Saturday, 17 June 2017

The Shootout at Erin Hills

It's shaping up to be a real shootout for the U.S. Open tomorrow at Erin Hills. I figure, given the way the course has allowed the boys to play, there are thirteen guys in with a real chance tomorrow. That's the group who are presently minus eight or better. 

Brian Harman is in unknown territory with the lead going into the final day of an Open. Whether he can play his game and not be caught up in the madness of it all remains to be seen. A one shot lead going into the final round with that many guys in the hunt means that he will, in all likelihood, be teeing off tied for the lead the way the first hole has yielded burdies. Hell, he could even find himself trailing. And I think that will actually help him. He knows that he will have to go out there and shoot a low round to win. He won't be trying to protect anything.

Justin Thomas, after his record-setting Saturday, has to try to do the thing that seems so hard to do, even for great players; follow a great round with another great round. But he is clearly ready for the next step in his career. If he doesn't get his Major tomorrow, you have to believe that it's only a matter of time.

Rickie Fowler is poised and ready at two back. I think his having lost the lead might actually help him have the right attitude on Sunday. He's going to be chasing hard and, if the putter cooperates, he could very well get the proverbial monkey off his back. He'll finally be a Major champion. And he'll be as popular a champion as anyone could imagine. 

There are simply too many guys who could get it done to even guess at the outcome tomorrow. And isn't that really the way we want it? I want to be glued to the tube, agonizing over the putts right along with them. It beats the hell out of watching someone run away with it.

I like a lot of these guys in the hunt, so I'm not going to be rooting for any one man. But I liked Rickie starting the week, and I like him still. It's got a nice ring to it: Rickie Fowler, U.S. Open champion. 

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