US Open officials desperate for smooth tournament

Tiger Woods: There is no rush to beat Jack Nicklaus' major haul - I might have 10 years left in me

Tiger Woods' comeback is great for the golf business

"I had a chat with Johnny Miller at the champions dinner and he said if you look at the history of major championships, that first round is so important", said McIlroy, who started the 2011 US Open, 2012 US PGA, 2014 Open and 2014 US PGA with rounds of 65, 67, 66 and 66 respectively.

Attention has rightly been placed upon two-time defending Brooks Koepka, who is seeking history, former victor Dustin Johnson, the great Tiger Woods, returning to the site of his most dominant triumph, and the in-form Rory McIlroy.

Then, in 2010, Graeme McDowell joined that exclusive list. Only Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen have done that.

Those who know Pebble Beach, though, know that it favors repeats, like a fine wine known for consistent finishes.

"We feel good about what you see on the golf course and what we're going to present to the players as a tough but true test". McIlroy has missed the cut in each of the last three US Opens and hasn't enjoyed outings at Pebble Beach much before.

Winning another major may not yet be in his immediate radar, but Kaymer is returning to his best, and that makes him a potential factor in the biggest events. You go back - there's a commercial ran now where I'm not even in it, and FOX put it up for a preview of the U.S. Open. "If I play OK here, I'm going to have a chance'". "You look at the guys that have won here and they are some of the greatest players to have played the game". In the past, I've liked to just do the majors on their own, but for getting game-ready and in a better place for scoring, I think a couple in a row might help that.

In addition to routine high-finishers Johnson and Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker are solid top-ten finishers at the AT&T each February.

"I actually didn't see it for a long time", Koepka said, although it is worth pointing out he is in three out of four of the promos. You guys tell me. The two exceptions were T21 at The Masters and a missed cut at the Memorial.

"As the coach and the player are trying to get something to feel right, especially before a major, our job is to make sure the body and the nervous system understand how to ingrain that without over-thinking", he added.

Diovisalvi uses the example of England's Tommy Fleetwood, who finished runner-up at the US Open previous year and is ranked 18th in the world despite his relatively smaller stature. Some hailed it as the greatest comeback in all of sports.

Johnson is second in the world rankings and sits just behind Brooks Koepka, who has the best odds in the field (15-1) and has won the last two U.S. Opens.

"Everybody has got to play the same golf course", said Koepka, who is coming off his fourth major triumph at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black last month.

I find it impossible to leave him off the shortlist, and the fact William Hill go 14/1 makes him well worth an each-way flutter.

Players have offered glowing practice-round reviews of the course this week.

The Offaly man was tipped in Canada last week and duly finished joint-second to McIlroy to record a third successive top-10, after an eighth at the PGA and third at the RBC Heritage.

The USGA would not confirm the name of the player but according to a report on the distressed golfer was 30-year-old Mid-American champion O'Connell. So they're not playing good enough.

The US Open swings into action at Pebble Beach with a number of players looking for a major win.

"The longer Tiger stays in the hunt, the more the old Tiger comes out". Hot off a scintillating nine-under 61 in the final round at the Canadian Open, he lifted the trophy in a seven-shot victory.

He put in a bogey-free round under pressure then and his patient approach may serve him well again.

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