US Open Championship: Thursday whiteboard
By Conor Nagle under Tiger Woods

Mmm... so inviting.

The battle for the third most coveted trophy in world golf (sorry, couldn’t resist) is underway in distant San Francisco, and while the leaderboard has yet to take any meaningful shape, some of the day’s talking points are already in place:

  • The marquee grouping of Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson will likely dominate the morning’s coverage. Bookmakers have declared the former a prohibitive favourite to claim a 15th major title this weekend, while Phil has publicly touted his indifference to several of Olympic’s architectural idiosyncrasies. Pitched somewhere between the two, Bubba remains determined to bomb and gouge his way to a second major title (Good luck with that, son).
  • Those in search of feel-good stories could do worse than follow the progress of the tournament’s youngest competitors: 14-year-old Andy Zhang; and Beau Hossler, a US Open veteran at the age of 17. Positively geriatric by comparison is Walker Cup star Jordan Spieth, 18.
  • The afternoon will witness the public clash of social media frenemies Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, each of whom arrives in San Francisco hungry for a measure of sporting redemption. Charged with muting the passive-aggressive atmosphere is world No1 Luke Donald.
  • Feel free to share your dark horse tips for US Open glory below. Remember, it’s Olympic we’re talking about: no pick can be too left-field.

Conor Nagle