Garcia, Harrington lead European contingent
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Sergio Garcia was still more than nine years away from being born when Tony Jacklin won the 1970 U.S. Open at the Hazeltine National Golf Club, the last time a European won the U.S. Open. Not only is Europe in the middle of a 34-year U.S. Open drought, but no European has won a major since Paul Lawrie captured the British Open in 1999.
With two wins in his last five events, Garcia comes to Shinnecock Hills Golf Club with a good chance to end that drought.
While Garcia enters on a roll, so does Padraig Harrington. The highest ranked European in the World Rankings (No. 7), Harrington has won $1,912,617 in only six PGA Tour events in 2004, finishing second twice (The Players Championship and Buick Classic).
Harrington knows a major win would be huge for the European Tour, but he doesn't want too much pressure on that win having to come this week.
"I think there are good young players in Europe, and I think the future is bright for European golf," Harrington said. "If a European player doesn't win this week, it's not going to lessen anything about European golf. I see some good years ahead for European golfers. It doesn't have to happen tomorrow or Sunday. It will happen in the next few years."
One positive for the European contingent could be the links feel of Shinnecock, which seems more like a British Open course than a typical U.S. Open layout.
"This type of course, it kind of has a European look to it, although we're in New York, Long Island, it feels like you're back in the British Isles," Garcia said.
Garcia and Harrington are both playing strong golf and should be in contention this week. Here are some other Europeans to watch:
Peter Lawrence-Riddell is an editor for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.