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Tour Confidential: Will Phil Mickelson finally win the U.S. Open? Plus, contenders and dark horses, and the Tiger Woods void

Pinehurst No. 2
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The green on the par-5 hole at Pinehurst No. 2.

5. For the first time ever, the U.S. Open will be played on a course with no rough. Barring severe weather, does this mean we’ll have an atypical U.S. Open winning score – significantly under par -- or do you expect to see a typical U.S. Open winning score – somewhere around par or a little under?

VAN SICKLE: If the winning score isn't under par at an Open, that course has either been overly tricked up or subject to unusual weather conditions. These guys are that good, they should shoot under par. I think under par wins at Pinehurst.

SHIPNUCK: I think 6 under wins it, which is definitely atypical.

RITTER: In 1999, the winning score at Pinehurst was one under. In 2005, it was even par. Last week, Rory McIlroy told me that he won't fire at a single pin all week -- his plan is to hit it to the center of every green and two-putt. Add it all together, and even par feels like another winner this week.

GODICH: Remember how worried everybody was at this time last year, how little old Merion was going to be defenseless? How'd that work out? It's the U.S. Open.

BAMBERGER: First off, I LOVE the idea of no rough. A course doesn't need rough, at all. Some of the great links land courses would be hugely more fun if -- oh, the sacrilege -- they'd go in there with sheep and mowers and CUT IT DOWN. The lack of rough will have almost no impact on scoring, as the greens will be so hard, in every sense. Five under, if there's not rain, will win by at least a shot. (Note: I am almost always wrong about these bold statements.)

PASSOV: Even with rain, the sandy subsoil and superb drainage will let No. 2 play like No. 2. However, to play as it should in its newly restored incarnation, it needs to be crispy, especially on the edges, where the extra roll out will cause all sorts of havoc. If they can keep it dry, scores will hover around par. If it's soft, the lads will go low, due to the extra width.

SENS: The winning scores at Pinehurst in 1999 was 1 over. In 2005, it was even par. The prime defense at Pinehurst has always been its greens, and that's still the case. Given those crowned surfaces, the USGA won't have any problem protecting par, which it always seems intent on doing.

6. Fox Sports is taking over the U.S Open from NBC Sports in 2015, so this will likely be our last U.S. Open with Johnny Miller on the mic. How much will you miss Miller next year?

BAMBERGER: Johnny Miller is the voice of the U.S. Open. It is actually a lesser event without him. Fox could bring in Tom Watson, or maybe Curtis Strange, and that would be a good thing. But nobody is replacing Johnny.

VAN SICKLE: Miller will be badly missed. The only two golf analysts who even remind you remotely of Johnny are Brandel Chamblee and Paul Azinger, neither of whom has the top job in the tower at 18 for any network. Miller's departure will leave a definite void of objectivity.

GODICH: I appreciate and look forward to Johnny's candidness. He'll be sorely missed. As will the best broadcast team in golf.

PASSOV: Johnny Miller will be hugely missed from U.S. Open telecasts. Sure, he defaults to some of the same commentary and analysis at times, but nobody was better prepared, or could break down swings as to what went wrong, or be as on-the-spot candid as Johnny, and for this jaded viewer, that was very much appreciated. As with my favorite football analyst John Madden, I'm partial to the guys that can and do predict what's going to happen before it happens. That adds real insight and color to my experience as a viewer -- and isn't that what we want? Sad to see you go, Johnny!

RITTER: I think Norman will be a good analyst for Fox, but there's no one else in sports like Johnny. I'll miss him.

SENS: A lot. He's my favorite guy to listen to. He might not always be right but he's consistently interesting. In an age of bromides, he's not afraid to administer a few bitter pills. Polarizing, of course, but the fact that so many people feel strongly about him one way or the other is a sign that he's doing his job well.

SHIPNUCK: Terribly. Have you ever heard about the 63 he shot at Oakmont?

The Tour Confidential roundtable continues Monday on our new weekly show hosted by Jessica Marksbury. Tweet her your questions @Jess_Marksbury.

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