What can we say about last week at the Canadian Open, Rory McIlroy destroyed everything. He decided that he wasn’t going to play in the same sandbox with everyone else and just ran away with the trophy. I had a couple of guys in contention for second place, at least. Just one of those weeks that you have to tip your hat to excellence and move on.
This week we get to move on to our third major of the year. The US Open is obviously a very special event on the PGA tour but it gets a double dose of special this year due to being held at the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links. This is the site of Tiger’s historic 15 stroke US Open victory in 2000. The last time the US Open was at Pebble, 2010, when history was made again as Graeme Mcdowell became the first European to win the event in 40 years. Could there be more magic and history this year? Brooks Koepka does have the chance to become only the second player to ever win the US Open three years in a row (Willie Anderson won it 1903-1905).
Some key course aspects per @SmartGolf Bets; links-style track, wind can severely affect shots, small poa greens, driving largely irrelevant, approaches below the hole, or miss in the right place. As with many links courses, wind can be a big determining factor and should be monitored before putting money on the line. Ball-strikers with some major patience can go a long way in tough conditions like this. Keep in mind that the USGA will not have this course set up as it is for the Pro-Am played here early in the season.
As I will mention each week, there are a couple of different ways to look at who might contend at a tournament in any given week. The most popular are current form (recent strong finishes in tournaments), statistics (generally a combination of important Strokes Gained data), and course history (play well at a particular course). Truly, some combination of these three would be the best way to determine contenders. In the end, however, we never truly know, we are just trying to make educated guesses.
I want to give a few golfers from each of these main categories that could contend at this year’s US Open. First off we will look at ten golfers that have current form. This will be based solely on their recent performance in the last six tournaments on the tour schedule (although they could show up in other categories as well).
When it comes to majors you typically don’t need to go too far down the board to find a winner. Rory McIlroy’s number has already moved drastically, down to 8/1 in some spots. I would expect, after his Canadian Open performance, he will be pretty popular in DFS. Jordan Spieth’s number pops, however, his recent strong finishes have come off of absolutely spectacular putting performances. He is a great Poa putter but the ball-striking has been so bad of late that I can’t trust him to be in contention. In this group, Webb Simpson just cannot be ignored. He has been playing so well of late that his number has been bet down to 50/1. Still worth a shot to win, however, if you are playing DFS he will be extremely high owned. Justin Rose is a world #1 talent that is essentially being disregarded. He is not playing his best golf of late but is also talented enough to change that instantly.
Next is a list of ten players with strong statistical data. These players come from a ranking list which is determined by a weighted Strokes Gained stats. Those stats include SG: Ball-striking, SG: Approach, SG: Tee to Green, Birdies or Better (BoB), Bogey Avoidance, and Greens in Regulation (GIR). There are a few other ancillary stats thrown in and they are weighted from a couple of different timeframes as well. Rankings are looked at and weighted over the player’s last 12 rounds and last 50 rounds. I use Fantasy National to help easily choose stats that relevant and rank players.
There is no reason to think Koepka can’t win a third US Open in a row. Although I won’t pay the price to back him (will fit him in a DFS lineup or two) it would be exciting to see someone accomplish the three-peat for the first time in over one hundred years. Patrick Cantlay showed he can win a ball strikers tournament when he took home the Memorial a couple of weeks back. Tiger Woods has some obvious history at this track and, aside from his performance at Bethpage Black, has been competing in big-time tournaments. Where I really get excited in this group is Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson. Scott is in the top ten of just about every aspect I look at leading into this tournament and is playing some of his best golf lately. Henrik Stenson has been lurking for weeks and is ready to take home a big one. Stenson is typically a pretty dreadful putter, however, he has been putting better of late and his putting numbers on Poa approach top 25 status. It seems to all be lining up for Stenson.
Lastly, here are ten golfers with a strong history at the US Open (remember this tournament rotates courses so this is tournament history not course history).
Some names in this category have already been discussed. A few others just aren’t worth mentioning. The three I want to discuss are Tommy Fleetwood, Brandt Snedeker, and Hideki Matsuyama. Fleetwood has not been playing much of late and when he has played it hasn’t been his best golf. He seems to always find a way to get himself atop the leaderboard when it matters the most. Snedeker is playing his best golf of late. Windy conditions actually benefit Sneds. I want Hideki Matsuyama to win the big one so bad. He has top-five player in the world talent except for his putter. Matsuyama is also extremely overwhelmed by Japanese media when it comes to majors it’s no surprise he can’t focus enough to put one of these big ones away.
As I will say each week, there are certainly many other golfers to consider for contention in this tournament. This gives you a quick glance at some guys that could be in contention come Sunday based on particular information. Once again, the best method to narrow things down would be to take a combination of factors into consideration. There are many in the golf betting/fantasy community that look very strongly at one of these methods over any others. Some discount methods completely. There is always a debate as to whether course history is really a thing.
When it comes to betting golf it is always hard to take the golfers at the top of the board at such small prices. That theory becomes difficult at majors as the winners usually aren’t too far from the top of the board. For those that enjoy betting top ten and top twenty finishes, or play DFS, the golfers in the mid-tier and even further down have to be taken into consideration.
If I were taking one of the top four guys it would have to be Brooks Koepka. Majors are just set up for this guy to win and he seems to get ultra-focused on the big prizes. My favorite grouping is the golfers between 18/1 and 50/1. This group includes Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Tommy Fleetwood, and Brandt Snedeker. All of these golfers were discussed above and I have a great deal of interest in them this week. Slightly past this tier lies Henrik Stenson, currently at 66/1. On just pure gut feeling I think Stenson’s big win is coming. It very well could be this week. Deep golfers from the lists above that I will have my eye on are Jim Furyk and Emiliano Grillo (both currently 150/1). Again, these deep golfers are for top twenty bets and DFS lineups.
As for golfers not on any of the lists above that I will be looking at this week there is Xander Schauffele (25/1) and Jason Day (33/1). These two can contend for a US Open title and have in the past. One of the deep golfers I am interested in, that does not show up on the lists above, is Keegan Bradley (150/1). I don’t think he can put together four rounds in order to win but he has been playing great golf of late. He can certainly find himself in the top twenty.
Let’s have a great week!