We’re on to our 2nd major of the year with the U.S. Open!! This year the U.S. Open returns to Oakmont with it’s treacherous greens, bunkers, and rough. When we say this course is difficult, we mean it is about as hard as they come. Grinders are the main players we are targeting this week, and there are some good ones in this field. Putting and driving accuracy will be key, as anyone in the rough is bound to give up a stroke or two.
At The Top
1, 2, and 3. There they are, Day, Spieth, and McIlroy. I don’t think you can really go wrong with either. If I had to rank them right now, I think I would go Spieth, Day, and McIlroy, and I will tell you why. Rory brings up the rear as he has been switching his putter grip throughout the year, and he seemingly hasn’t put together a complete tournament this year. Yes, he has a Euro victory, but his putter is the reason he falls to third on this list. Day and Spieth are virtually interchangeable. The only reason I have Day behind Spieth is because of the flu rumors. I fully admit it’s tinfoil hatting, but the disease that has been making its way around the folks in my life, has had them bed-ridden for no less than 4-5 days. I don’t know if it’s the same thing, but I know if things don’t go his way, it is easier to get frustrated while also feeling like shit. Spieth is Spieth, you know he’s going to compete in a major, and if there is one thing that he has above the rest is fast-green putting. Of the three, I will be overweight on Spieth.
Fade of the Week
I hate doing this but I’m fading Rickie Fowler again this week, and I have a very weird reason why: His snapchat game. I would like to
put one disclaimer here: I love Rickie’s snapchat. I think it’s good for the game, and I think it shows kids that golf is cool, and gives access that fans would otherwise not have. With that being said, I don’t think Rickie is getting dialed in. I know golf is supposed to be fun, but when he’s whipping his phone out during practice rounds, taking snaps of Rory, he looks more like a fan than a player, which is totally fine, but I’m not going to put my money on him.
My other bold fade would be Adam Scott, mainly because putting is a big struggle of his, and I expect that to have an impact this week.
Dustin Johnson – This goes against one of my chief DFS principles: Don’t chase a narrative. Would it be great for Dustin Johnson to come in and get his first major win by conquering an event that he seemingly had in the bag last year, only to three putt it all away? Yes. Does it mean that it will happen? Absolutely not, especially because it’s nowhere near the same course. That being sad, I can’t ignore DJ’s form coming into this event. No missed cuts, and his putting is actually much improved. If he can be smart, club down and keep it in the fairway, then I think Dustin could have a shot.
Justin Rose – Everything I’ve read about Rose is that all he’s been doing since withdrawing from the BMW is getting ready for the U.S. Open. As a former U.S. Open winner, he’s proven that he has what it takes to get it done. Rose also seems like he is mentally primed for a grind it out tournament, and could be in a great spot to get it done.
Danny Willet – Fine, I’ll bite. The Masters winner has been churning out Top-10’s this year, including a T3 at The BMW. Yes, the cut at The Players is not comforting, but this kind of course seems to suit Danny’s style a little more. Also if Danny is in contention, you know his brother will be live tweeting, which makes it all the better.
Henrik Stenson – Another player whose performance at The Players was rather disturbing, couple that with the cut at Wells Fargo, and I would expect his ownership to be rather low. However, Stenson has a game that is geared toward this type of course. He’s incredibly accurate off the tee, while staying long. He’s got great strokes gained tee-to-green stats, and he tends to putt well on quick greens. I like Henrik as a nice GPP play
Patrick Reed – Doesn’t he just feel due for a major win? The Villain has been playing great golf, he has wonderful strokes gained stats, and his putting isn’t too shabby either. Couple that with his great scrambling ability and it looks like he has what it takes to win. The biggest concern with P.Reed is his driving accuracy, which hopefully can be fixed if he clubs down. The only other knock I have is Reed loves to hit the draw which tends to run a little farther than a cut, and not stick as well, which is what he’s going to need this week to make these shots stay on the fairway, let alone the green.
Matt Kuchar – Kuch just makes cut after cut after cut. And surprise, surprise he is tops in our statistics model, coming in top-50 in all of our key stats this week. If ever there was a set up for a winner, it’s Kuch. He’s a smart player, and seems to take the negative emotion out of the game. I absolutely love Kuch this week, and therefore I am making Kuch my pick of the week.
Brandt Snedeker – A sneaky, sneaky GPP play. The thing about majors is that the good ones tend to show up, and there is no doubt that Brandt is a good one. His putting has always been what sets him apart, and his putting is what should help him make his mark here at Oakmont.
Charl Schwartzel – Talk about a discount for a guy who has been playing wonderful golf. This week Charl statistically looks like Matt Kuchar-lite. Charl has had multiple top-10’s in U.S. Open’s, and I would look for him to continue to do so here at Oakmont.
Shane Lowry – I’ll call picking the Irishman a little bold. He had a nice finish at The Players. I like him better on a links style course however. He also comes in decently high in our model, ranked 48th over all, right below Branden Grace, who seems to be a favorite this week. Hopefully Lowry can find a little Irish luck for a good finish.
Graeme McDowell – The putter is the only thing that worries me about G-Mac, as it seems he can struggle with it at times. However, he has wonderful driving accuracy off the tee, which should help mitigate his putting struggles. He’s had a top-10 in a U.S. Open before, and I’d like to see him notch another.
Emiliano Grillo – Another bold pick, but that’s what we’re doing down here. He had a good Memorial Tournament finish, and I like the rookie to continue grinding and adding to his impressive 2016 campaign. Like Graeme, Grillo’s impressive 70% of fairways hit off the tee puts him on this list.
Danny Lee – As long as Lee can stay out of the sand, he’s got a shot. Lee, like Kuchar, seems to be another smart player. He’ll hit his fairways, and his putter really can heat up. He was cut in last years version of the U.S. Open, however Lee has really made strides in his game, as he seems to be a name that continues to pop up. If he can fire a few 74/75’s I think he’d be in great shape.
Look out for the Thursday early morning, and the Friday night weather as this course plays monumentally easier when it’s wet vs dry. It could definitely impact scoring, depending on how much it rains.
Who’s ready for an awesome U.S. Open??!