Rory McIlroy looking for fast start at the US Open

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson

In 2017, Erin Hills with its wide fairways, looked more like a regular event than a major, particularly after bowing to player pressure to chop back the rough, and last year at Shinnecock Hills, after faithfully promising they would make the same errors as 14 years before when they "lost" the greens, they went ahead and made exactly the same errors.

Like always these days with the Golf majors, its hard to single out a clear favourite and the bookies have Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and treble US Open chasing Brooks Koepka in a three-way tie at the top.

Diovisalvi takes huge pride in seeing the players he and his team have worked with win tournaments and the academy in Jupiter, Florida is decorated with banners won by the likes of Johnson, Koepka, Justin Thomas, Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie.

"We've talked about it all year long", Bodenhamer said.

The SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas reported taking a $10,000 bet on Woods to win this week, the largest the bookmaker had taken on its odds to win the U.S. Open.

Yes, he gets tipped for pretty much every Major tournament he plays in. The current world number one leapt into the top five after last year's US Open and continues to consolidate his position atop of the rankings.

Victories in the Bridgestone Invitational and US PGA Championship in 2014 make McIlroy the last player to win a PGA Tour event immediately before winning a major, but no player has ever followed a Tour victory with another at the US Open.

Tiger Woods produced one of the famous tournament performances of all time at Pebble Beach. It was when he set his record-breaking 15-stroke win at the US Open.

But he has failed to crack the top ten in any of his three appearances at the California course since that epic campaign.

"And that's a handsome state of mind to be in at the Majors, where you don't feel on edge".

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The following year at Oakmont, eventual champion Johnson and Shane Lowry played most of the back nine not knowing the score; the USGA waited until after the round to determine whether Johnson's ball had moved on the fifth green. 45/1 to win, 9/2 top 5 finish. That was a precious result for him as it earned him a spot at the Open Championship this year.

Picking someone with a good driving distance, basically, a big hitter could help.

Five-time major victor Phil Mickelson, who turns 49 on Sunday, reckons Pebble Beach offers one of his last legitimate chances to finally capture the US Open - the only major to elude him, while American Rickie Fowler again seeks to shed his current "best player never to win a major" label. There is also going to be a fair amount of scrambling going on.

"My thing is they weren't great golf shots so they probably deserved to end up where they did. We've listened to it, we've taken some of that feedback and incorporated some of it, candidly".

"And it looks like they have the golf course right where they want it right now - which is exciting".

Diovisalvi uses the example of England's Tommy Fleetwood, who finished runner-up at the US Open past year and is ranked 18th in the world despite his relatively smaller stature.

Patrick Cantlay is another of the strong American challengers. "And to even be thought of or to think of winning a major championship here would be incredible".

Last week he placed a disappointing 50th, ending a run of three tournaments with a top-four finish.

Another treat for the fans and there are some big stories around, including a potential breakthrough for birthday boy Phil Mickelson, who at 49 would be the oldest ever victor of a US Open. There's Tiger Woods hoping to relive some past glories at the Major.

Then there is Koepka, who is just something special when it comes to the Majors. "Then we get down on a mat and do a very active, dynamic stretch for another 10 minutes". There's McIlroy with his poor US Open history.

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