Leave it to the experts

Local golf pros tell you what to expect at the US Open
Jun. 13, 2013 @ 07:06 AM

The 2013 US Open tees off this morning as the world's best golfers take to Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.

Over the next four days the field will dwindle down to one champion and some of Rutherford County's best golf minds have the low-down on how the weekend will go.

From muddy balls to soft greens, three local golf pros have peered into their crystal balls and shared their thoughts on what golfers will prevail and the style of golf viewrs can expect to see at one of the countries oldest golf courses.

Tiger, Rory and Adam Scott make for an interesting group on the opening two days of play, but once the cuts are made before the third round on Saturday, will any of those big three still be in contention?

Will the short course prove to be a disadvantage for stronger players known for the long ball and an advantage for older veterans of the game?

Will wet conditions effect cleanliness of the ball and ultimately shots from the fairway?

Let's leave the guess work to those who know the game best.

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Greg Francis, Assistant Golf Pro — Apple Valley (Rumbling Bald Logo)

What are you most excited to see?

I'm a hue Tiger Woods fan so that's what I'm excited about watching and seeing how he plays. I want to see if he can capture another major and break his streak. I just like watching him chase history.And there's always another story that seems to pop up and someone that you never heard of has a few good days. The Open is always a great tournament because it's so historic. The course is always tough and I love to see the best in the world struggle. Par should be a good score.

How will weather affect the tournament?

The weather will play a big part in it, not because the rain itself, but because of what it's done to the golf course. When you're asked to hit fairways like these guys will have to do, mud will play a huge factor in that. We you get mud on your golf ball you have no idea where it's going.

Prediction?

I'm gonna have to go with Tiger Woods over Lee Westwood. Westwood always seems to play well in The Open but Tiger is the best player in the world.

Terry Osteen, Golf pro — Forest City Golf Club (Forest City Golf Club logo)

What are you most excited to see?

I'm excited to see a tournament on a shorter golf course that gives more players an opportunity to win. Possibly an older veteran could pull it out as long as his nerves hold up because the greens are still going to be really fast. Hopefully it will let a lot of people in the tournament and it won't just be Tiger's tournament to lose.

How will weather affect the tournament?

They seem to be talking about the mud ball a lot. The USGA is pretty hardcore so they won't let them lift, clean and place if they're playing by the true rules of golf. If it's muddy than a mediocre shot could become terrible or a mediocre shot could become pretty good. The greens will still be fast but it will be hard to get them as firm as they like, but the USGA will find a way to make it hard for them on Sunday.

Prediction?

I'm old school and I'm looking for history, but I want Phil [Mickelson] to beat Tiger in sudden death.

Jason Smoak, Golf pro — Rutherford County Golf Club (RCG logo)

What are you most excited to see?

Merion is an old design so the modern technology of golf has made courses longer. It's going to be real interesting to see how its design holds up to the US Open and all these top golfers. Personally I would like the rains to hold off and make the greens get real hard to make it a true test where it's hard to get a good score. I'm a tradionalist and the US Open, to me, par is a good score.