Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Gearing up for June

It is finally June which means its time to start gearing up for the next major, the US Open. I am not a big fan of the two month wait between the Masters and the US Open. There are some good tournaments in between (Byron Nelson, Colonial and Memorial) but the Tour needs to rearrange the schedule. The change is simple, move the Players Championship from two weeks before the Masters to mid-May. The Players Championship has long been considered the 5th major, so why not give it May and use it to keep the momentum rolling from the Masters into the summer. The Commish has done an amazing job with the Tour (it’s that Richmond J.D.) but this change will help boost the Players and take out a mid spring lull.

We have a great stretch of golf coming the next 3 weeks. The Memorial is the week and all the usual suspects will be there. In previewing this tournament, I will go back to comments I made a few weeks ago after the Colonial. I think Kenny Perry will win. This course sets up well for him and he is playing awesome. This course favors the players who kept the ball in play off the tee and hit lots of greens. If you check out the Ball Striking stats (combination of driving accuracy, driving distance and greens hit in regulation) I think you will see who will be in contention this week. The three names that stand out to me are Perry, David Toms and Retief Goosen. Perry is #1 in both total driving and G.I.R. which is amazing. Toms is one of the purest ball strikers on Tour and given his final round last week, he might be ready for another win. Goosen is one of my favorite players. He is hitting it well and hopefully that putter is heating up. When he is making putts inside 10 feet, he is virtually unbeatable.

Next week is the Kemper (sorry, Booz Allen Classic) at Congressional CC in Potomac, MD. This tournament is in my hometown and is one that I have been attending for the last 15 years. In my teenage years, I volunteered as a standard bearer. You know, the kids who carry the signs behind the players with that group’s scores. Normally this tournament has a weak field because it is between the Memorial and the US Open and it’s played on a dog track known as Avenel. This year the field will be the best that I can remember because it is played at Congo (host of the 1997 US Open) the week before the US Open and is only about 5 hours from Pinehurst. Tiger won’t be there but Els, Mickelson and Singh are expected to play. They field won’t be released until Friday night, but I would expect to see a good 25 of the top 50 in the world teeing it up.

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