June 12, 2008

LEFTY WHO?:

Torrey Hallelujah (Quin Hillyer, 6/12/2008, American Spectator)

It's this week's U.S. Open golf tournament, on San Diego's picturesque hills directly overlooking the Pacific Ocean, on a course that happens to be the single best venue in the world for both of the world's greatest players. Tiger Woods has won there, at the course called Torrey Pines, six times as a professional, and Phil Mickelson has three pro titles there. Both won junior titles there as well, and Mickelson played it numerous times while growing up in the area.

But, because this is one of those rare Opens played on a course also used annually for a regular tour event, dozens of players in the field also have substantial records at Torrey Pines, a fair number of them with notable success. Masters champion Trevor Immelman, for instance, won the U.S. Public Links tournament there in 1998 -- and, as the only golfer on the planet who can possibly win the Grand Slam of golf this year, he enters the event off of an impressive 2nd place (playoff) finish last week at Memphis.

The final hole at Torrey Pines, meanwhile, might be the best risk-reward closing test in Open history. A par 5 that is barely reachable in two shots if both shots are long and straight, its green guarded across half of its front by a large pond and known for a wickedly sharp slope, the 18th could easily yield every score from eagle to double-bogey just among the final three or four groups. Imagine a final pairing of Woods and Mickelson, both in the "first cut" of light rough 260 yards from the green, both needing birdie to tie clubhouse leader Immelman or an eagle to defeat him without a playoff. Will Mickelson, facing a semi-dodgy lie, have another brain cramp and slash away, or will he for once lay up, counting on his superior wedge play to set him up for a birdie? Will Woods be at all affected by whatever Mickelson decides to do, or will he pay no heed to Lefty?

Or maybe it will be another third wheel, not Immelman, trying to ruin the Tiger-Phil party.

Zemanta Pixie

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 12, 2008 9:09 AM
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