One of the most exciting dates in the sporting calendar is without doubt the US Open, with the best golfers in the world doing battle for one of the most prestigious titles in the sport.
Just ask Graeme McDowell how much his life has changed since winning the tournament last year. Despite a recent dip in form, he has become one of the most respected golfers around and played a major part in Europe’s Ryder Cup win last year.
As for this year’s tournament, it is likely to be one of the most competitive ever. Taking place on the 17th June 2011 at Shinnecock Hills, there are a large group of players that will be aiming to emerge victorious, led by a man you may have heard of.
Tiger Woods is the favourite to become 2011 US Open Champion and it would be the biggest indication yet that he is back to his best if he is able to achieve it.
His problems have been very well publicised and it has been a difficult time for him on the golf course, but he looked dangerously close to his best at the Masters last month and it would be typical of the man if he peaked just in time for the US Open.
Woods is closely followed in the betting lists by fellow American Phil Mickelson. Home advantage can have a significant impact in major tournaments after all and the American crowd will be firmly behind the two front runners.
The next group of contenders has a very European look to it though. Current No.1 Lee Westwood is determined to win the first major title of his career and he follows Woods and Mickelson as the third favourite.
Looking to put his final round at the Masters behind him, Northern Ireland’s Rory Mcllory is the next contender. He has proven that he can compete with the best players in the world; it is just a case of holding his nerve when it counts.
Englishman Luke Donald is also in with a shot. Along with fellow contender Martin Kaymer, he is arguably the form player of the moment. Both he and Kaymer are a very significant part of the chasing pack, that’s for sure.
As ever with golf though, the winner can come from anywhere and it is worth taking a punt on one of the outsiders. Who predicted Charl Schwartzel to win the Masters after all?
So, even though Woods and Mickelson will be the favourites, along with the most in form European players, who can rule out Dustin Johnson, Anthony Kim or even last year’s Champion McDowell?
It is without doubt going to be a fascinating tournament with all eyes on Mr Woods as we get underway on 17th June 2011.