U.S Open Fantasy Cheat Sheet
This weekend the U.S Open gets underway for another year and it proves to be another year posing many questions. Can Phil Mickelson finally win a U.S Open, can Jordan Spieth add a second major to his Masters success a few months ago and can Rory McIlroy make further progress and win the coveted trophy for a second time?
Many questions are to be asked prior to a very exciting weekend of golf. Added to the excitement and mystery surrounding how events will unfold will be a first PGA Tour appearance for the European style ‘Links’ course at Chambers Bay in Washington state.
Taking a Look at the Chambers Bay Golf Course
The fact Chambers Bay will be utilized for its first ever PGA Tour event, and even more so, a major, really does add to the excitement of the event and really opens up the field due to the unfamiliarity many players have of the course. The first time the U.S Open has been brought to the state of Washington, the Chambers Bay course is very unique due to numerous reasons such as at only 8 years old, it is one of the newest courses to ever host a championship event.
Chambers Bay is very much a links style course, similar to that of the home of golf, St. Andrews in Scotland. The main features of the course are its huge wide and open fairways, large sloping greens and only a solitary tree, although not in play. A large amount of Fescue grass is common throughout the course and despite there being no traditional U.S Open rough, the fescue has the ability to swallow a ball hole and be very penal.
Bunkers, as you would expect are also in abundance with many of them being of a super size, with the course actually featuring the deepest bunker in U.S Open history on the 18th. Finally, if it didn’t sound tricky enough, the course features two holes (1st and 18th) which will alternate on different days from par 4’s and par 5’s.
How to Beat Chambers Bay
The key for any player at the Championship par 70 course at Chambers Bay will be mental toughness. For a relatively unknown and unique course to the majority of the competitors there is likely to be favorites in the form of the top players, but in pure honesty, the new environment will make the title accessible for all. A prime example is of the last years U.S Open at Pinehurst when the not much fancied Martin Kaymer came up trumps with a simply spectacular and error-free performance.
More than likely, this year will be similar and the crowning champion will be one who can best roll with the punches and limit their mistakes whilst also executing their game plan in impeccable fashion. Other than mental toughness, distance will play a big part in determining the champion.
Chambers Bay can play well over 7800 and simply that will make distance an essential tool for anyone looking to challenge towards the top. One statistic that really tells a story is that over the past 10 years, the majority of the winners of the U.S Open have been ranked higher in driving distance than actual accuracy off the tee and with many wide open fairways at Chambers Bay, it seems likely distance will go a long way to success. Despite being a U.S Open, the links course with it’s European style could well prove to be a slight advantage to the European players like Henrik Stenson, who are used to playing their trade across the Atlantic.
How to Win a US Open
Historically at the U.S Open, there are many top players who have both had consistent success and disappointment. Quite possibly the greatest example of a player with a consistent but bitter sweet feel at the tournament is Phil Mickelson who has remarkably never won the tournament despite being runner-up on a record six occasions.
Of course, with such a formidable record, it is a tournament that he is always ready for and he is likely to be involved at the top end of the leaderboard once again. Another player with a solid record is Jason Day, who since 2011 has played the U.S Open four times and only finished outside of the top four on one occasion.
With such a great record, he will be determined to carry this on so by no means rule him out of contention despite his troubles with a links style course. Lee Westwood as a former world number one and European player who seems to play better on links course could well be a contender whilst also further enhanced by the fact that he is had a pretty consistent record of top 20 finishes over the last five years.
Finally, 2010 champion Graeme McDowell is surely worth a mention and a player who seems to always up his game at this event will definitely be looking to be in the mix for the championship once again.
One of the biggest surprises you will hear today is that Bubba Watson, two time Masters champion is a constant struggle at the U.S Open and hasn’t even made the top 30 since 2008. A shock without doubt, but with distance playing a key factor this weekend, there isn’t a chance that you can rule him out. Sergio Garcia is another without consistency at the event and has failed to muster a top twenty finish in his last U.S Open appearance.
However, he is a strong links player so Chambers Bay might just well suit him. One player I would rule out for the title is Ryan Palmer, who just this week wasn’t very complimentary about the course and with his record of just one top 20 finish in 8 years at the tournament, it is fairly safe to say he is defeated about his ambitions before it has even began.