Finally time for another major! No more trying to think up things to watch for during a normal, standard, PGA Tour event. Lots to look out for, but the thing I’m most excited about is the fact that players can’t be complaining about the course! This is the 8th time it’s hosted the US Open, and while it’s well known for being really tough, no chance a player can go and say bad things about the course.
I feel like I first need to give a quick shoutout to Angel Cabrera, who chainsmoked his way to victory in 2007, the last time the US Open was played here. I don’t think I’ve every seen anyone get up to every tee shot and just rip drivers straight down the fairway, and then go to his bag and light another cig.
Shoutout to one of the catchiest songs I’ve been listening to lately. Now that I pasted the link here, I realize that it isn’t exactly a song that you’d use to pump yourself up for a US Open, but whateves, I’m gonna use this song anyway. Also, pretty sure Angel loves listening to this song too.
About the Course
I’ve never played there, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t watched enough of the course on tv and seen enough pictures to know a little about what’s going on.
Churchpew bunkers — They look like this and you’ll see them a lot this week in pictures and on tv.
Lots of rough — As seen in this Keegan Bradley Instagram post. There are a ton of Instagram posts already about how heavy the rough is at Oakmont, I just chose this one because I can point out how Keegan used the letter ‘u’ instead of typing the two extra letters and getting ‘you’. Come on Keegan, u r better than that.
Time for a major, and that means there’s a bunch more to watch for than a normal Tour event! Aren’t you proud of me for not naming this article something clickbaity like “9 things to watch for this US Open!” Boo clickbait.
Funny groupings — In the past, the USGA has made some funny groupings, with 3somes that have been the “young bombers” grouping (possibly filled this year with the Brooks Keopka, Ben An, and Russell Henley group), the “really tall people” grouping (don’t know about that this year), and even the “fat guy group” which I think featured guys whose nicknames were “The Walrus” and “Lumpy”. This year, there aren’t as many groupings I could find that were as funny as the fat guy group, but we have a few. There’s the “Former Champs who are Foreign” group featuring Geoff Ogilvy, Ernie Els, and Retief Goosen. And there’s the
“Masters Champs who haven’t won a US Open” after a comment reminding me that Angel won the 2007 US Open at Oakmont (how can I forget that), I’m renaming this the “Masters Champs where only one guy won the US Open, and he’s probably considered the worst of the three” group of Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, and Angel Cabrera. Rolls right off the tongue.. So even though the USGA has become a little more PC, we still get a couple theme groups.
No-names leading after the first round — Considering the US Open has few automatic qualifiers, and only 36 holes to determine the rest of the field, you end up with a decent number of randos in the field. And given the quirkiness of the course, and the number of low level pros in the field, I’ll guarantee there’s gonna be at least one no name with a good story near the top of the leaderboard after the first round.
(a) — That little a that you see next to players names near the bottom of the leaderboard? That means the player is an amateur. Amateur meaning that they can’t accept prize money for tournaments. Well that’s kind of the case. They can still get up to $550 in gift certificates from the tournament venue (which a lot of state level tournaments have), as well as are able to get clubs from sponsors who are eyeing to sign them for contracts for when they turn professional, since pretty much all of them are going to do that. But at least for now, amateurs playing in the US Open is pretty special.
People complaining about the course — Since the media thrives on controversy, I guarantee that they’re going to play up any bit of criticism that players give either the course or its setup this week. Really though, I’ll say that it’s players frustrated with their play, or that they’re not as familiar with the course as they usually are which’ll prompt the criticism. The USGA knows what it’s doing setting up the course.
People praising the course — Oh yeah, I’m sure you’ll see some stories about the course where they link to quotes about players praising the course as well. Gotta have both sides to the story!
And looks like everyone’s favorite critic Ian Poulter is being mum on the issue until the tournament is over.
Time for the second major of the year. New course, west coast time zone. Tough not to get excited for really good players making bogeys!
About the Sponsor & About the Tournament
Hey guys! The US Open doesn’t have a sponsor! So I’m going to leave this section blank! Nah can’t do that, so I figured I’ll talk a little about the history of the USGA and how it started since they’re the effective sponsor.
The USGA dates back to 1894, when a few of the really old country clubs in the US got together to form a governing body to deal with keeping the rules of golf, and to create a national amateur tournament, which was first held in 1895. Now I’m talking about the US Amateur here, because the first US Open was played right after the US Am, and was added as an afterthought.
If you think back to the time period, this is a completely rational move. Golf was a rich man’s game — there were no public courses, the USGA consisted of only country clubs where amateurs played, and golf “professionals” weren’t tour pros since there was no such thing at the tour. The “professionals” were professionals in that their profession was in the golf business. Not what comes to mind in this day and age. I haven’t been able to find a reliable source for when the US Open became more important than the US Amateur, but I’m sure that’d be an interesting story.
The USGA, along with the R&A (which I’ll write about in a month or so when the British Open rolls around) also maintains the Rules of Golf. This means they get to decide the colors of the stakes in the ground that you have to deal with when you hit your ball in the water, as well as deciding what equipment is legal. Most recently, that’s involved making anchoring a club in your body illegal. Sorry Adam Scott and Tim Clarke. Gotta make a change cause the USGA says so.
Oh, and If you’re wondering the reason the US Open doesn’t need a sponsor, it’s because Fox just paid something in the range of $100 million a year to broadcast it, and a few of the other 12 USGA Championships. Cash like that means it doesn’t have to be the Starbucks US Open or some garbage like that.
About the Course
It’s time for the second major of the year, the US Open. Along with it, a whole slew of people trying to get a piece of the million dollar prize! For those people who just searched for picks and stumbled across this page, we know what’s up. All the other sites just talk about good picks and bad picks, we give you actual lineups to use (if you want to).
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Time for another major in Draftkings world! Considering the strength of the field, you’re going to be picking from all good players. The US Open is a little bit harder than the Masters in that you can’t go on course history and just pick Phil. That being said, based on the course, I’m leaning a little towards Euro guys, and those with more experience.
Luke Donald ($7,400) — Hasn’t been playing well recently, but the fact that the former number 1 in the world had to qualify for the event means that he’s go at least some confidence.
Billy Horschel ($8,000) — Also starting to get back into form. FedEx cup champ has finished 17, 13, 11 and 8 in his last four events. So logic says he’s finishing better than 8th here.
Hideki Matsuyama ($8,900) — Big game type of player. Though I am a little worried about his possible lack of experience in US Opens. Because of that…
Jim Fuyrk ($8,700) — I might like Fuyrk a little better. His experience in almost winning US Opens, as well as playing in so many over the course of his career (winning in 2003 as well), might give him the edge here. Check back on Wednesday to see who I go with for sure.
Ian Poulter ($7,400) — More Euro power on a links style course. But Poulter is also the type of player who comes out when it matters. Hasn’t missed a cut, or played that poorly for that matter in a while.
Justin Rose ($11,500) — On a roll, won in the past. Of the top guys, I think he’s got the best chance. Sure Spieth has been fantastic as of late, but my gut is still going with Rose to finish better.
Danny Willett ($6,800) — Stretch time with the rest of my lineup. Again, going with Euro talent. I also feel like he’s got a semi low salary here because he plays in Europe and isn’t that well known here.
Honestly, I really don’t know what to expect this week. Chambers Bay doesn’t really fit the typical US Open bill in that it basically plays like a links course. Combined with this being its first time hosting a Tour event it’s kind of a crap shoot as to who will play well and who will wilt under the pressure of the event. That being said, I’m going to try and pick a variety of styles of play with the major emphasis on recent performance and British Open history (in my opinion looking at past US Open performances is futile due to huge course disparities).
Jordan Spieth ($12,600) — His form continues to be stellar and he’s made the cut in his first to British Opens. Hard to pass up as long as you feel like you can stomach the salary.
Hideki Matsuyama ($8,900) — Well, not too much experience with link-style, but he made the cut in his first appearance last year at the British. He’s also been crazy consistent and good this year so far.
Keegan Bradley ($7,700) — He’s been kind of all over the place this year, but I think things may be starting to click a bit with his game. Solid performances the last few years over at the Open so I think he’ll be fine if the winds kick up.
Kevin Na ($7,100) — Going mostly on recent play here as his links results have been mixed. Only Spieth and Na can make claims to have played better over the last 3 months.
Charlie Hoffman ($7,000) — Another guy playing very well as of late – he’s notched top 20’s six of his last eight events. Sketchy history with this type of course, but I think his form and ability to play in wind makes up for that.
Andy Sullivan ($6,200) — Even for major-adjusted pricing this seems like a good deal. Sullivan has two wins on the Euro Tour this season and was t13 at the Memorial in his first stroke-play event on the PGA Tour. While this will be his first major, the Englishman will come in having seen his share of links golf.