The prestige of a golf major can be felt simply by looking at a calendar. It makes a four-day stretch pop out as if it was marked with golden stars on each of the dates.
I had to be reminded by my calendar that Sunday is Father’s Day (sorry, Old Man), but I knew The U.S. Open was happening Thursday-Sunday without needing a reminder. My golf instincts (and probably the fact that I write and tweet about it every week) sensed a major and I’ve been ready and waiting for golfers to try their luck at Pinehurst No. 2.
Here are 14 things I want to see at the 2014 U.S. Open:
1. If Jordan Spieth is going to claim his first golf major after a disappointing close to The Masters.
2. If Rory McIlroy is going to thrive in the wake of his break up with Caroline Wozniacki (see: Round 1, Memorial Tournament) or crumble (see: Round 2, Memorial Tournament).
3. How often ESPN, NBC and Golf Channel broadcasters talk about Tiger Woods, even though he won’t be there.
4. Matt Kuchar in contention on Sunday so the crowd can have some fun with “Kuuuuuuuccchhhh” chants.
5. The chaotic beauty that is Pinehurst No. 2 wreaking havoc on golfers for the first two rounds, only two have a few players start to get the better of the course and provide an exciting weekend.
6. If 17-year-old Will Grimmer or any of the other 10 amateurs can make the cut.
7. If maybe, somehow, there’s a chance Lee Westwood finally wins his first major.
8. If Bubba Watson can get halfway through a Grand Slam. It’s been awhile and Bubba’s got the game to do it.
9. Sergio Garcia make a run on Sunday and instead of choking it away, lose without falling apart. Correct, I don’t want Sergio to win, but I want to see him lose gracefully just because someone else was better.
10. Dustin Johnson to be in contention all weekend because Paulina Gretzky.
11. Bill Haas make a good run and place in the Top 10 because his dad (Jay Haas) was my favorite golfer growing up and I don’t know why but I have to like his son because of it.
12. A camera following Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ian Poulter around for their entire first two rounds because that would be some great entertainment.
13. Bubba Watson vs. Phil Mickelson competing for the win on the back 9 at Pinehurst No. 2 on Sunday
14. Finally, I want Phil Mickelson to finally win a U.S. Open and I want it to happen this year. Winning a major championship is an extraordinary feat that many golfers will never have the joy of experiencing. Phil has won five majors, but never the U.S. Open and it’s just time. We never know when our favorite golfers will be past their prime, or close to it, or have an injury that takes away their magic touch. Look at Tiger Woods.
I’m pulling for Lefty this weekend because he’s had the kind of career that should be completed (not that he’s retiring anytime soon) with a check mark next to “Win Grand Slam.” He’s great enough to do it, but the stars haven’t aligned yet.
Let’s hope we’re in for seeing one of those out-of-this-world performances from Phil this weekend.