U.S. Open win would change everything for Woods, Mickelson, Donald and WestwoodTiger Woods will pursue his 15th career major title this week at Olympic Club.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The pursuit of a major championship is personal, not business.
It inspires and afflicts golfers in different ways. Payne Stewart was invigorated by competing in majors, our national championship in particular. He dressed in red, white and blue. He eased his nerves by chewing gum. He won two U.S. Opens and a PGA Championship as one of the last true swingers of the club, as the PGA Tour rules official Jon Brendle once put it.
Colin Montgomerie’s thin skin became translucent at the majors, where every cough and heckle became amplified in Dolby Surround. He huffed and puffed and all for naught. His dismal 7-iron at Winged Foot’s final hole in the 2006 U.S. Open haunts him still.
On the eve of the 112th edition of the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, a curvy, tree-lined test cut out of Bay Area soil (Interactive Map), only one golfer will walk into the sunset at the end a truly happy man. His career might be made. His life will change. The rest will wander off the premises unfulfilled or worse.
“It’s such a big test,” Tiger Woods said during his press conference Tuesday, “and such a grind.”
In the shrinking global village of professional golf, almost every player will have his share of supporters, even those born elsewhere. Luke Donald attended college at Northwestern. Lee Westwood cheers for the New York Knicks.
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