ARDMORE, Pa. Players to watch as the U.S. Open gets under way Thursday at Merion Golf Club:
Woods has been stuck on 14 major championships since 2008, when he beat Rocco Mediate on an injured knee in a playoff at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif. So the drum beat continues: Is this the year Woods gets back on track in his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus record of 18 majors? With his four victories in eight events this year, it just might be.
He broke through at Augusta and has scaled back his tournament schedule to better focus on the majors (he has only played twice since). Hed gone 47 majors before winning the Masters and doesnt want to wait that long again.
He was scheduled to get off an airplane only a few hours before his 7:11 a.m. starting time Thursday (he was in San Diego to watch his daughter graduate from eighth grade Wednesday). How much impact will that have on the chances of Mickelson, a perennial U.S. Open favorite who has yet to win one (a record five runner-up finishes)?
McDowell knows how to win this tournament (at Pebble Beach, Calif., in 2010). He tied for second in 12 behind Webb Simpson and already has a victory this season (Hilton Head Island, S.C.). Hasnt played well in big tournaments, though, missing the cut at the Masters and Players Championship.
He seems ready to win a major and this might be the week. Kuchar has done the next-best thing, winning the 2012 Players Championship and he is coming off a victory at the Memorial two weeks ago and a second-place finish at Colonial the week before that. David Scott
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