Who will win the US Open? Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler to press secretaries Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark

LOS ANGELES – Whose US Open is this? It has already been six full days of the 123rd week of this national championship, but the question lingers. There are possible choices that could be made, but there are still 24 hours and 18 holes before the answer reveals itself.

On Monday, it was assumed that the Los Angeles Country Club would win the week. While it’s firmed up, it’s certainly not the hopping test everyone was expecting. The aura on the grounds couldn’t be more desolate. For a variety of reasons — difficult routing, limited ticket sales, and a city potentially indifferent to the national golf championship — it feels less like a US Open and more like a US amateur tournament. So I’m not sure if it’s the People’s Open.

Does it belong to Rickie Fowler? He is co-leader with Wyndham Clark at 10 Under. According to Caesars Sportsbook, both have the second shortest odds at 14/5. It is not incomprehensible that this could be his tournament. He’s playing great golf in 2023 and did it again on Saturday, feeling the unaccustomed heat of fighting for a Major title as goosebumps broke out across LACC.

After a silly 70-foot birdie putt on the par 13, Fowler narrowly hit on the par 14, bringing the tepid crowd to what was perhaps the loudest volume of the day. He had a chance to finish 12 under this week, three ahead of Rory McIlroy and was clearly in control of the tournament. He missed. After two pars at numbers 16 and 17, he hit the last three in the dark and fell backwards in a tie. It felt like it was his US Open that was ahead of him and then suddenly the door stayed open.

Still, Fowler remains fixated on his first major championship.

“I would say this week is the best I’ve felt all year and definitely in a long time,” he said. “We all get nervous at times, depending on certain shots or circumstances, but I mentioned it [Friday] and then still stand by it. This is the best I’ve ever felt in my career, let alone a regular tournament, but especially a major tournament.

What about Clark? If you’re not familiar with his story, his rise over the past two years has been extraordinary. Clark is now ranked No. 12 in the world, according to Data Golf, making him a likely Ryder Cup player in a sea of ​​them. While his on-track performance earlier this week showed little emotional connection, he may have changed that with a supernatural twist at the end. The US Open brings emotional, mental and physical setbacks over the long span of a week, but Clark stepped squarely into the dwindling and barely-there spotlight at the LACC on Saturday night.

After a bogey at No. 17 dropped Clark to 9 under, it seemed the stage was set for one last pair of Rickie-Rory.

Instead, Clark finished in 18th place by spinning his golf club so hard that a hole went right through his glove and sinking a short putt while moving to 10 under alongside Fowler. The dream pairing in the final suffered a setback, but the golf tournament received an electric shock late in a day marked by a firmer course but one of the softest galleries in recent US Open history.

He dove on the golf course and then shot the USGA. It seems that Clark is not afraid of the moment.

Will McIlroy’s win? For him it was an air raid all week. At 9 under he’s only one down. Rory leads the field with significantly more shots from the tee and is second from tee to green. After a bogey on the par 13th, he hit one of the worst shots you’ve ever seen on the par 15 from just a few feet away – a rotating check cent that he sort of and way Fowler cashed in for a birdie couldn’t.

To him at least, Rory has hardly spoken this week; He did not make himself available for his opinion, as he often does for philosophical reasons. That’s his prerogative, of course, and it seems to be working. As the game’s unofficial bard, he’s revealed so much over the past few years. Keeping things under control when playing so much golf is probably smart and definitely works.

McIlroy’s stiff handling of the media this week was his second-best strategy for setting this golf course on fire with the versatility of Pedro Martinez. He changes speeds, benches the driver, and patiently and confidently plays major championship golf. It would be a fitting conclusion to the last 18 months of madness if Rory the golfer won the day while Rory the leader felt a little let down.

“It’s been so long since I’ve done that,” he said Saturday night. “I’m going out to try and execute a game plan and I feel like I’ve executed that game plan really, really well for the last three days and I just have to do that for one more day.”

McIlroy said something similar at St Andrews last July when he was acting as co-leader after 54 holes on the Old Course. It didn’t end well but winning the Major is all about creating chances and the one Rory faces on Sunday is as good as it’s ever been.

Will Scottie Scheffler get to the top? For 52 holes, the concept didn’t seem to be a success, and then on Saturday Scheffler suddenly played the final 1,006 yards of the course in five shots. An eagle on the 17th and a birdie at the end put him 7 under and into the penultimate pairing with a known opponent. Scheffler puts it great and he got a gift from Fowler via the aforementioned bogey on the 18th point. However, this brought Scheffler up to three points from the lead On his 53rd hole of the week, he was in the middle of the fairway on seven shots. Three is so different from four, and Scheffler could be a rich strike at the 2022 Kentucky Derby. The horses could actually stay behind.

It is unlikely that anyone else will win this US Open. None of the past four US Open winners have won by more than four strokes behind the last 18 holes. according to Justin Ray. Harris English is in fifth place, four behind Fowler and Clark, but his chances seem slim given the purebred competition between him and the frontrunners.

So whose US Open are these?

Although the number has been narrowed down, there is no official count. Anything can happen on Sunday, although it will likely be limited to the four players at the top of the board.

Whose US Open should it be? Would you like to see a golf course take the reins on Sunday and finally prevail in the championship? Would you prefer a hostile takeover of the golf course by a group of fans taking care of it? Do you want Rickie or Rory? Wyndham or Scottie?

Sorting takes place on Sunday. For now, let the joy of mystery linger because the conclusions are satisfying, but for another night in the city of dreams it’s fun to imagine all the possibilities.

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