Merion might not have the best list of second-place finishers for a U.S. Open.
The strongest list would have to go to Olympic Club in San Francisco, however. That list features Hogan, Palmer, Watson, Payne Stewart and Graeme McDowell.
TIGER CHANCES: Tiger Woods has now played 16 majors since he last won the 2008 U.S. Open, so he remains four short of matching the record of Jack Nicklaus. Can he do it? Padraig Harrington says there is “no question about it.”
“He only needs to win four more. He’s got plenty of years,” Harrington said. “The weeks he plays well, he wins. Not too many guys can say, `Well, if I play well, I’m winning.’ All he has to do is pick the right week. Clearly, he’s not as good as he was in the past, but he’s going to hit the right week enough times to win four more majors.”
Woods has picked the wrong week so far. He has four wins on the PGA Tour.
“That’s irrelevant,” Harrington said. “He’s going to hit the right week eventually.”
NOT AS EASY AS 1-2-3: Being part of the U.S. Open’s grouping of the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 players draws a big gallery to watch some ordinary golf.
Merion was the fourth time the USGA went with the 1-2-3 pairing, and the second straight time that none of the three broke par while playing together. In fact, Tiger Woods (68 at Torrey Pines), Lee Westwood (68 at Congressional) and Martin Kaymer (70 at Congressional) represent the only rounds under par.
Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott were a collective 6-over at Torrey Pines in 2008. Westwood, Kaymer and Luke Donald were 7-over at Congressional in 2011. The worst was last year at Olympic Club, when Westwood, Donald and Rory McIlroy combined to go 26-over _ only Westwood made the cut.
This year, Woods and McIlroy each shot 3-over, while Scott was at 7-over.
RORY’S ESCORT: The police officer who got Rory McIlroy to the Ryder Cup on time for his singles match at Medinah is moving up. Pat Rollins, the deputy chief of the Lombard Police Department for the last 12 years, is taking over as police chief for the Sugar Grove Police Department.