Picking Tiger Woods to win a golf tournament is kind of like picking the sun to come up in the morning.
Anyone can do it. Which is why I’ve decided to go against the grain.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about Tiger. After watching his thrilling comeback at The Memorial two weeks ago, I’d be surprised if someone not named Eldrick Woods wins this week’s U.S. Open at the Bethpage Black Course.
But for the sake of discussion, here are five golfers not named after a cat who I think could surprise some people…
“The Duck” is long off the tee (301.9 yard average) and has made a habit of waddling his way to the top of the leader board on Sundays in big tournaments (2007 U.S. Open, ’09 Masters). If the Argentinean keeps it in the fairway, he could come away with his second major of the year.
After being a dominant force on the European Tour for years, Casey finally won his first PGA event in April at the Shell Houston Open. He’s finished in the Top 20 in three of his last four majors and could prove to be the first Englishman to win the U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970.
The 2003 champ usually saves his best golf for the U.S. Open. And while he doesn’t have the length to compete off the tee with Tiger, Cabrera, and other big hitters, there is a reason he’s nicknamed “The Grinder.” The golfer with the loopy swing has won or finished second in three of the last six U.S. Open’s.
Paddy is second only to Tiger in recent major success. With two British Opens and a PGA Championship under his belt, he won’t feel any added pressure when teeing it up this week. In 2002, when the Open was last at Bethpage Black, Harrington finished tied for eighth. Don’t be surprised to see him in contention again this week.
Consider this Texan the darkest of dark horses. Leonard’s never finished better than 12th in an Open, but that finish did come in 2002 at Bethpage. He’s one of the most accurate drivers on tour and is known for his low ball flight, which could come in handy this week considering the nasty forecast.