Kaymer’s To Lose
That’s stating the obvious, but a five shot lead going into the final round of a major makes it so. This isn’t Tiger at the Masters in ’97, or the Open in 2000, or Rory at Congressional….this still going to be a contest. At least for nine holes. If Kaymer doesn’t implode on the front nine on Sunday he’s going to cruise on the back nine and win the 114th U.S. Open in a walk. There aren’t disaster holes that could rattle him like you’d find at Sawgrass, the Masters, or even Carnoustie (hi Jean Van de Velde!). If he’s up 4 or 5 shots at the turn he can hit irons off every tee on his way in and we can all take naps.
The reality of the situation is that not much changed on Saturday, except a few of the challengers. To make this more interesting Kaymer would have had to have posted 74 or worse and someone would need to be within 3 shots of him while playing in his group on Sunday. Martin didn’t flinch when everything went to hell in a hand basket last month at the Players after a rain delay. Why will would he do anything different on Sunday at the Open?
Do you honestly think Kaymer is going to feel pressure from Rickie Fowler? No way. Kaymer starred down Jordan Spieth at the Players without blinking. He’ll do even worse to Rickie on Sunday. This championship has been a great experience for Fowler, from the knickers he wore for Payne to playing in the final group in the final round. If he does anything but shoot 76 or worse he’ll have to call the week a tremendous success. Rick can make birdies in bunches and he’ll have to do so to have a chance, like 67 or better, just don’t count on it.
I’m already counting Compton out, and to make a pun right here by saying he doesn’t have the heart for it….well, that’s just poor taste. He obviously does, but he’s never been anywhere near the position he’ll wake up in on Sunday. The moment is too big for him. Stenson, DJ, and Snedeker…..those guys are the threats. You can narrow the champion down to Kaymer, Fowler, Stenson, Johnson, and Snedeker….that’s it….that’s the list. One of those five men will hoist the trophy by the end of Sunday or Monday, but we’d all be fools if we bet the field against Kaymer…..right?
With Sunday’s results pending, unless they go crazy today, I think we can all agree that dandruff covered blue coats from Far Hills have done an amazing job of setting up the golf course. With the rain that softened the course on Thursday night, the blue coats sat by idly on Friday and watched the course get assaulted by Kaymer and friends. So what did they do? They cooked up a little game of ‘Superintendent’s Revenge’ for Saturday that left most of the field crying in their beers after the round.
Five rounds of level par 70, and the 67s from Compton and Fowler. Those were the only rounds at par or better on U.S. Open Saturday. Like the USGA, the course was fair but crusty and grumpy. The players walked a thin line in post round interviews explaining the set up, its difficulty, and how things changed from Friday to Saturday. It almost sounded like complaining, but that’s reaching. If you’re the USGA that is the reaction you were looking for after Friday’s birdie fest. I expect to see more of the same today and to have one more mystery drive-able par 4 somewhere on the back nine, likely the 13th.
Since we’re all handing Martin Kaymer the trophy and no one seemingly would bet money on the field at this point, let’s try to get some more definitive results with a random internet poll of which no one has any stake in the game. Who’s winning the 2014 U.S. Open, Kaymer….or anybody else? It’s that simple.