Europe's winning Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley believes the US Open will make interesting viewing — car crash TV for those thirsty for some Chambers Bay gore and glamour. Can Rory McIlroy tip toe through the wreckage? He's got the game to do it but whether he has the patience to avoid temptations and the maturity to shrug off the body blows remain to be seen.
"It's certainly the most difficult major to win. In terms of score, you generally need to aim for a winning score of level par," McGinley told the BeanBagSports Podcast.
"Chambers Bay is going to be a difficult test to what we usually have, almost like a British Open course with huge rolls and undulations on the greens and with different ways and different strategies of playing all the different holes. It will be like a car crash! Guys will make birdies, eagles and then make doubles, triples and quads as well. It will be very exciting tv!"
On Tiger Woods, he said: "He's had a really bad run, and his confidence is obviously down. A good week for Tiger would be a solid top 20 finish and use that as a base going forward. I thought he was going to do that having played so well at Augusta but with missing cuts, he hasn't made progress since. Like everything in this game, it's all about confidence and he doesn't seem to have much of it."
McGjnley believes Jordan Spieth will have a chance because he and his caddie know the course.
"There's never been a professional event there so nobody has real experience. Jordan Spieth's caddy used to caddy there before he used to caddy for Jordan. He'll certainly know the golf course well and be a big help to Jordan this week."
McGinley had yet to jet out of Heathrow when asked about European contenders and with Graeme McDowell lacking form despite that fact that he ticks all the boxes required to do well at Chambers Bay, he feels England's Danny Willett is a player that could do well.
"Danny Willett is certainly a guy I'd keep an eye on," McGinley said. "He's coming through full of confidence and has a good track record on links golf courses. He played well in the Irish Open a few weeks ago and has a very stellar amateur record on links golf courses."
And then there's Phil:
"There's a huge onus on short game so you've got to look for somebody who's really on their short game and also who's patient. I think Phil Mickelson [could win]. It's the only major he hasn't won. He's really motivated to win a US Open and I think if he's going to win on any golf course, this is the one that's really suited to him"
Still, McIlroy is the world No 1 and playing with confidence despite missing his last two cut, as McGinley points out, because he got his schedule wrong.
While he won the WGC-Cadillac Matchplay and Quail Hollow, he could have skipped both or at least one of them and the BMW PGA.
He'll need to show a little more discipline at Chambers Bay where the role of his caddie JP Fitzgerald will be crucial. The stresses of majors bring players and caddies closer together at time but they also exacerbate flaws in a relationship and the number of break ups always rises after a major.
Mcllroy, like his mentor Jack Nicklaus, knows that most of his rivals will beat themselves because it's a major.
Not becoming a victim himself is the key and while he has the advantage of length it will be interesting to see if he can putt well enough to keep the double bogeys off his card and remain in the hunt until Sunday afternoon.
McIlroy is feeling confident and he's got no qualms about missing those cuts at Wentworth or Royal County Down.
"Volatility in golf is actually a good thing," said McIlroy, who starts as favourite at Chambers Bay, with 21-year-old American Spieth second. "If your good weeks are really good, it far outweighs the bad weeks.
"I feel a lot better coming into this tournament than I did going into the last two. The two weeks off helped to refresh the mind a little bit. I had not played five weeks in a row for a long time.
"This is hugely important, a chance to win a second US Open and my fifth major. There was just so much hype and so much attention around Augusta."
Greg Norman reckons McIlroy's mental strength is going to be key, explaining: "His attitude as a person allows him to play the way he does. He'll make a mistake and he'll laugh about it, stand up to it, apologise for it.
"Rory believes in himself. He came back from two very interesting situations in his private life, with his fiancee and the lawsuit, and he managed those extremely well for a young kid. His personality is perfect for what the game of golf needs, and that's why golf is in a fantastic state."
McIlroy said he liked the links-style course at Chambers Bay and that there would be opportunities for players to post under-par rounds.
"This is the sort of golf course that if you're just slightly off, it will magnify that," he added.
“But it will reward people who are hitting good shots and are confident and their short games are sharp."
Darren Clarke knows patience will be key on an eight year old course that has more slopes than Everest.
"There are lots of roll-offs," he said. "One bounce that is a bit too firm and because of the speed of the greens, it rolls maybe one hundred yards back off the green. I like it.... it definitely has the potential to make us look stupid with some of the shots we're going to hit.
"You're going to hit some great shots that aren't going to be rewarded but you may hit one or two that gets a fortuitous bounce and go close.
“Everyone is going to have a few funny ones this week, and it's part and parcel of it."
Shane Lowry will like the short game options at Chambers Bay and if he's putting well, he'll be in the higher echelons of the leaderboard. As for 2010 US Open winner McDowell, he's got the ambition and while his game is undercooked, he's keen.
“Over the last three or four months, I’ve decided that I want more of this stuff," McDowell said. "I want to win more Major Championships. I have the desire back to practise again and work harder, because I love being in contention in the biggest events in the world.
"My win at Pebble in 2010 was amazing for me but I don’t want it to define my career. I’d like to continue defining my career from here onwards.”