Thursday morning the world’s best minus an injury laden and unprepared Tiger Woods will tee it up at the 2016 US Open at Oakmont.  The Pennsylvania golf course poses a hard test for the players in the field and has been the site of several historic US Open championships, including Jack Nicklaus’ historic first major championship victory in which he beat the legendary Arnold Palmer in an 18 hole playoff.  Storms are predicted during Thursday’s opening round and the golf course is already among the most difficult and setup as tough as any Open venue.

Of the favorites to win are number one ranked player in the world Jason Day who has been playing incredibly well since last summer and Jordan Spieth who bounced back with a victory in his home state after a disappointing second place finish at this year’s Masters.  Meanwhile Rory Mcllory displayed fine form some weeks ago when he won the Irish Open and is expected to contend.  Fan favorite Phil Mickleson is now 46 years old but also displayed fine form last week, finishing in second place.  Mickleson has five major titles but has yet to win a US Open, the veteran has come close has the skill set necessary to win a US Open.  Justin Rose of England won the Open in 2013 and most certainly could win again as the Englishman is often in contention in the bigger tournaments and majors.  Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa has won a major and is an excellent ball striker capable of handling the pressure against the world’s best.  Rickie Fowler, who also is a fan favorite has yet to win a major but quieted critics who dubbed him “the most overrated” player last year by winning the Player’s championship, Fowler has come close in majors and certainly has the ability to win.  Adam Scott of Australia has won the Masters and won the WGC Cadillac championship earlier this year, should the Aussie win this week few would be surprised.  Meanwhile players such as Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed have displayed impressive ability and talent could also break through this week, Koepka won a PGA tour event a few weeks ago and Reed finished second behind Charlie Hoffman in another PGA event recently.  Others who should not be ruled out include Dustin Johnson, who finished second at last year’s US Open and has won a tournament every year that he has been on the PGA tour which is a current record and Billy Horschel, who won the Fed Ex cup the year before last.

Whoever wins this week has a mammoth challenge ahead of them, Oakmont has time and time again proven to be as hard a course as any and the USGA is known to make things extra challenging during its championships.  The US Open starts Thursday morning and will conclude Sunday evening, barring a rain delay or playoff, which would be played Monday morning.

Published by Ville Iso-Ahola