THE BIG 3
Reiterman: One of the best pre-U.S. Open rituals is analyzing the groupings. Last week, we learned that the blazers in Far Hills decided to put Tiger, Phil and Bubba in the same group, no doubt with a little nudge-nudge from their TV partners in Bristol. Since then the common theme I've heard is that this is great for TV, bad for spectators. Was this a good move by the USGA? Do you like these blockbuster groupings?
Herre: Everyone wants a good TV show, especially when it's prime time from the West Coast. I doubt ESPN had anything to do with the pairings.
Dusek: I love groupings like this. I get that fans on-site at Olympic will have a hard time seeing the action with so many people following this group, but guess what: Tiger, Phil and Bubba draw big crowds all the time. I know, this one will be epically big, but I'm dying to see he head-to-head battle within the framework of the U.S. Open. I wish the PGA Tour would pair Tiger and Phil together on Thursday and Friday a few times a year for added buzz.
Herre: Right, David. This will be a fun group to watch. Kudos to the USGA.
Hanger: And the fans at Olympic should have clear sight lines for all the other groups out there.
Bamberger: You don't need groups like this at the Open. It's a gimmick. Spread the wealth.
Rouse: I love to see the big names go against each other. It's never a guarantee that you're going to get the marquee pairing after the cut, so I'm fine with the USGA giving us what we all really want to see on the first two days.
Ritter: I like the big-name grouping and can't wait to see if Phil can extend his recent run of great play when paired with Woods, or if Tiger will flip the script. Folks on site will still find plenty of spots around the hills to see the marquee names. And fans looking to follow the Shane Bertsch/ Martin Flores/ Tommy Biershenk group should have a virtually unobstructed view of the action.
Hack: The threesome is contrived, but so are all TV Shows. This was about ratings first, second and third.
Shipnuck: It's great fun. Having Tiger and Phil together adds a delicious frisson. I also love the Luke-Lee-Rory pairing.
Godich: I'd love to see more of Tiger and Phil in the same group. And I like how they rounded out the group with an eccentric like Bubba. I'll be interested to see how much attention Tiger and Phil give to Bubba and his creative shot-making.
Wei: It's always bad for spectators. If they want a front-row seat, then their couch is the place to be. I always love the U.S. Open groups; they prove the USGA does indeed have a sense of humor.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Do you like the marquee group of Tiger, Phil and Bubba, or would you rather see them split up?
TIGER, PHIL OR BUBBA?
Reiterman: We'll get to your U.S. Open picks in a moment, but first I want to hear your picks for this group. Who's going to have the best score out of Tiger, Phil and Bubba?
Hanger: It's total guesswork, but I don't think Bubba's been playing enough since the Masters to be medalist for this threesome. I'd bet on Tiger after that Memorial showing, although Phil should be plenty well rested after his W/D in Columbus.
Wei: I think Bubba is too busy fending off overzealous fans in late-night car chases.
Bamberger: This is a common British Open betting game. I like Tiger.
Dusek: Tiger, then Phil, then Bubba.
Ritter: Has everyone forgotten what Phil's been doing to Tiger head-to-head lately? Can't get Pebble out of my head for this one. Give me Phil, then Tiger, then Bubba for the first two rounds.
Hack: Ritter's on it. Phil wins, Tiger places and Bubba shows.
Ritter: The only thing Phil didn't do in that final round at Pebble was take Tiger's peanut butter sandwich and eat it in front of him.
Rouse: I think Tiger and Bubba will be pretty close, but I'd give the edge to Tiger, with Phil a few strokes behind them.
Godich: Tiger, and it won't even be close. Phil will have his moments. I'll be surprised if Bubba makes the cut.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Put them in order for the first two rounds: Tiger, Phil and Bubba.