One hundred and fifty six players line up at Erin Hills, Wisconsin, for the 117th US Open Championship and as has become tradition in this event most of the lucky 156 will be whingeing like Pommies in the rain about how difficult the conditions are compared to the usual drive, pitch and putt courses they face on a weekly basis on the PGA Tour.
Erin Hills is a brave choice of course by the USPGA as a track that has never hosted a professional golf tournament – it did hold the 2011 US Amateur – and a par 72 for the first time in 25 years instead of the usual par 70.
So what type of course is Erin Hills? It’s described as a heartland course – nope, me neither – and features the usual US Open penal rough, wide open fairways which will be uneven, sloping and as much as twice as wide on some holes as the average on the PGA tour. The rough will no doubt be even longer than is normal in this event due to the wide fairways. If you miss the short grass, expect to drop a shot.
The course can play anywhere between 7500 and 8500 yards depending on how the organisers decide to set it up. If its dry expect it to be closer to the 2nd number but rain is forecast so the longer hitters will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of bombing tee shots down these wide fairways with the chances of their ball running off into the rough lessened by the wet conditions..if the rain arrives.
One this for certain is that second shots into elevated greens will need to be accurate with bunkers and waist high fescue rough awaiting any errant balls.
Our first pick is a man who i should love with every fibre of my body and this would be true if he hadn’t sliced his tee shot on the 16th hole of this very event out of bounds in 2015 when leading in the final round. The double bogey there ended my chances of a 250/1 winner. But who lets things like that bother them for close to two years?
Branden Grace has not won a Major championship yet but he really does have the perfect game, and as importantly, temperament, for the tests that they provide and his close shaves – did i mention his capitulation in 2015 yet? – in Majors are testament to this.
Kevin Kisner tied for 12th in the US Open in 2015, you know, the one with the slice on 16 from Grace…and he fits almost all the trends that you might look for in the search for a winner this weekend. He tied for 6th at the Memorial a few weeks back in what looked like a perfect prep.
1 unit each way at $56 with
Dustin Johnson lookylikey Kevin Chappell is always worth a second glance when the conditions are tough and he already has four top 10’s in US Opens to his name. He broke his duck on the PGA Tour this season and now he has that maiden monkey off his back I expect him to win several events over the next few years and if one is to be a Major, and there’s a good chance it will be, then it will likely be the US Open.
Billy Horshel caught the eye last week with a closing 64 at the St Jude Classic and while the trends suggest taking last week off is a better preparation I still like his chances of contending at a decent price. He struggled for motivation after winning $11m and the Fed Ex Cup but he’s back to his best and looks over the odds.
Many people have described Jordan Spieth as having an old head on young shoulders. Our final tip, David Lingmerth, can only be described as having a massive head on square shoulders, but that hasn’t stopped him showing his best form in the toughest of conditions. This Swede with the giant swede can grind.