The angel is on my right shoulder and the devil is on my left. The angel is "suggesting" that this Sunday is really Family Day and the devil is reminding me that it is Father's Day.
Maybe it is because I have two daughters, Cate and Ruth, who are constantly saying, "Hugs, great hugs, last more than three seconds," that it is finally dawning on me that the third Sunday in June is more about US than ME.
I admit it. Perspective sometimes comes slowly to me. In years past, I looked upon Father's Day as a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card, which meant golf in the morning with my regular golf buddies; a post-round drink in the Men's Grill while watching the U.S. Open; home to take a quick shower and watch the end of the Open; then opening presents from my overly-accommodating wife, Nancy, and my kindhearted daughters, and finally a dinner of my choosing. The only thing I did all day was uncork the wine.
This year when talking about our Father's Day plans, Nancy said with a
laugh, "This plan sounds familiar -- like most Sundays." Initially I
shrugged off her comment as nothing more than a loving reminder that I have
had three decades of Sunday golf. However, sometimes a well-placed jab can
be very effective and make one think.
There it was: A moment of clarity. Nancy's words made me realize how truly
lucky I am to be both a husband and father each and every day. From here on
out, I will do my best never to take the joys of fatherhood - and
grandfatherhood -- for granted! The words of author Dr. Frank Pittman
(1935-2012) offer great perspective: "Fathering is not something perfect men
do, but something that perfects the man."
Bottom line: Being a father is both a blessing and a blast! This Sunday is
going to be the perfect combination of golf and family.
All of this new, clearer thinking does not mean that I won't watch and bet
on the 119th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links. The four Major
tournaments are MUST-SEE TV.
This year's Open should be especially entertaining and compelling for four
The USGA's compulsion to make Open courses absurdly difficult - "I don't
understand why we can't have a U.S. Open where the greens actually have
living grass on them. Why do they (USGA officials) turn up at venues
insisting they know how to take care of a course when they don't? Last year
at Shinnecock, they had a meeting early in the week with the top
superintendents from other Open venues. The USGA was told the course needed
water. They just don't listen to people who know what they're doing." -
Teacher of multiple Major champions.
U.S. Open pressure - "Nobody ever wins the National Open. Somebody else just
loses it." - Bobby Jones (1902 to 1971), winner of 13 Majors. During his
career, the four Majors were: The British Amateur, The (British) Open
Championship, U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur. Jones won the U.S. Open in 1926,
'27 & '30.
The course -- "Pebble Beach is a 300-acre unplayable lie." - Pulitzer-Prize
winning sportswriter Jim Murray.
The question - Can Brooks Koepka win his third Open in a row?
Below you will find the players, the current odds, the players' best U.S.
Open career finish and their current world rankings. Who do you think will be the contenders?
NAME / ODDS / BEST OPEN FINISH / WORLD RANKING
- Rory McIlroy 8/1; Won: 2011/ #3
- Brandt Snedeker 50/1; 8th/T8: 2010, 2015/ #44
- Dustin Johnson 8/1; Won: 2016/ #2
- Phil Mickelson 50/1; 2nd/Tied 2nd 1999, '02, '04, '06, '09/ #24
- Brooks Koepka 9/1; Won: 2017, 2018/ #1
- Webb Simpson 50/1; Won: 2012/ #19
- Tiger Woods 12/1; Won: 2000, 2002, 2008/ #5
- Paul Casey 55/1; T10: 2007/ #15
- Patrick Cantlay 20/1; T21: 2011/ #8
- Henrik Stenson 60/1; T4: 2014/ #43
- Jordan Spieth 20/1; Won: 2015/ #28
- Shane Lowry 60/1; T2: 2016/ #32
- Rickie Fowler 25/1; T2: 2014/ #11
- Marc Leishman 65/1; T18: 2016/ #21
- Justin Rose 25/1; Won: 2013/ #4
- Gary Woodland 75/1; T23: 2011/ #25
- Xander Schauffele 28/1; T6: 2018/ #10
- Patrick Reed 80/1; 4th: 2018/ #23
- Jon Rahm 28/1; T23: 2016/ #13
- Sergio Garcia 80/1; T3: 2005/ #30
- Justin Thomas 30/1; T9: 2017/ #7
- Graeme McDowell 80/1; Won: 2010/ #32
- Francesco Molinari 33/1; T23: 2014/ #6
- Louis Oosthuizen 90/1; T2: 2015/ #22
- Jason Day 33/1; 2nd: :2011 & T2: 2013/ #16
- Martin Kaymer 90/1; Won: 2014/ #97
- Adam Scott 33/1; T4: 2015/ #17
- Bubba Watson 110/1; T5: 2007/ #20
- Tommy Fleetwood 33/1; 2nd: 2018/ #18
- Keegan Bradley 140/1; T4: 2014/ #37
- Hideki Matsuyama 35/1; T2: 2017/ #29
- Lucas Glover 150/1; Won: 2009/ #78
- Bryson Dechambeau 45/1; Tied 15th: 2016/ #9
- Si Woo Kim 150/1; T13: 2017/ #56
- Matt Kuchar 45/1; T6: 2010/ #12
- Danny Willett 150/1; T37: 2016/#80
- Tony Finau 50/1; 5th: 2018/ #14
After much research, thought and mind changing, I have decided to put a few
dollars on the following players:
1st: Dustin Johnson (8-1 odds) - I know this is a safe pick, but odds are against Brooks Koepka winning three U.S. Opens in a row and Johnson has consistently played well at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am over the years, including two victories and two seconds. At the 2010 Open at Pebble Beach he was the third-round leader. This year he is No. 1 in scoring average (69.13) and No. 8 in driving distance (310 yards). Enough said.
2nd: Rory McIlroy (8-1) - He's ranked 3rd in the world and he's hot having
just won the Canadian Open by going 22 under, seven strokes better than
Shane Lowry and Webb Simpson.
3rd: Jordan Spieth (20-1) - This is a stretch, but his putter is hot again.
If he can avoid the big-boy, blow-up holes, then he can contend. That is a