- Associated Press - Monday, June 14, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Masters champion Phil Mickelson has another chance to replace Tiger Woods at No. 1 in the world this week at the U.S. Open, and this might be his best chance yet.

Mickelson can reach No. 1 for the first time in his career by winning at Pebble Beach. But there are more scenarios in Mickelson’s favor.

He would go to No. 1 by finishing runner-up as long as Woods finishes out of the top four. Mickelson could finish third at the U.S. Open and go to No. 1 if Woods were to finish out of the top 18.


If Woods misses the cut, Mickelson would need no worse than a two-way tie for third.

Woods has been No. 1 for the last five years.

 

 

 

A capsule look at 20 notable players in the U.S. Open, to be played June 17-20 at Pebble Beach Golf Links:

 

THE ENCORES

 

TIGER WOODS

Age: 34.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 1.

Worldwide victories: 82.

Majors: Masters (4), U.S. Open (3), British Open (3), PGA Championship (4).

Birdie: His 15-shot victory at Pebble Beach in the 2000 U.S. Open is considered the greatest feat in a single major.

Bogey: He was at peace with himself and with his game in the 2000 U.S. Open. He is at peace with neither at the moment.

 

LUCAS GLOVER

Age: 30.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 20.

Worldwide victories: 2.

Majors: U.S. Open (1).

Birdie: At least he knows he can win a major, delivering key shots with Phil Mickelson on his heels and the entire state of New York pulling for Lefty at Bethpage last year.

Bogey: The last back-to-back U.S. Open champion was Curtis Strange in 1989. Before that it was Ben Hogan in 1951.

 

DUSTIN JOHNSON

Age: 25.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 28.

Worldwide victories: 3.

Majors: None.

Birdie: Has won the last two tournaments at Pebble Beach.

Bogey: Has not cracked the top 40 in the two U.S. Opens he has played.

 

SEEKING A MISSING LINK

 

PHIL MICKELSON

Age: 40 (on Wednesday of the U.S. Open).

Country: United States.

World ranking: 2.

Worldwide victories: 40.

Majors: Masters (2), PGA Championship (1).

Birdie: With a record five runner-up finishes, no one has wanted a U.S. Open this badly since Sam Snead.

Bogey: Five runner-up finishes means a lot of baggage to carry around the U.S. Open.

 

PADRAIG HARRINGTON

Age: 38.

Country: Ireland.

World ranking: 14.

Worldwide victories: 21.

Majors: British Open (2), PGA Championship (1).

Birdie: Get him to the back nine of a major, and he’s as dangerous as anyone in golf.

Bogey: Hasn’t won a recognized tournament since his last major at Oakland Hills in 2008.

 

VIJAY SINGH

Age: 47.

Country: Fiji.

World ranking: 61.

Worldwide victories: 56.

Majors: Masters (1), PGA Championship (2).

Birdie: Playing in his 64th consecutive major, the longest active streak in golf.

Bogey: Playing so poorly over the last two years that he needed a special exemption to get into Pebble Beach.

 

BEST WITHOUT A MAJOR

 

LEE WESTWOOD

Age: 37.

Country: England.

World ranking: 3.

Worldwide victories: 30.

Majors: None.

Birdie: Has finished no worse than third in the last three majors.

Bogey: Missed putts inside 15 feet the two times he had a chance to get into a playoff at a major.

 

STEVE STRICKER

Age: 43.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 4.

Worldwide victories: 7.

Majors: None.

Birdie: Has been in contention twice in the last four years at the U.S. Open on the strength of being one of golf’s best putters.

Bogey: Will be playing on some of the bumpiest greens for a U.S. Open.

 

ADAM SCOTT

Age: 29.

Country: Australia.

World ranking: 43.

Worldwide victories: 17.

Majors: None.

Birdie: Has won twice in the last six months as he climbs out of a slump.

Bogey: Tied for 52nd at Pebble Beach in February, his first time playing the course since the 1999 U.S. Amateur.

 

SERGIO GARCIA

Age: 30.

Country: Spain.

World ranking: 37.

Worldwide victories: 19.

Majors: None.

Birdie: Has been contending in majors since he was 19.

Bogey: Has not been able to win a tournament in two years.

 

HOT HANDS

 

ERNIE ELS

Age: 40.

Country: South Africa.

World ranking: 7.

Worldwide victories: 62.

Majors: U.S. Open (2), British Open (1).

Birdie: Finished runner-up the last time the U.S. Open was at Pebble Beach.

Bogey: Finished 15 shots behind Tiger Woods the last time U.S. Open was at Pebble Beach.

 

JIM FURYK

Age: 40.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 5.

Worldwide victories: 15.

Majors: U.S. Open (1).

Birdie: Until this year, had never won multiple times on the PGA Tour before the U.S. Open.

Bogey: His last time in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, he shot 84 in the third round and finished his final round before breakfast.

 

IAN POULTER

Age: 34.

Country: England.

World ranking: 6.

Worldwide victories: 9.

Majors: None.

Birdie: His short game should be a good fit for any U.S. Open.

Bogey: The U.S. Open is the only major in which he doesn’t have a top-10.

 

ROBERT ALLENBY

Age: 38.

Country: Australia.

World ranking: 13.

Worldwide victories: 22.

Majors: None.

Birdie: For the most part, has been on top of his game striking the ball since November, held back only by his putting.

Bogey: You have to putt well to win the U.S. Open.

 

RORY McILROY

Age: 21.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World ranking: 10.

Worldwide victories: 2.

Majors: None.

Birdie: Winning at Quail Hollow is strong. Winning at Quail Hollow with a 62 in the final round is special.

Bogey: Followed that incredible win at Quail Hollow with a missed cut. Consistency still lacking.

 

OPEN CATEGORY

 

ANGEL CABRERA

Age: 40.

Country: Argentina.

World ranking: 30.

Worldwide victories: 19.

Majors: Masters (1), U.S. Open (1).

Birdie: A streaky two-time major winner, won his U.S. Open on greens reputed to be the fastest in golf.

Bogey: Pebble Beach has some of the smallest greens of a U.S. Open.

 

GEOFF OGILVY

Age: 33.

Country: Australia.

World ranking: 18.

Worldwide victories: 8.

Majors: U.S. Open (1).

Birdie: His only victory this year (Kapalua) offered splendid views of the Pacific Ocean.

Bogey: There were only 27 other players at Kapalua, and the fairways were 80 yards wide.

 

STEWART CINK

Age: 37.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 27.

Worldwide victories: 6.

Majors: British Open (1).

Birdie: He tied for eighth in the last U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Bogey: Hasn’t finished eighth or better in stroke play all year.

 

LONG SHOT

 

DAVID DUVAL

Age: 38.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 138.

Worldwide victories: 14.

Majors: British Open (1).

Birdie: Qualified for this U.S. Open with an out-of-nowhere runner-up finish at Bethpage Black.

Bogey: In final event before U.S. Open, shot 79-79 at the Memorial.

 

SENTIMENTAL FAVORITE

 

TOM WATSON

Age: 60

Country: United States.

World ranking: 125.

Worldwide victories: 43.

Majors: Masters (2), U.S. Open (1), British Open (5).

Birdie: The only player to compete in every U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, including his victory in 1982.

Bogey: Didn’t break par in any of the four rounds in 2000 U.S. Open when he was only 50.