First installment And The Winner Is ---------- http://www.usopen.com/en_US/news/articles/2008-05-29/200805291212084350195.html By Phillip Howley Now that the PGA Tour has reached an approximate halfway point in the season, now that the Masters Tournament and The Players Championship – aka the “fifth major” – have provided major championship clarity, now that battle lines have been drawn and patterns established, it is time. Time, that is, to look ahead to Torrey Pines Golf Course, look ahead to the USGA’s second oldest championship – the first U.S. Amateur was conducted a day earlier in 1895 – and ask the question: Who do you like to win the U.S. Open? Here is the skinny on 20 candidates. Tiger Woods - The two-time U.S. Open winner may need a “simulated game” before Torrey Pines. Last time he played in the national championship after a long layoff - 2006 - Woods missed the cut by three strokes. That’s the only time he’s been cut at a major in his professional career. Angel Cabrera - Seems unlikely Jackie Gleason could win the U.S. Open two years in succession. A repeat champion hasn’t happened since Curtis Strange doubled up in 1988-89. The honeymoon(ers) might be over for the Argentinean. Phil Mickelson – Torrey Pines is terra firma for Lefty, where he grew up, where he has succeeded in the past. Perhaps the home cooking will be chicken soup for his Winged Foot-tortured, U.S. Open soul. Sergio Garcia – His work with Stan Utley has improved his putting stroke, as he demonstrated with several clutch rolls to win The Players Championship. Perhaps “El Nino” is ready for a first major, perhaps a European will win for the first time since Britain’s Tony Jacklin in 1970. John Daly - No shirt, no shoes, no Open. THAT WAS PAINFUL TO SEE!!! :icon_eek::icon_eek::icon_eek: Boo Weekley – His name is one San Diego Padres fans can appreciate, which will make Weekley a gallery favorite at Torrey Pines. :icon_rofl::icon_rofl::icon_rofl: Adam Scott - This is, after all, the year of the 20-somethings. Considered a budding star for several seasons, the 27-year old Aussie is among nine players in their 20s with PGA Tour wins this season. Provided he doesn’t run low on dilithium crystals, Mr. Scott could keep the trend going. Trevor Immelman - The 28-year-old Masters winner already has a USGA championship at Torrey Pines to his credit – the 1998 U.S. Public Links. J.B. Holmes – Long-hitting Holmes is making a strong bid to make the Ryder Cup team. The U.S. Open title would seal the deal. Anthony Kim - Some are suggesting the 22-year old Wachovia Championship winner might be the next Tiger Woods. Won’t believe it until he bungee jumps and undergoes multiple knee surgeries … and wins a major. Stewart Cink - He’s having a terrific season, with six top-10 finishes. If not for a 2-foot miss on the 72nd hole at Southern Hills in 2001, he might have “U.S. Open champion” on the resume. Ernie Els - “Big Easy” is now 11 years removed from his second U.S. Open triumph (1997). His win at the Honda Classic earlier in the year, and a tie for sixth at The Players, suggests he still is a threat. Ryuji Imada - Could become the first Scrabble word to win the U.S. Open title. Padraig Harrington – Became the first Irishman to win the British Open in 60 years last summer. And as they say on the Emerald Isle, “Here’s to a long life, and a merry one; a quick death, and an easy one; a pretty girl, and an honest one; an open championship – and another one.” K.J. Choi – Has never had a top-10 finish in the U.S. Open or in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines. So, while he may look like a U.S. Open contender to some, he’s Choi to the fishes in the deep blue sea, Choi to you and me. Retief Goosen – Has two U.S. Opens (2001, 2004) to his credit, but it hasn’t been happening lately. He is statistically out of the top-100 in Driving Distance, Driving Accuracy, Putting and Greens in Regulation on the PGA Green. That’s not good for the “Goose,” or the gander. Geoff Ogilvy – It’s been an up-and-down year for the 2004 U.S. Open champ. He won the WGC CA Championship but has four missed cuts, including the Buick Invitational and, more recently, The Players Championship. Rory Sabbatini – The diminutive South African has replaced Ian Woosnam as the Best Member of the Lollipop Guild to Never Win An Open Championship. Sabbatini has not been noticeable lately, but he tied for third in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines back in January. Vijay Singh – His three major wins do not include a U.S. Open. He will be 45 years and nearly four months of age when they tee off at Torrey Pines, which is older than Hale Irwin was when he won at age 45 in 1990. Still, you know what they say: it’s not over until the Vijay Singh. Jim Furyk – With a slow start to 2008, it looked like his game had been shot. But hell hath no Furyk like the U.S. Open. The 2003 champ, Furyk has tied for second in each of the last two nationals.