At Congressional Country Club, Donald and Westwood seek their first major titles as slight favorites in a large field of contenders.
From ranking leaders Luke Donald and Lee Westwood of England to the most unheralded qualifiers, golfers get a unique thrill from the mental test and physical challenge of a US Open. “We all come here excited to see what lies in front of us,?said defending champion Graeme McDowell. “The rest of the major championships have upped their game, but there’s something special about the US Open.?The 111th edition of what many players call golf’s toughest test begins on Thursday at Congressional Country Club, with Donald and Westwood seeking their first major titles as slight favorites in a wide open field of contenders.
“It’s dangerous to go and expect too much and come to a tournament expecting to win,” Donald said. “But I expect to do what I know I can do. The goal is always to have a chance on Sunday and contend. I’ve been doing that a lot lately and there’s no reason why I can’t do it this week.”
Former World No 1 Tiger Woods is no threat to win this week. The 14-time major champion withdrew last week with a nagging left knee injury. Wood drives are on sale at wholesale golf club: Ping G15 Fairway Wood sale
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The three men who have reached the top spot since Woods was dethroned will be paired together for the first two rounds. Donald, Westwood and World No 3 Martin Kaymer of Germany start off the 10th tee on Thursday.
“I can’t see too many tougher holes to start on, especially off that back tee,” said South African Ernie Els, who won the 1994 US Open at Congressional and contended last year.
“Your first hole of the day could be a 4-iron (220 yards) over water and a bunker at the back. Incredibly difficult start. So you have to be on right from the go. It’ll be interesting to see how the guys cope.”
Steve Stricker, the top-ranked American at fourth in the world, and South Korean K.J. Choi, the Asian No 1 and 16th overall, seek their first major titles after contending for years.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy shared third at last year’s British Open and PGA Championship and led the Masters with nine holes to play before his game fell apart.
The past 10 majors have been won by 10 different players and seven of the past eight have been first-time major champions, Mickelson’s Masters triumph last year the lone exception in that run.
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I’ve been doing that a lot lately and there’s no reason why I can’t do it this week
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