It’s not easy being the defending champion
The last time a player defended a US Open crown was in 1989 when Curtis Strange beat Chip Beck and Ian Woosnam by a shot at Oak Hill.
So the omens don’t look overly promising for Simpson although Merion is his ‘favourite course anywhere’ and his form has been perfectly good following his win at the Olympic Club.
He says that the key, for him, to winning a US Open was not to look at the leaderboards. In regular weeks he would do, given the nature of the scoring most weeks, but at a US Open things are different and a more patient approach is required.
“To try to make a birdie is almost impossible. You have to remain patient all day,” he said.
“I wasn’t leaderboard focused, I wasn’t thinking about my position, I was just trying to remain patient and take one hole at a time and I think that’s what I’ll try to do at Merion.”
This should be a rare week for the accurate
In our course guide with the 2005 US Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari, he says that someone who hits a lot of fairways and greens will fare well.
The rough will be particularly thick on the shorter par 4s so the premium to find the short stuff will be paramount.
Players of interest from the PGA Tour stats for driving accuracy are; Stenson (2nd), McDowell (5th), Furyk (8th), Snedeker (11th), Dufner (13th) and Stricker (16th). McIlroy and Woods are 117th and 129th respectively.
The Greens In Regulation stats offer further encouragement for Stenson (1st) while the likes of Stricker (2nd,) Rose (11th) and Snedeker (13th) might also be worth a watch. Here Rory is 5th and Woods (31st).
Adam Scott can show that he will become a serial Major champion
There is all manner of hype at the Masters given the eight-month break away from Major golf.
Adam Scott had much to ponder at the end of last year yet found all the answers at Augusta in his thrilling play-off win over Angel Cabrera.
The Australian has very little in terms of US Open form, with six missed cuts in the last 11 years and a best of T15 last year, but he will arrive in Pennsylvania with a Green Jacket in the wardrobe and a very different attitude to life.
Scott is still only 32 and, from having an ordinary Major record, he now looks to be a genuine favourite. In his last nine Majors he has one missed cut, otherwise his worst effort is 25th.
No Australian had won the Masters previously. The US Open has two winners from Down Under, Geoff Ogilvy in 2006 and David Graham at Merion the last time the Open came here in 1981.