Top 10 Picks for the U.S. Open
By Leonard Shapiro
Wednesday, June 16, 2004; 10:00 AM
Washington Post staff writer Leonard Shapiro's top 10 picks for the 104th U.S. Open Championship at Shinneckock Hills in Southampton, N.Y.
Tiger Woods: He has gone seven straight majors without a victory, mostly because he can't keep the ball in the fairway. He started to make progress at the Memorial two weeks ago, and his 2-iron stinger shot off the tee is tailor-made for this not so brutish course.
Ernie Els: The two-time U.S. Open champion and three-time major winner will be playing in his sixth straight event and he has one victory and four top-16 finishes in those past five events.
Vijay Singh: A three-time winner this season on Tour who just finished fourth at the Westchester Classic, he has the perfect game and temperament to win his first Open, especially because his belly-putting has improved dramatically.
Phil Mickelson: Clearly the people's choice this week, he's gone from loveable loser of 46 straight majors to the only man in the field with a chance at a Grand Slam since his popular victory at the Masters.
Sergio Garcia: Still only 24 and with two playoff victories this season on the PGA Tour, the Spanish star may have inherited the label as best player without a major. He's coming off a victory Sunday in Westchester and is having his best season on Tour.
Davis Love III: So close so many times in U.S. Opens, he is the only player in the top five of the world rankings who hasn't won this season. He also would be a popular choice, having won his only career major at the PGA Championship at Winged Foot in nearby Westchester in 1997.
David Toms: Won for the first time this season four weeks ago and has the sort of thinking man's game required at Shinnecock Hills. Also finished fifth in the Open last year, his best ever performance in this event.
Chad Campbell: He has missed the cut in three of his fourth Open appearances, but won at Bay Hill in March and finished second at Colonial three weeks ago. At age 30, he's in the prime of his career and ready to break through in a major.
Mike Weir: The Canadian 2003 Masters champion hasn't done much since winning at Riviera in February, but his ability to keep the ball in play and a brilliant short game, despite recent putting concerns, should keep him in the hunt.
Fred Funk: Has missed the cut in eight of the 15 Opens he has played in, most of them on brutishly long courses, with only one top 10 finish. But on a shorter-than-usual Open venue (6,969 yards), the most accurate driver on the PGA Tour could be a factor on the back nine Sunday.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company