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Changing times: Tiger, Mickelson go from Open favorites to open questions

June 17, 2015

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It is an odd time for the two best players of their generation. "For years, the top two favorites at a U.S. Open were automatic. Write in Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson," Hank Gola writes in the New York Daily News. "Now, with Woods struggling and Mickelson searching, the odds of them missing the cut at Chambers Bay are equally in play. At least Mickelson seems to have a dark horse's chance to win the one Grand Slam title that has eluded him…Woods, winless in majors for seven years, is talking confidently again although not many are buying."


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All eyes are on Tiger Woods, nationally and internationally. "If Tiger Woods was not still ­committed to the game of golf, he would not be going through all this anguish, not embarrassing himself in full view of the entire planet," James Corrigan of the Telegraph writes. "That was his message to those who doubt the American retains the hunger here at the 115th US Open. Even his friends have flashed up the question marks."


What to expect from Fox Sports as it televises the U.S. Open for the first time? "Fox Sports is going to ruin the United States Open golf tournament. No, it's going to reinvigorate it," Richard Sandomir writes in the New York Times. "Fox will turn the major into a laboratory for its newfangled gadgets. No, Fox will give viewers a better view of the tournament and the Chambers Bay course in Washington State…They might all turn out fine — or distract us. They might rile older fans but get new ones. All the lessons Fox learned from televising baseball, football, hockey and Nascar might make golf a lot more fun to watch. Or they might ruin it."


"Mike Davis resembles a character from the familiar comedy-movie scene finding the harmless dweeb harassed by tough guys much stronger and bigger than he is," Tacoma News-Tribune columnist John McGrath writes in this look at the USGA executive director and the man responsible for the U.S. Open setup. "His threat to throw a punch can be funny, and when the actual punch lands, it's funnier still. But looks can deceive. As anticipation for the U.S. Open builds at Chambers Bay, Mike Davis might be the golf world's most interesting man. He's certainly its most powerful."


"Whether Chambers Bay turns out to be a respected and revered championship golf course will be one of the questions answered this week during the U.S. Open…at a venue less than eight years old," ESPN's Bob Harig writes about Chambers Bay. "But there is no denying the spectacular scope, the stunning views, the unique setting. This will be the 115th playing of the U.S. Open, at the 51st different venue, and it would be difficult to find one quite like the place that borders Puget Sound and is the source of all manner of opinions while being perhaps a bit controversial."