Where does Rory go from here?
We’ve got together to ask each other the pressing questions following the second round of the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills.
In this edition Keel Timmins, James Savage, Dan Murphy and Mark Townsend take to the tee to discuss how many DJ might win by, which English star might prosper over the weekend, which US Open venue we’d love to tackle, and what the future holds for Rory McIlroy…
Keel: Dustin Johnson is now the odds-on favourite – but do you think he wins? Or will one of the chasing pack close him down?
Dan: It feels to me like he is going to move steadily away from the field. There is no obvious low number out there so it’s going to be really hard to make a charge. I can’t see DJ going backwards. The only way to catch him is through attritional golf over the weekend. I can’t quite see who’s going to do that at the moment.
Mark: He’s looked almost perfect so far and he’s the in-form player but we all get so carried away with first and second-round leaders and the final leaderboard is often unrecognisable from the one at this stage. If there’s one course on this planet where you can go backwards then it’s here, the hard part is trying to make up ground. I’ll say no in the hope that Stenson hunts him down. If that happened it would be tremendous.
James: The way he’s striking the ball and the way he’s thinking his way around this course is bad news for the rest of the field. He’s consciously trying to make sure he doesn’t make a double bogey when out of position. I’m not sure that was part of his game back in 2010. The field’s best hope is one disaster hole. If he keeps that off his card then he wins comfortably for me.
Dan: There are several Englishmen well placed at the halfway stage. Which one will finish highest and can you give me an English pair who you think will play together in September’s Ryder Cup?
Mark: Fleetwood will hopefully finish above the others. He and Rose looked the obvious ones to play well this week and they’ve come up trumps. Rose and Poulter went 2/2 at Medinah and haven’t been seen since so they might get another go at some point when Rose/Stenson aren’t involved. Poulter and Hatton would be an entertaining fourball (this is based on them sharing a joke). Fleetwood looks to be a dream partner in either format, he and Rory would be just lovely.
James: Can’t see past Rose here. I think he’d make a pretty decent paring with Matt Fitzpatrick who I fully expect to be in Thomas Bjorn’s team. Both are cool, calm customers who probably help old ladies cross the road in their spare time.
Keel: Considering I picked Justin Rose to win and Tommy Fleetwood as my outsider, I’m hoping for the 1-2. Ian Poulter is looking particularly comfortable though and I can’t think of many players I’d like to see win a major more than Poults – he certainly deserves one.
As for a partnership, Poulter could take the Ryder Cup rookie Fleetwood under his wing. The fiery nature of Poulter could dovetail perfectly with the laid-back Southport man.
Which US Open course would you like to play? And what does the future hold for McIlroy? Fourball continues on the next page…