THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
GOLF: 115th U.S. OPEN
Details/TV: At Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Wash., Thursday-Sunday, Fox Sports 1, Channel 11:
There are some, like non-U.S. Open winner Phil Mickelson, who say they are pumped up by playing this Northwest gem off Puget Sound near Tacoma, a links-style track designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., that looks camera-friendly and down-right nasty. The later part is why others aren’t so complimentary.
Deal with it, says Greg Norman, the World Golf Hall of Famer whose best U.S. Open finishes were as a runner-up in 1984 at Winged Foot and 1995 at Shinnecock.
“The reaction is nothing different than any other major championship,” said Norman, part of Fox’s new broadcast team for this major. “When you go into it as a player, you either like the set-up or you don’t. The attitude that Phil Mickelson has is the right attitude to take. You have to go in with no white noise going through your head saying, ‘I don’t like this course because I don’t know how to play it.’ That white noise is going to be detraction to you, and you won’t perform well. So I know Phil has done his homework extremely well around there.” There is probably not enough time for everyone to get their reps in before the first round begins at 8 a.m. Thursday. Especially for those who have had to scramble to make it in by playing qualifiers. “Can they do 100 percent of their homework?” Norman asked. “No, they cannot because they don’t know the way the course is going to be set up by the USGA executive committee, which is part of the great theater that we’re going to have up there. Every day is going to be a different day. The USGA is getting exactly what they wanted, weather-wise, by choosing Chambers Bay. Phil Mickelson has a really good chance of hoisting a U.S. Open trophy because Chambers Bay will suit him.”
The irony is that Mickelson’s design company was one of the five finalists interviewed to create the course back in 2004, before Jones’ company won it. Construction began in January 2006, and less than eight months after the course opened in 2007, the USGA announced that it would have the 2010 U.S. Amateur as well as this 2015 U.S. Open played there. Since Chambers Bay becomes the youngest course to be awarded the Open, perhaps youth will be served if someone like Rickey Fowler or Jordan Spieth rise to the top of the leaderboard. Rory McIlroy comes in as the 5/1 favorite on Bovada.lv, with Spieth at 7/1, Fowler at 18/1, Michelson at 20/1 and Tiger Woods, who was 14 over in his last event at the Memorial, at 33/1.
Seriously, what could better suit the golf gods on Father’s Day other than to see Mickelson surrounded by his daughters on the 18th green?
The first two rounds Thursday and Friday are on FS1 (6 a.m.-to-2 p.m.) and Channel 11 (2-to-5 p.m.), the third round Saturday is on Channel 11 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the final round is Sunday on Channel 11 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Also: Fox prepares for its first U.S. Open golf coverage.
NBA FINALS: CLEVELAND VS. GOLDEN STATE
Details/TV: Game 6: At Cleveland, Tuesday at 6 p.m., Channel 7:
Through the first four games, the series had become the most-watched and highest-rated ever on ABC, which has been doing this event since 2002-03. Nearly 20 million were part of the Nielsen monitoring of Game 4, which doesn’t include dorm rooms, restaurants, bars, those watching on portable devices or those who intoxicated by the “LeBron Mix” special edition of Sprite, which are going for as much as $20 a pop on eBay.com (returns not accepted, it does say in the fine print).
Also: Game 7 if necessary is at Oakland, Friday at 6 p.m., Channel 7
MLB: DODGERS vs. SAN FRANCISCO
Details/TV: At Dodger Stadium, Friday-Sunday, SportsNet LA, ESPN:
This is the last set of games with the Giants, who have seven of the previous nine, until the end of August/early September. As things line up, Giants rookie Chris Heston, who threw a no-hitter in New York last week, is scheduled to pitch the opening game on Friday. Neither Zack Greinke, 6-0 with a 2.28 ERA in eight career starts against the Giants, nor Clayton Kershaw are scheduled to throw, so the Giants get the bottom three of the Dodgers’ rotation. And the Dodgers miss Madison Bumgarner.
Friday’s game is at 7:10 p.m. (SNLA), Saturday at 4:15 p.m. (SNLA) and Sunday’s 5:08 p.m. start (ESPN) on Father’s Day includes a BBQ set give away and a catch on the field after the game.
NHL STANLEY CUP FINAL: CHICAGO vs. TAMPA BAY
Details/TV: Game 6: At Chicago, Monday at 6 p.m., Channel 4:
The Blackhawks may be on the verge of their third title in six seasons, but they’ve yet to clinch a Stanley Cup at home since April of 1938.
Also: Game 7 if necessary is at Tampa Bay, Wednesday at 5 p.m., Channel 4
THE REST OF THE WEEK:
The U.S. closes out the group play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a match against Nigeria (Tuesday, 5 p.m., Channel 11, in Vancouver) … The College World Series in Omaha, Neb., matches on with elimination games Monday-Saturday on ESPN and ESPN2 … The Dodgers and Texas have an odd four-game, home-and home series on Monday-Thursday, coinciding with a similar situation with the Angels and Arizona … There is more at this link.