Hoggard: Rory Will Win U.S. Open

McIlroy won his first major at the U.S. Open in 2011, and Rex Hoggard believes the Northern Ireland native will reign supreme in New York

Reiter Than You
June 13, 2018 - 12:46 pm

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It’s that time of the year again, as the 2018 U.S. Open is upon us.

Golf Channel senior writer Rex Hoggard dropped by CBS Sports Radio to preview the tournament, which begins Thursday at Shinnecock Hills Golf Course in Southampton, New York.

Hoggard marveled at the depth of the field, especially relative to previous years.

“I mean, look at the PGA Tour – I just think that there is so much more depth now,” Hoggard said on Reiter Than You. 

Historically, commanding figures such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have dominated the game, but that hasn't been the case in recent years. From Hoggard’s point of view, the modern game has evolved to the point where several different players have had their moment in the spotlight.

“It’s just a different landscape now,” he said on Reiter Than You. “We’re used to seeing this separation at the top – one player being dominant. It was Tiger (Woods) for a long time, but we’ve also seen it with Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and some others.”

This unpredictability is something the sport hasn’t seen in a long time, which can make for lively debates among experts.

“In this particular era, I just think on any given week, we can sit here and talk for 30 minutes, and we can probably both come up with very good arguments on why Dustin Johnson, or Jordan Spieth, or Rory McIlroy could win this week,” Hoggard said.

Indeed, younger golfers have brought fresh blood to an old-fashioned game. Hoggard believes the next generation is blossoming before our eyes, as it combines natural skill with an exceptional understanding of the game.

“Golf is in a very good place,” Hoggard said. “I just think most of the younger players of this generation — Jordan (Spieth), Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy — I think they all have very high golf IQs. By that I mean when you sit and listen to Jordan Spieth talk, he’s very open. You can get an idea on his exact golf process. He puts a lot of thought into things.”

Looking ahead to this weekend, Hoggard predicts that McIlroy, 29, will win the U.S. Open. The Northern Ireland native won first major in this same event in 2011.

“The guy I’ve picked is Rory,” Hoggard said. “He’s won an Open before, and he’s won major championships. When his driver is working, he’s very tough to beat. He’s shown really good form in recent weeks, and I think he’s been building to this. He would probably be my favorite.”