G-Mac Back to Defend US Open Crown Live on Sky Sports HD2
On Thursday the toughest tournament challenge in golf, The U.S. Open, returns to The Congressional Country Club course at Bethesda, Maryland for the first time since 1997. Back then, ‘The Big Easy’, South African Ernie Els, beat off stiff competition from perennial major bridesmaid, Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie. Come Sunday evening though, it will be another British golfer who will be hoping to make the headlines, as Portrush native Graeme McDowell bids to retain the title he won at Pebble Beach a year ago. G-Mac, as he is known to his brigade of adoring, and due to honing his game as a youth in the college golf system at The University of Alabama, predominately American fans, will be aiming to become the first British golfer to retain the US Open crown since the war. In doing so McDowell, 31, would also become the first non-American to accomplish the feat with the only two previous double-champions post 1945, being the legends Ben Hogan and Curtis Strange.
If you want full coverage of the US Open you’ll need Sky Sports 2, and you have a number of choices of provider for this. Here’s a brief overview of where you can get Sky Sports 2 in standard and high definition before we carry on with the post below…
Sky Digital – You can add Sky Sports 1 or Sky Sports 2 to a Sky broadband, TV and phone package individually or add the complete pack with 1, 2, 3 and 4 and Sky Sports News. All of these channels are also available in HD
Virgin Media – You can add Sky Sports 1 or 2 or the Virgin Sky Sports Collection to a TV, broadband and phone bundle or take one of Virgin’s sports bundles – Followers, Fans and Fanatics. These combine TV with phone but don’t include broadband. HD Sky Sports on Virgin Media – 1 and 2 are available in HD but not 3 and 4.
BT Vision – Add Sky Sports 1 or 2 or both to your BT TV, Broadband and Calls package for an extra monthly fee and a one-off £10 charge for the viewing card (it comes through Freeview so you need to check reception first on this page here). Sky Sports on BT Vision – not available in HD.
Top Up TV – You can get Sky Sports 1 and 2 through Freeview via Top Up TV in much the same way as BT Vision except there is just a one-month minimum contract, which makes it a good option for someone who just wants to watch it for a short time. £20 connection fee applies, no HD.
Back to the golf talk…
The Northern Irishman is playing good golf at the moment too and he is certainly in a swollen group of players who can contest in Maryland this week. Nevertheless, as G-Mac himself knows, his task will not be an easy one. Not only is it rare to retain the title at this tournament due to the calibre of opposition, but McDowell himself admits the set-up this week at The Congressional is “brutal”, meaning one bad hole can end your tournament chances.
The world number 7 will tee it up alongside reigning Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and the world’s top ranked amateur golfer, Massachusetts born Peter Uihlein. The absence of Tiger Woods due to injury will be disappointing for much of the crowd, but there are plenty of other talented golfers on show and the undoubted three-ball of the week is composed of world number one, two and three. For the first time this year, the three leading Europeans are the three leaders on the world-stage. Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer will line up as players that have all reached the summit of the game in the past 12 months, and they will tee off together for the first two rounds. The galleries following this group should be huge and the quality of golf and competition, will be no less impressive.
However, the real challenge at The U.S. Open is always with the course and not with an opponent. Ignore the dangers and savageness of the set-up at this tournament at your peril and the numbers can easily become astronomical, with double figure scores on individual holes not being out of the question.
Perhaps it’s that leveller which means the golf always makes for exciting viewing at this event and it probably will bring more of the field into contention when the fourth round arrives. Though all fans of the game rejoice in seeing their heroes play ingenious golf shots on the biggest stage, there is also a heady satisfaction garnered from witnessing the very humanity, in these titans of the game, which you formerly thought was not theirs to exhibit. Is there any greater joy seeing Tiger Woods with a ‘steepling’ 3-iron from the rough 220-yards from its target and landing it 5-feet from the hole? Perhaps, on the odd occasion, seeing him shank one into scrubland might just about beat it. Maybe he’s not superhuman after all we may think. But then again, if any club standard player were to take on The Congressional Country Club this week, the scores would be higher than Pete Doherty at a heroine convention.
The challenge that awaits the world’s elite this week is not one for the faint-hearted. The scores might be stratospheric and we may see a few complaints from some of those players who suffer the extreme severity of the thick rough, speedy greens and lengthened holes, as well as any inclement weather that may appear; but what is sure, is that anyone with even a basic interest in the sport, cannot fail to be entertained this week. The U.S. Open is most certainly on the annual sporting bucket-list. This, quite simply, is a must!
All is nearly ready for one of the greatest events on the American sporting calendar and Sky Sports HD2 is the only place to watch all the drama unfold, and we’ll see if Graeme McDowell can etch his name deeper into ‘majors’ history.