So, that was the U.S. Open. I’ve said this before, but because there is so much hype for majors, and because the strength of the field and difficulty of the courses makes for such a naturally exciting stage, these tournaments seem to blow by so quickly. If, on rare occasion, you have one player completely run away from the field with two historic rounds on Thursday and Friday, it goes by even quicker. That was certainly the case this year when Martin Kaymer shot back to back 65s – a career low in the U.S. Open – and never looked back. And what did we, as brand new, freshly-minted fantasy golf analysts, learn? Well for one, we learned that beginning your predictions on the U.S. Open is a daunting task, as it is probably the most difficult tournament to predict. Still, Martin Kaymer would not have been a long shot, or by any means a bad pick, as he did look absolutely machine-like in his win at the Players a few weeks ago, the tournament with the second-strongest field leading up to the Open. Now, Kaymer not only has the two best quality wins of any player, but he did so in two wire-to-wire wins, which is unfathomable. Fantasy-wise, you can go one of two ways moving forward. Either pick with the belief that Kaymer is playing on a completely different, uncatchable level, which means he’ll have one or more quality wins this season; or, that he has hit his plateau and will coast through the rest of the season with out any serious highlights (until, maybe, the Ryder Cup). Deciding on this is like deciding whether or not to hit on 14 and 15 in black jack, either choice is acceptable, but make sure to stick with your game plan.
As for the non-Kaymer side of the tournament, we saw a few things of interest. Below, you can see just how well – or poorly, in this case – we picked. Rickie Fowler notched his best finish in a major with a tie for second, and Erik Compton is clearly the guy we should have picked in the “golfer people should know about” category, after tying Fowler for second. And what a story this guy carries with him. Having undergone two heart transplants in his history, Compton had to go through sectional qualifiers to get into this year’s U.S. Open field. He did so in a playoff in Columbus, OH – which also happens to be the hometown of the original owner of Compton’s third heart. This man was a fellow athlete, poised to become an Olympic volleyball player. Heart is perhaps the best word to describe Compton’s four days at Pinehurst, whose name is one that should not be forgotten.
Our picks were not a complete bust, either. Everyone in Dave’s foursome ended in the top 15, Jon made the wise call that Bubba would miss the cut at a major that clearly doesn’t suit his eye, and my top pick, Brandt Snedeker, had his first top 10 of the season, including a red hot 31 in his opening 9 on Thursday. However, this U.S. Open, at the roughless Pinehurst No. 2, turned into a rather boring Kaymer coast to the finish line. Phil could never get into the mix after a Friday 73, and no one else could stay consistent enough to put any pressure on the now two-time major winner. Take a look below at the results of our picks, and to ourselves we say, better luck next time.
Favorites to Win
Tom: Brandt Snedeker (+2, T9)
Jon: Jordan Spieth (+4, T17)
Dave: Matt Kuchar (+3, T12)
Most Likely American to Win
Tom/Jon: Phil Mickelson (+7, T28)
Dave: Matt Kuchar (+3, T12)
Golfer People Should Know About
Tom: Matt Every (76-72, Cut)
Jon: Kevin Stadler (+18, T63)
Dave: Russell Henley (+17, T60)
*Silver lining: Kevin Stadler and Russell Henley both holed out from distance.
Unexpected Player to Miss the Cut
Tom: Jason Day (+1, T4)
Jon: Bubba Watson (76-70, Cut)
Dave: Dustin Johnson (+1, T4)
Tom: Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Lee Westwood, Charl Schwartzel (Total Earnings: $271,303)
Jon: Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Jason Dufner (Total Earnings: $389,537)
Dave: Matt Kuchar, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Jim Furyk (Total Earnings: $851,383)