Defending U.S. Open and Oakmont champ Ernie Els likes Bubba Watson's chances, but Tiger is in control
OAKMONT, Pa. - All aboard the Bubba Wagon!
Bubba Watson is in the driver’s seat, but many are expecting his inexperience to show this weekend. I don’t think so. He’ll be near the top Sunday.
After Ernie Els’ round today, he told me the fan favorite and long-baller has as good of a shot at Oakmont as any.
“The course is short enough for him where he can hit a lot of irons off the tee,” he said. “It’s not like Winged Foot where you have to hit driver every time. It’s almost link-sy that way. He can keep it in the fairway. It looks like he’s putting well, so I think he’ll be okay.”
Els knows what it takes to win at Oakmont. He did so in 1994 and says the golf course isn’t playing much differently. So maybe Bubba isn’t a simple “also-ran” as everyone - even Bubba - seems to think.
But it might not even be in Bubba’s control with the way Tiger Woods has started out Saturday.
Tiger is en fuego. He can’t miss a fairway and barely missed an eagle and a birdie putt. He could be one back of the lead right now.
It was pretty amazing to see how he’s switched modes starting this morning. In practice rounds, he was pretty casual and joking - on the range and with media. Yesterday, he had toned it down a little but was still a little chipper on the range.
Today on the range, he wasn’t talking with anyone near him - not even his caddie. He wasn’t cracking a smile (did Casey’s 66 awaken him?). Shingo Katayama was hitting balls by him and I wanted to ask Tiger if Nike ever tried to get him to wear those bright, urban-cowboy hats, but thought otherwise at the last minute.
Tiger just barely missed another birdie putt. He’s in the zone. Look out.
Full recaps of today’s action this evening at WorldGolf.com
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