As is it’s usual custom, the US Open will conclude on Father’s Day. While the final round of the nation’s championship has brought us tremendous finishes over the years, this year’s version of the “World’s Toughest Golf Tournament” is shaping up to be anything but dramatic.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer stormed to monstrous lead shooting back-to-back 65’s on the par 70 Pinehurst #2 course. He entered the third round with an eight shot lead and essentially needed to just shoot par in order to head into today’s final round with a large enough cushion for him not to sweat the competition.
Kaymer ended up his third round with a two over par 72 but still has a five shot lead entering the final 18 holes today. In most situations, I’d say this tournament is over and we can hand Kaymer the trophy and $1.5 million dollars right now. That said, I just don’t have that feeling.
There are five players under par trailing Kaymer and of those I like to pressure him are Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson who are both at -2. Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton are both at -3 but I think the experience of Stenson and Snedeker will provide them with the best opportunities of catching Kaymer.
In yesterday’s third round, Kaymer entered with just one bogey in the tournament and left the third round with a total of six. That shows a bit of vulnerability, but Kaymer has history on his side. Only one player in US Open history has ever lost a five stroke lead and that was Mike Brady (no, not the one from the ‘Brady Bunch’) in 1919.
The pressure of winning a major tournament is immense but some would argue that doing so with such a big lead makes the pressure even more intense. I think Kaymer will hang on today but don’t be a bit surprised if at any point someone closes to within a shot or two.
LeBron’s Biggest Moment?
Fair or unfair, LeBron James has been and always will be compared to Michael Jordan. It’s the impossible ghost that James will never catch in my opinion at least in terms of championships. Even if James does get to the magical number of six, the argument will be that he needed Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to do so while Jordan had much less talent around him.
LeBron has already lost two times in the NBA Finals. His first was in Cleveland when he willed the Cavaliers to the Finals where they were swept by San Antonio. The other time was in the first year of the Big Three when they were beaten by the Dallas Mavericks. Jordan was of course six for six in his Finals’ appearances.
James now sits on the precipice of a third loss in the NBA Finals as his Heat trail the Spurs 3-1. There is as much talk about LeBron’s future right now if not more, than about the actual Finals themselves. While that isn’t fair to James he knows as well as anyone that is just how the system works these days.
If Miami is to get back in this series it will be on the back of LeBron James. Will he have to do it all? No, but he might as well. I think we are talking about games where James has to score 35 plus points, grab seven or more rebounds and dish out four or more assists. In my mind those are minimum-type numbers.
If James can bring the Heat back to win the title (teams down 3-1 in the Finals are 0-31) then his star will rise to Jordan-esque proportions. If he can’t, the same old comparisons will continue fair or not.