Every day this week, writers and editors from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine will address one pressing question about the U.S. Open in a daily version of PGA Tour Confidential, our weekly roundtable discussion.
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: A 65 is pretty crazy for a U.S. Open. Do you think it will be the low round for the week, and what do you think the final score will be?
Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: My guess is that if McIlroy stays where he is right now, he wins.
Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: That 65 will stand up. Still think some big numbers are lurking in the weeds at Congo. Even par wins on Father’s Day.
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I’m sure it’ll be lowest. It rained hard after Rory’s group finished, and ordinarily I’d say the greens ought to be soft tomorrow, but with the course’s new sub-air system the USGA can make the greens as hard as they want. I’d say four under wins.
Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: Definitely the lowest. I don’t think it gets much purer than Rory’s round — 17 out of 18 greens, nine out of 14 fairways, 27 putts, no three-putts! I guess the only thing he could have done better was make a few more ten-footers? But let’s not nitpick. Greens were slow(er) and soft(er) today. I say five under wins.
David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: Rory made that 65 look relatively easy today, but I think the scores will go up as the tournament continues. We aren’t expecting any major rain, and the heat is coming this weekend, so I think the tough hole locations and mounting pressure could push the winning score to even or one over, easily.
Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: Nobody’s going lower than McIlroy. Four under should be good for at least a playoff. Can’t wait to see what McIlroy does tomorrow. We all remember St. Andrews last summer. I think he’s going to have a solid round.
Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: That 65 won’t be topped. I think the USGA will make the setups tougher as the week goes along, and the weather could stir things up, too. Rory looks ready to remain in the mix the whole way, but I think even par will still be good enough to win this thing.
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Hard to imagine anyone going lower now that the setup guys are feeling ornery. But more rain is forecast, which could make the course vulnerable. I’ll take -6.
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: The blue-coats giveth and they taketh away. No more 65s. Three under plays off, four under wins, is my guess.
John Garrity, contributing writer, Sports Illustrated: I share everyone’s opinion that something closer to par will win the tournament, but somebody could shoot 65 or better before the weekend is over. They’ve played tougher Open courses, and four guys have posted 63s.