U.S. Open 2011: News And Notes Leading Up To Golf's Second Major

The tee times and pairings for the 2011 U.S. Open have been announced and the group with all of the world's top three players is the highlight.

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U.S. Open 2011: Graham McDowell Looks To Repeat At Congressional Golf Club

The U.S. Open has been billed as golf's most grueling test, and in recent years, that has meant that the winners are often plucked from obscurity — and returned to it after their victories. Northern Ireland's Graham McDowell, winner of the 2010 U.S. Open, is looking to reverse that trend at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Golf Club beginning on Thursday, but he's not exactly optimistic.

McDowell will be among the first groups to tee off on Thursday, and he shares his U.S. Open tee time with 2010 U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein and 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, so there's a good chance that his group will never need to buy a vowel. McDowell isn't too bullish on their chances of good fortune at Congressional, though, telling British papers that the course is "brutal" and admitting "I am not sure if I can win around it."

McDowell hasn't scored a PGA Tour victory since the 2010 U.S. Open, and made the cut at just one of the three majors since, finishing tied for 23rd at the 2010 British Open.

For more on golf and the 2011 U.S. Open, head over the SB Nation's golf blog Waggle Room.

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US Open 2011: Golf's Most Wide-Open Major In Years?

The 2011 U.S. Open will be without golf's biggest star, as Tiger Woods rehabilitates an injury. And even with Tiger prowling the Congressional Golf Club course, it may have been as wide open a major as golf has seen in years, as the American Foreign Press notes.

Since Padraig Harrington won the 2008 British Open and 2008 PGA Championship in consecutive months, no golfer has won two straight majors. And in that span of nine majors, only Angel Cabrera and Phil Mickelson have added to pre-existing major trophies; a full seven of the last nine major-winners have been first-time victors.

Compare that to Tiger's longest period of dominance, from 2000 to 2006: Woods won 10 of the 28 majors in that span, including four straight from the 2000 U.S. Open to the 2001 Masters, and just two of them came without another major title immediately preceding or following them. Of those 28 majors, a full 18 were won by players with multiple majors: scarcely more than two years has produced more major-winner diversity than six years did at Tiger's apex.

And it's not just Tiger, either: Vijay Singh and Ernie Els, two of the multiple winners in the 2000-2006 range, have fallen from the ranks of the elite, while Phil Mickelson's got as many major championships since 2008 as Woods does.

It's hard to bet on any one player breaking through at Congressional. But betting on the field might not be a bad idea.

For more on golf and the 2011 U.S. Open, head over the SB Nation's golf blog Waggle Room.

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US Open 2011: Tiger Woods' Caddy On The Bag For Adam Scott

For Steve Williams, the 2011 US Open will be a significant break from the norm. After all, Williams is known as Tiger Woods right-hand man, and has been on the bag for the PGA Tour star since 1999. Williams and Woods have been partners in crime, and the two are synonymous with each other on tour. But with Woods sidelined with an injury, Williams will switch bags, and guide Adam Scott around the course at Congressional this weekend.

Scott is in the midst of finding a new caddy, leaving some to wonder whether Williams may be that man. Both Williams and Scott shot-down the notion saying this is a temporary arrangement while Woods is out with an injury. And before Williams took the job, he ran the idea by Woods before accepting it with his blessing.

"Adam and Steve are friends and have been good friends for a while, and Adam asked Steve if he would help him out," said Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent. "Steve then called Tiger. Like any athlete or competitor, Steve doesn't want to miss a major, either."

It wouldn't be a US Open without Williams throwing a camera into a lake or angrily scolding a bustling gallery. And while it can't hurt to have such an experienced man on the bag at Congressional, it's still up to Scott to go out and perform. Williams is there to be a guide, dole-out advice when necessary and serve as a calming influence, something he's learned well working alongside Woods.

Scott, Bubba Watson and Robert Karlsson tee-off from the 10th tee at 8:28 a.m. EDT in the first round of the US Open.

For more on golf and the 2011 U.S. Open, head over the SB Nation's golf blog Waggle Room.

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US Open 2011: 55-Year-Old Fred Funk Looking For One More Chance

Today is Fred Funk's 55th birthday. Thursday, he'll tee off in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club as the oldest participant in the field.

Slightly more than a year-removed from knee-replacement surgery, Funk was emotional when he narrowly qualified for the U.S. Open.

"The first question I get is, 'What does this mean to you?' And I broke down," Funk recalled. "I didn't really expect that because I didn't know I had that kind of feelings, or emotion, in me for that."

Still, the 2009 Senior Open champion isn't just happy to be here.

"I'm not here just to walk two rounds or four rounds and just show up," Funk said.

This marks Funk’s 22nd appearance in a U.S. Open. His best career finish in the tournament was sixth in 2004. He tied for 43rd in 1997, the last year it was held at Congressional.

For more on golf and the 2011 U.S. Open, head over the SB Nation's golf blog Waggle Room.

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U.S. Open 2011 Tee Times, Pairings: World Top Three In Same Group At Congressional

The tee times and pairings are out for the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club, and there are some seriously juicy ones. All three of the top three players in the world will be together in one group, as Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, and Martin Kaymer will all tee off early in the morning from the 10th tee on Thursday. 

For television ratings, putting these three in the same group isn't a bad idea. None of Donald, Westwood, or Kaymer is able to drive ratings by themselves in the United States, but the presence of all three of the top three ranked golfers in the world could be intriguing to casual fans. None of the three would likely to be a headline guy in a group without another star, something which Phil Mickelson can do on his own.

Here are the complete tee times

Thursday hole 1; Friday hole 10

7:00 am -12:40 pm: Daehyun Kim, Chez Reavie, Shane Lowry
7:11 am -12:51 pm: Greg Chalmers, Kirk Triplett, TBD
7:22 am -1:02 pm: Marc Leishman, Alex Cejka, Kevin Streelman
7:33 am -1:13 pm: Fred Funk, David Chung, Michael Campbell
7:44 am -1:24 pm: Matt Kuchar, Paul Casey, K.J. Choi
7:55 am -1:35 pm: Graeme McDowell, Peter Uihlein, Louis Oosthuizen
8:06 am -1:46 pm: Henrik Stenson, Johan Edfors, Fredrik Jacobson
8:17 am -1:57 pm: Ernie Els, Davis Love III, Jim Furyk
8:28 am - 2:08 pm: Justin Rose, Tim Clark, Jason Day
8:39 am - 2:19 pm: Jeff Overton, Ryan Palmer, TBD
8:50 am - 2:30 pm: Brandt Jobe, Nick O'Hern, D.A. Points
9:01 am - 2:41 pm: Christo Greyling, Adam Hadwin, Joey Lamielle
9:12 am - 2:52 pm: Michael Tobiason Jr., Jesse Hutchins, Michael Smith

Thursday hole 10; Friday hole #1

7:00 am -12:40 pm: Chad Campbell, Harrison Frazar, Marc Turnesa
7:11 am -12:51 pm: Justin Hicks, Marcel Siem, Sung-hoon Kang
7:22 am -1:02 pm: Thomas Levet, Brian Gay, Gregory Havret
7:33 am -1:13 pm: Heath Slocum, Russell Henley, Nicolas Colsaerts
7:44 am -1:24 pm: Padraig Harrington, Angel Cabrera, Stewart Cink
7:55 am -1:35 pm: Ryo Ishikawa, Anthony Kim, Y.E. Yang
8:06 am -1:46 pm: Luke Donald, England; Lee Westwood, England; Martin Kaymer, Germany
8:17 am -1:57 pm: Jonathan Byrd, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson
8:28 am - 2:08 pm: Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Robert Karlsson
8:39 am - 2:19 pm: Sam Saunders, Tim Petrovic, Scott Piercy
8:50 am - 2:30 pm: Matthew Edwards, Brad Benjamin, TBD
9:01 am - 2:41 pm: Bud Cauley, Adam Long, Michael Barbosa
9:12 am - 2:52 pm: Michael Whitehead, Will Wilcox, John Ellis

Thursday hole 1; Friday hole 10

12:40 pm - 7:00 am: Ty Tryon, Maarten Lafeber, Scott Barr
12:51 pm - 7:11 am: Geoffrey Sisk, Cheng-Tsung Pan, Matt Richardson
1:02 pm - 7:22 am: Bo Van Pelt, Kyung-Tae Kim, Ben Crane
1:13 pm - 7:33 am: Mark Wilson,Martin Laird, Peter Hanson
1:24 pm - 7:44 am: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Sergio Garcia, Alvaro Quiros
1:35 pm - 7:55 am: Francesco Molinari, Matteo Manassero, Edoardo Molinari
1:46 pm - 8:06 am: Hiroyuki Fujita, Todd Hamilton, Kevin Na
1:57 pm - 8:17 am: Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter, Hunter Mahan
2:08 pm - 8:28 am: Camilo Villegas, Aaron Baddeley, Brandt Snedeker
2:19 pm - 8:39 am: Kevin Chappell, Do-hoon Kim, Robert Rock
2:30 pm - 8:50 am: Jon Mills, Andreas Harto, Scott Pinckney
2:41 pm - 9:01 am: Steven Irwin, Ryan Nelson, Elliot Gealy
2:52 pm - 9:12 am: Christopher Deforest, Chris Williams, Wes Heffernan

Thursday hole 10; Friday hole 1

12:40 pm - 7:00 a.m.: Alexandre Rocha, Andres Gonzales, Bubba Dickerson
12:51 pm - 7:11 am: Michael Putnam, Patrick Cantlay, Robert Dinwiddie
1:02 pm - 7:22 am: John Senden, Robert Garrigus, Scott Hend
1:13 pm - 7:33 am: Jason Dufner, Stephen Gallacher, Seung Yul Noh
1:24 pm - 7:44 am: Steve Stricker, Retief Goosen, David Toms
1:35 pm - 7:55 am: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson
1:46 pm - 8:06 am: Charl Schwartzel, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson
1:57 pm - 8:17 am: Nick Watney, Lucas Glover, Geoff Ogilvy
2:08 pm - 8:28 am: Ryan Moore, Robert Allenby, Rory Sabbatini
2:19 pm - 8:39 am: David Howell, Kenichi Kuboya, Briny Baird
2:30 pm - 8:50 am: Charley Hoffman, Alexander Noren, Sangmoon Bae
2:41 pm - 9:01 am: Brett Patterson, Bennett Blakeman, TBD
2:52 pm - 9:12 am: Chris Wilson, David May, Beau Hossler

For more on golf and the 2011 U.S. Open, head over the SB Nation's golf blog Waggle Room.

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