The Reuters global sports blog
This week’s Memorial tournament, an elite PGA Tour event in its own right hosted by golfing great Jack Nicklaus, is sure to offer several pointers toward the likely contenders at this month’s U.S. Open.
Many of the game’s leading players are making their final appearances on the circuit before switching focus to the second major of the year, which takes place at majestic Pebble Beach from June 17-20.
Two of the big guns — world number one Tiger Woods and second-ranked Phil Mickelson – have more than a few question marks hovering over their form at the moment. Woods, whose private life spectacularly unravelled at the end of last year, is returning to the tour after three weeks on the sidelines to defend his title at the Memorial.
The 14-times major winner has not competed since he was forced to withdraw from the final round of last month’s Players Championship in Florida because of neck pain. An inflamed joint made it difficult for Woods to execute his swing and his driving accuracy, never his strongest suit, was woeful in his last outing at the TPC Sawgrass.
As professional tournament golf edges closer to the year-end, several of the younger players can be forgiven for not exactly feeling groovy about their prospects out of the rough once the 2010 season gets underway.
Simon and Garfunkel preached a slower pace to life in their whimsical “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” in 1966 but those uplifting harmonies are unlikely to be of any help to many golfers who miss the fairways next year.