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Question of the Day: Who will win the U.S. Open golf tournament? [Updated]

June 15, 2011 | 10:09 am

Bubba_640 Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the U.S. Open golf tournament, which starts Thursday at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. Check back throughout the day for more responses and weigh in with a comment of your own.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

I’m going out on a limb, picking a U.S. Open champion who was born in the same country as Barack Obama. American golfers have been trumped of late by internationals named Graeme, Louis, Martin and Charl.

Enough’s enough. It’s time for a country boy named Bubba to win a major.

Bubba Watson can bomb it 350 yards and also hits the most greens on tour. The lefty closed well to win in San Diego and New Orleans this year and came within a shot of claiming his first major at last year’s PGA Championship.

He appears in bare feet and overalls in that comically bad Golf Boys video, singing: “I want my birdies all day long.” Assuming he can find a pair of slacks and a shirt to cover up his chest hair, I like Watson to break through this week.

[Updated at 1:25 p.m.:

Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel

This isn’t the U.S. Open.

It’s the U.S. Wide Open.

What’s it tell you when the top two players in the world –- Luke Donald and Lee Westwood –- have never even won a major?

Asking who is going to win this golf tournament is like asking who is going win the national Spelling Bee. Actually, it’s even more difficult because at least you know the Spelling Bee winner is going to be  American. These days, golf majors are ruled by players from lands far, far away.

Tiger is off fighting the battle of wounded knee while Phil is flying so far under the radar he is scraping the treetops.

But wait, there is hope for the red, white and blue. South Korean K.J. Choi, who was just granted American citizenship, will win this tournament. And then U.S. golf will be like many other products Americans enjoy: “Made in Korea.”

Kevin Van Valkenburg, Baltimore Sun

Hunter Mahan said something kind of dumb this week. He said, because this year's U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club has three par 5s and a number of other good birdie holes, that it's possible someone could go out and shoot 62.

Saying something like that is sort of like poking the golfing gods in the eye with tees. It was completely foolish. In fact, Mahan walked back his comments after he played a practice round this week, and realized how tough the greens were going to be.

I loved that he said it, no matter how foolish. In fact, it's part of the reason Mahan is my pick to win this week. You need to believe in your game to win a U.S. Open. You have to have almost an irrational calm. You can't just go into the tournament hoping to grind out some pars and survive. Not anymore. You need to make birdies, especially at Congressional.

Interestingly enough, the last time Mahan played Congressional, he shot a club-record 62. Clearly he knows his way around the course. He's also entering the prime of his golfing career. He has four top 10 finishes this year, and it's only a matter of time before he breaks through in a major. He has length and accuracy off the tee, and is an excellent putter when he gets hot.

It's time for an American to reclaim our national championship. Mahan has a great chance to be that guy this week.]

Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times

Picking a U.S. Open golf winner is like picking the trifecta in the fourth race on Thursday afternoon at Hollywood Park. Eight maiden claimers. Roll the dice and don't expect to return to the window. Most U.S. Open golfers are better known, but they are equally unpredictable. So, we'll roll the dice and call Steve Stricker's number. He is No. 4 in the world, hits the ball far enough now to deal with these overblown, stretched-out courses, seems less inclined than most of the other guys to come unglued over a five-foot putt and he hasn't won a major before. Think of it as the Dirk Nowitzski syndrome. A good guy, tall, well-mannered, well-spoken and well-deserving, wins the big one. Because he is good and because it is his time.


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Photo: Bubba Watson. Credit: Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer / MCT