Giants ready for heavyweight fight at US Open

The table is set for US Open drama: Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler are among the players at the top heading into the weekend – but there’s no shortage of surprises in the test battle.

By: Christian Dovlé
Published: 18.06.22, at 6.53

When Viktor Hovland won’t be seen at the US Open this weekend for the second year in a row, it’s good consolation to see how the top end of the standings at the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts is developing.

Collin Morikawa is only 25, but has positioned himself perfectly to fight for the third major triumph of his career. He shares the five-under par lead with cult figure Joel Dahmen (USA), one stroke ahead of Jon Rahm and Rory Mcilroy, who share third with Hayden Buckley, Aaron Wise and Beau Hossler. Another shot behind is world number one Scottie Scheffler in the quintet in shared 8th place, and Xander Schauffele and Will Zalatoris are also among the players who are in attacking position.

In other words, it’s just sitting in front of the TV this weekend.

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adaptable Morikawa

That Collin Morikawa is leading the tournament is an important lesson for the rest of us in that scoring on the golf course isn’t just about hitting the shots you wishes to beat, but to make the most of the turn you have on the spot.

Morikawa is leading the tournament despite having “lost” his favorite team in recent weeks. He’s made a career out of the world’s most reliable left-to-right-turning little baby fade, but in recent weeks he’s suddenly – completely unintentionally – turned into a little draw.

As a result, there has been no top 25 in his last five tournaments, but now he finally seems to have made his way to the uncharted ballpark. However, he is determined it will only be temporary and says he will work to get back the trusty dish he knows and loves best.

– I don’t plan to go to the draw full time. This proves that you can play this sport with many different types of shots. I remember the first time I played with Tiger, and he hit all the shots that suited the situation. If the club was right, it hit a short cut, and if it was left, it hit a short draw, Morikawa tells Golf Channel.

If Morikawa went all the way this weekend and won the US Open, he would be just one green jacket away from the Masters as Tiger completes “the grand slam of his career” – something only five players in the history of golf have succeeded.

– I never really thought about the career slam. I just want to win golf tournaments, win major tournaments and compete against the best in the world, and luckily I have the opportunity to do that, Morikawa said humbly.

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McIlroy pursues his first since 2014

Another who is only one career Grand Slam green jacket away is Rory McIlroy, who is now in the perfect position to end his eight-year major drought. During this dry spell there have often been disappointing first laps that have stuck in his wheels, but now he has finally gotten the fast start he wants.

– I am well placed. I’m really happy with the way I’m playing right now, and that’s the most important thing,” said McIlroy, who also tops the putting stats.

This is bad news for competitors.

The one likely to have his fingers crossed for McIlroy’s win is PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan. McIlroy has been the most vocal critic of the Saudis’ LIV Golf project, and when LIV Golf broke out in London last week, Rory McIlroy ‘responded’ with a mega-popular victory on the PGA Tour in front of ecstatic crowds in Canada. .

In Brookline, Northern Ireland is, if possible, even more popular, especially considering the number of Irish-Americans living in this part of the country.

However, we have to go down to 31st to find the best position for a LIV Golf breakaway after the half-played US Open, and most of their players missed the cut – including Phil Mickelson.

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Although McIlroy has four major wins on his conscience, he thinks his long major tournament winning streak means he doesn’t have the same mental edge over other unknown names near the top of the leaderboard who have never major tournament winner:

– My attitude is a bit that I’m fighting again for my first big win. I play better golf than I have in a long time. Yes, I’ve won majors before, but just because I’ve done it doesn’t mean I’ll land better shots or putts, says McIlroy.

NB! The third round of the US Open will be broadcast on Viaplay, V Sport Golf and V4 from 6:00 p.m.

Alec Dittman

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