With the second golf major on the way this week, I decided it would be a good time to assemble some friends for a few predictions (sure to go wrong). Tee it up with us and provide your PICK, SLEEPER and BUST in the comments.
Matt Romig, Yahoo.com
Pick: Steve Stricker – Always makes the cut, frequently near the top, like his demeanor in a start-stop affair.
Sleeper: Matteo Manassero – Too young? Probably, but comes in with a ton of momentum and no fear.
Bust: Adam Scott – Four top 10s at Augusta. Zero top 10s in U.S. Open. Simply two different events.
Jeff Ritter, Golf.com
Pick: Justin Rose - Due to break through and leads Tour in total driving this season. You can’t win a U.S Open from the rough.
Sleeper: Steve Stricker - Semi-retired, but hasn’t missed a cut in six starts this year. Still ultimate combo of ballstriking/putting. 46-year-old would be a feel-good story.
Bust: Tiger Woods - If he doesn’t win, he’s a bust. And I’m not picking him to win.
Len Hochberg, MLB.com
Pick: Tiger Woods - Just because.
Sleeper: Lee Westwood - Fair to call him a sleeper? Yes, because few think he has a shot.
Bust: Louis Oosthuizen - Hard to believe he's No. 9 in the world with his season.
Joe Sheehan, SI.com/The Joe Sheehan Newsletter
Pick: Brandt Snedeker - If everyone's hitting greens, comes down to the flat stick. One of the best.
Sleeper: Peter Hanson - Another strong putter on two continents. Three major Top 10s in last eight starts.
Bust: Rory McIlroy - Too many two-putts.
Tim Schuler, Rotowire.com
Pick: Graeme McDowell - Always seems to be in the hunt for big tournaments the last few years. Steely resolve and strong iron play could work well at Merion.
Sleeper: K.J. Choi - His experience in majors and the course setup might make for a sneaky play.
Bust: Bubba Watson
2016 Open Sleeper: Oscar Sachs
Pete Zeigler, Bushwood Country Club
Pick: Tiger Woods - Still the best mind in golf, and should be able to take advantage of the playable conditions, better than anyone
Sleeper: Zach Johnson - He should bounce back from the Memorial. Love iron play at a short course playing slow. This may the best chance he ever has to get major 2
Bust: Bubba Watson - He may get a boatload of eagles this weekend, but not enough to make up for the bogies when he picks the wrong time to challenge a course requiring shotmaking and discipline.
Ted Bell, Whereabouts Unknown
Pick: Jim Furyk - He isn't big off the tee but Jimmy puts the ball in the fairway and that's always what I look for in the Majors. I think he'll have the putter working and he'll walk away from Merion with the biggest check.
Sleeper: Henrik Stenson - Gut feeling, nothing more.
Bust: Rory McIlroy - The swing is not there. Don't get caught chasing potential.
Andrew Martinez, Rotowire.com
Pick: Tiger Woods - He performs at his best, when he's on the biggest stages. Moreover, he needs this one to get back on track, if he's to chase down Jack.
Sleeper: Boo Weekley - He's such a sleeper, Vegas doesn't even have him on the board. To his credit though, he's only missed the cut twice this season and has four top-10 finishes this season, one of which was a win at Colonial three weeks ago.
Bust: Dustin Johnson - This season he's either been focused on his game or off jet-setting around the globe with The Great One's daughter and it's led to three top-10 finishes and five missed cuts/withdrawals. You can't just flip the switch at the U.S. Open.
Erin Skelley, HoustonTexans.com
Pick: Matt Kuchar - Strong competitor in the majors. In good form. Like his chances.
Sleeper: Jim Furyk - Slowly, quietly making a comeback.
Bust: Phil Mickelson - Nice FedEx finish but Open will continue to elude the lefty. His size medium shirt doesn't help.
Scott Pianowski, Yahoo.com
Pick: Graeme McDowell - Perfect makeup for this challenge and his Open record speaks for itself.
Sleeper: Tim Clark - A bunter all the way, but this is the sort of track where this kind of player can contend. (Yeah, I wanted to give it up for Jeff Maggert here, but he's not in the field. So it goes.)
Bust: Phil Mickelson - I don't like him coming in unrested (no matter that he ran second last week), I don't trust his short game like I used to, and a tight course is the last thing he wants to see. I know, he's been close in this major many times, but I don't see it for 2013.