The Americans may be one-nil up in the Majors this year so far, but as everyone knows, over the past two years no country has won more Majors than Northern Ireland. This, of course, is an astonishing achievement given that the country’s population is a mere two million compared to America’s 314 million.
Last year Rory put the misery of the Masters immediately behind him, romping to the title in record-breaking fashion.
The year before G-Mac stood firm while Dustin Johnson imploded. And since then, big Darren Clarke has finally reaped the rewards of a golfing youth spent on the links with a weather-defying Open victory.
So can any of them keep the tiny country’s remarkable Major record going? It would be hard to make any sort of case for Darren as he’s not actually made a cut yet this year – all his 2012 earnings have come via either matchplay events or ones with no cut – and most importantly he is injured and not playing in the US Open.
Rory’s season may have started incredibly strongly, but since his rapid departure from the Masters leaderboard over the weekend there, something has not been quite right, although he was back to his best until the final six holes last week. But his fairways hit percentage is not high, and that does not bode well for a US Open set-up, with chum G-Mac describing the fairways as ‘single file’ in places on Twitter.
Which brings us on to G-Mac, who could just fare best as the US Open returns to the west coast where he broke his Major duck in 2010. He’s come close to adding two more titles to his CV this year, losing out to Tiger at Bay Hill and Nicolas Colsaerts in the Matchplay. And although he, like Rory, has thrown in a couple of missed cuts of late, one particular stat makes us warm to his chances at The Olympic Club – he has hit more fairways than anyone else on the PGA Tour this year at 73%.
With the USGA almost certainly taking every step possible to ensure no-one does a Rory again this year relative to par, that one stat alone could just see GMac making that single file walk up the last fairway top of the pack once more, ready to reclaim the trophy from his young countryman.