For what it’s worth, Tiger Woods’ play is rumored to be ridiculously good heading into this week’s U.S. Open.
Before you flippantly dismiss all such talk with his recent 14-over par Memorial showing, consider the source of the evaluation. As of late, Jason Day has shown he has quite the feel for this time of season.
“If he could get on the fairway, he’d probably be back to where he was [when he was dominating],’’ said Day, who has been a runner-up in three Majors since 2011, including that year’s U.S. Open, and this week played a practice round with Woods at Chambers Bay. “His iron play is just ridiculous how good it is right now.”
The U.S. Open is one of the biggest golfing events of the year, and as a result, ticket prices are pretty much as high as you’ll see from the sport. For instance, average ticket prices at the moment for Thursday’s opening round are coming in at $512, with a get-in price of $115. Fans have been rummaging to book their travel, which can all be done within one reliable source, Hipmunk. There are plenty of affordable Seattle-Tacoma flights that can have people at the Chambers Bay golf course in time for the first swings of the Open, while Hipmunk’s Tacoma hotel listings around the area start as low as $47 for those wanting to create the ultimate golf vacation.
Woods will need all his tricks of the trade to contend in Tacoma, where world No. 1 Rory McIlroy opens as the strong favorite. Since winning the Open last year, McIlroy has recorded five wins and four runner-up finishes. He comes to battle this week well-rested, having taken the last several days off to recharge his batteries.
Having already notched two wins and three runner-up finishes this season, reigning Masters’ champ Jordan Spieth also figures to be in the mix. In lapping the field at Augusta, the 21-year-old Texan tied Woods’ 72-hole record and now only stands behind him as the tournament’s youngest winner ever.
Big-hitter and No. 7-ranked Dustin Johnson could also be a factor, as the course’s lengthy dimensions directly play into many of his strong suits. Earlier this season, he won the WGC-Cadillac Championships, and also owns three other top-10 finishes this season.
Finally, for 2012 Hall-of-Fame inductee Phil Mickelson, it’s all about the chance to make even more history. For him, a win would cap a career Grand Slam and put to rest the source of some of his greatest frustrations. The 45-year-old Mickelson has placed second at The Open a record six different times, and will look to finally get over the hump in ’15.