Coming into this US Open, a first time Major Winner has claimed 6 of the last 7 Majors. Couple that with the fact that no one on this golf course is really familiar or comfortable on the Course because this is the first PGA or Major Tour event. This years event puts nearly everyone on an even playing field which means we could truly see nearly anything. So here are some thoughts and predictions. But most of all, Expect the unexpected and count on the weather making a play.
This week, the US Open will be played at Erin Hills, in Wisconsin. This is yet another 1st time location for the US Open or any non amateur event PGA or USGA event. Obviously the players have played practice rounds and even rounds prior to this week to become familiar. What they have not done is test this course during an event with the pin or tee box moving daily. Let us add in the fact that the USGA has had to mow some of the fescue because of how much rain they have received recently.
Erin Hills, with a bit of help from Mother Nature has the chance of being quite a test for this group of players. But for the straightest of hitters, this could be a week to remember because of the wide fairways. Jordan Spieth Stated that this year he expects the winner to be -5 to -10 under par which would be unlike most US Open tournaments. If the USGA heard those comments, I am sure they will try their hardest to not let that be the case. As Rory stated in his presser, (I am paraphrasing) this is the US Open, It is supposed to be a physical and mental test. The fairways are 60 yards wide, if you can’t keep the ball in spaces like that, time to fold up your tent and go home.
With all of that said, it’s time to pick some winners. As stated, we have a had a run of 1st time Major winners so I would not at all be surprised to see it yet again. In my opinion, it will take someone who can keep it in the fairway and not test the fescue because it will win every time. So if I were to pick a first time Major winner, I believe it will be Jon Rahm.
As for who I believe will win the tournament, I truly think it will be one of top players in the PGA. I think Jordan Spieth could win again, Jason Day possibly, and Ricki Fowler. Of course Dustin Johnson has a chance every week, and with the birth of his newest child this week, he has some extra motivation. Though I think winning back to back US Opens is nearly impossible and Johnson has not played up to his standards since the back injury.
I also think a case could be made for one of the older players like a Steve Stricker. He had to qualify to get in, but he is local and has the enough length and accuracy to win a tournament here. Coming into the event, if PHil would play… I think he could have contended, but I don’t think he is accurate enough with the driver to win here. Although Furyk was a runner up last year and could do something similar this season, he has not had one of his better years thus far and at 48 and being one of the shortest hitters on tour, this could be a difficult week for him.
Finally if you have to pin me down to just one or two guys, I truly believe Hideki Matsuyama or Ricki Fowler will win this year. As for a dark horse, I don’t think this is very dark but we could see a surge for Sergio this week.
As always, this is US Open week, we will be here daily with updates and coverage so stay tuned.