tiger is no ordinary golfer. He’s ranked No. 1 in the world and has been the face of the PGA since he entered the association professionally in 1996.

However, there once was a time when entering a PGA Tour major championship that the question wasn’t whether Tiger would win but by how much.

After a widely publicized scandal and an extensive number of injuries, those days are long gone.
Tiger’s last major championship occurred at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, making it exactly five years since Tiger has won a major.

Recently, Tiger’s last PGA Tour event was the 2013 Memorial Tournament, in which he tied for 65th after shooting an atrocious 8-over. This was the worst Tiger had placed since the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship, when he missed the cut.

Tiger’s reign over major championships is at a standstill. The field is more open than ever, and no one has won consecutive PGA majors since Pádraig Harrington did it in 2008. 

It would be foolish to say that Tiger will never win another major in his career given that he is only 37 and is still the No. 1 golfer in the world. But until he comes through on a big stage, such as a major, we can no longer treat him as the Tiger of old that dominated the sport. I’ll take the field.

— by Jacob Sheyko

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