By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - One thing in life seems to be certain: Water always wins.

If there's a tiny crack in your roof, water will find it and ruin your ceiling.

If there's any spot for water to get into your basement, and ruin your boxed-up collection of 1974 baseball cards, the water will find it and turn your cards to mush.

And it looks like water will do some damage to the U.S. Open, which begins Thursday at Merion East in suburban Philadelphia.

More rain, after a lot of rain in the past week, is forecast to turn what already is a mud pit into a swamp. Jeez, some forecasts are saying Merion may even get some hail.

Pro golfers love swampy courses because it takes away their fear, especially at a U.S. Open, where things are normally firm and fast.

If the predicted rain comes, the USGA can put the pins in the greenside bunkers and the players will still shoot at them.

If the fairways are damp and soggy - and the players know their drives will land and stop and not skeeter into the gnarly rough - and if Merion's greens - the course's real defense because the course is short (6,996 yards) - are receptive and soft because of the rain, look for lots and lots of low scores on Thursday and Friday.

It looks like it could become exactly what the USGA and Merion didn't want.

So many, including myself, want to see the old bird strut its stuff and prove that a course doesn't have to be 7,400 yards to be a tough test.

In a perfect world, with perfect weather, Merion could do that. While not brutish, Merion was going to bring everybody - the long and short hitter - into the fray. Well, wet weather will bring everybody in, but low scores, not the even par the USGA likes to see from its winner, looks like the order of the day.

So, who will be lifting that really big U.S. Open trophy on Sunday (weather permitting) or Monday?

Like every major, it begins with Tiger Woods, who, unless the Philadelphia area gets another major or a PGA Tour stop magically opens up, will be likely making his last appearance in the area.

And, if he's in contention, and even managed to win, it could salvage the whole tournament weather be damned.

The problem is, in his tune-up for the Open at the Memorial, Tiger played poorly after a great start to his season. How much will the Memorial affect his confidence? That's the million dollar question.

And what of Phil Mickelson? He had a great finish at last week's St. Jude Classic and if he can carry that momentum, he'll have raucous crowds cheering him on.

Phil already has finished second five times in the U.S. Open, the most all time, and another one would be a heartbreak. A win this time - Sunday is his birthday - also would be a boon for Merion and the USGA.

Who else? As mentioned above, with it being wide open, there are at least 15 guys who we can point at, such as:

Graeme McDowell: He's won an Open and thrives on pressure. If not Tiger of Phil, look to McDowell.


Adam Scott: The weight of the world came off his shoulders at Augusta and if he wins, he'll be halfway to the Grand Slam. That would be cool.


Rory McIlroy: Remember, two years ago at soggy Congressional when Roars set an Open record by winning at 16 under? I'm sure he remembers.


Matt Kuchar: He seems to be the chic pick of many because of his consistency. A major win would push him way up the scale.


Luke Donald: He's been mentioned as a major contender seemingly forever. And he's a great irons player. That could help at Merion.


Webb Simpson: Do you remember he won last year out in San Francisco? Nobody's won two straight Opens since Curtis Strange in 1988 and '89. I can't see Simpson matching that.

In the end, here's hoping the weather cooperates and we get a great final round. My fingers are crossed.

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