US Open Preview: What and Where to Watch

The Masters have come and gone which means its time to turn our attention to the next major championship; the US Open. This year golfers will be teeing off in North Carolina on the famed course at Pinehurst. Not that this course needs any more lore added to its legend but for the first time both the mens and the womens US Open championships will be played on the same grounds.

While the grounds are historic people dont tune in or flock to an event to admire how nice the greens or bunkers are. Spectators want to see big names play great golf which, if were being honest, the Masters lacked. Obviously Tiger Woods wasn’t playing and his absence alone brought ratings down by more than a million viewers.  Jordan Spieth provided some drama by making a push for the green jacket over the first three days but he faded on Sunday. Yes, it was the Masters but it’s not going to be one people talk about for years to come. Let’s move on and hope for some more memorable action at this year’s US Open, which comes stocked with storylines and intrigue.

Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

First off we have Masters winner Bubba Watson coming into this tournament hot off of his green jacket win. Bubba’s always been a nice story and a fan favorite but he has yet to really break into the superstar category of the Rorys, Phils and Tigers. Back to back major wins could put him on the fast track to fame. We also have newly minted world #1 Adam Scott looking to make the case that he does deserve this ranking and that Tiger’s injury problems aren’t the only reason he’s moved to the top of the world rankings.

This year’s US Open also has two of the most interesting off course story lines we’ve seen in some time. Besides the fact the Phil Mickelson is looking to complete a career grand slam at a tournament he has finished second a record six times, he’ll do it all with the FBI investigating him for possible insider trading. The stress of the investigation may cripple him but at the same time the golf course might serve as a sanctuary where he could play his tail off. Sort of like Kobe Bryant did in 2006. We also have newly single Rory McIlroy playing stress free after his break up with fiancé Caroline Wozniacki. Without the pressures of planning a wedding or living up to the success of his professional tennis player of a fiancé, Rory should be playing loose looking to add another major to his mantle. He might even be looking to impress a girl or two.

For those of you who are looking to go to the US Open or are already going the places to stake out are going to be the tougher holes of the course, especially the 5th hole. Many golfers feel that this hole is one of the toughest not just on the tour, but in the world. Sure you could park yourself at the first hole and see the pageantry of the first tee off. You could sit near the 18th green and give every golfer a warm reception as the finish their round but for me, I want to be where the danger lies. The hardest holes offer the biggest opportunity to make spectacular shots, or spectacular misses. Either way something worth talking about is likely going to happen on the fifth hole. The second hole isn’t a slouch either, at 507 yards and still just a par 4.

If you’re looking for a more nostalgic feel head over to the 11th hole which, according to golf lore, was Ben Hogan’s favorite par 4 hole. Golf is a game that’s been played for well over a century and getting a chance to look back in time and imagine Ben Hogan putting is worth wandering over to the eleventh hole.

As with any golf event be prepared for a long haul. Wear comfortable shoes if you’re walking in the gallery and dress for the weather because no one wants to be stuck without an umbrella.  Any way you slice it, the US Open at Pinehurst will be a great event to watch.