There’ll be no medal ceremony for Rory McIlroy at this week’s U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
That’s the view of super coach, Butch Harmon and the former long-time coach to Tiger Woods.
A year McIlroy produced a Congressional command performance to capture a first Major but heads into the defense of his title having missed three cuts in succession before failing to deliver the goods in last week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic.
And unlike the statesmanlike display at Congressional, McIlroy could end the event banished to Alcatraz for his misgivings.
“If Rory drives the ball well and put the ball in play then he is going to have a chance to contend,” said Harmon.
“But the way Rory played in his last three events, and then what happened in Memphis on Sunday, it doesn’t show us that he’s doing that.”
And Harmon says the San Francisco jury is out when it comes to Donald’s chances of breaking through for a first Major at his 36th attempt.
“Luke has played extremely well of late but he doesn’t drive the ball as well as you would think he would for as good as player he is.
“If he drives the ball well he will definitely be a factor because he’s if not the best putter, one of the best putters in the game.”
In fact, Harmon is putting his money on World No. 3 Lee Westwood, third last year to McIloy and fresh from his storming five shot success in Sweden.
“Lee’s long been my pick to win a Major and if I had to pick the Major the U.S. Open is the one I would pick him to win,” said Harmon.
“I would never have picked him to win at Augusta even though he’s had his chances because his short game hurts him at Augusta.
“The U.S. Open, this is going to be a very difficult golf course and Lee’s a good driver and a good iron player, he is playing very well. I think the course suits him very, very well.
“And unlike Rory, he’s coming off a win last week in Sweden. He’s going to be very confident without a doubt.
“He’s a great player and he’s playing great.
“He’s had a good run in the last few years of the U.S. Open, and the golf course is going to suit Lee to a tee.”
Harmon’s only dislike is the 675-yard par five, 16th – the longest ever hole in the 117-year history of the U.S. Open.
“The 16th is ridiculous,” said Harmon.
“We were there last week and we were there hitting into the wind and Gary Woodland, who is one of the longest hitters in the game, hit a driver, a two iron and an eight iron to it.
“I’m not sure they’ll even use that back two to be honest with you, it’s kind of a nocuous hole the way it is now and I think almost too difficult.
”I’ve never been a big fan of the Olympic Club, and I don’t like holes that dog leg from right to left and the fairways slope in the opposite direction but having said that, everybody’s got to play it so it doesn’t really matter.”