Site: The US Open; Southampton, NY
Course: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club; Par 70, 7,440 Yards
Purse: $12 Million; Winner’s Share: $2.1 Million
TV: Thursday-Friday: 10am-4:30pm (FS1), 4:30-7:30 (FOX); Saturday: 11am-7pm (FOX); Sunday: 10am-7pm (FOX).
Radio: PGATour Radio
Defending Champion: Brooks Koepka
Nothing says Father’s Day weekend like the sweet anticipation of golf’s second major of the year: the US Open. This year is no different with an elite field, a top-tier golf course, and a terrific venue. Plus, with the US out of the World Cup, American viewers can turn their full attention to the US Open this weekend.
A tantalizing trend is in play this week for returning World #1 Dustin Johnson. No player has ever won the week before the US Open and gone on to win the US Open. Despite this, it’s hard to bet against DJ.
Shinnecock is a bomber’s paradise, measuring longer than most par 72 golf courses at 7,440 yards… as a par 70. Plus, DJ looked all but unbeatable last week. On a long course, it’s hard to bet against the #1 player in strokes gained off the tee. And I for one want to see DJ exorcize his US Open demons this week.
Speaking of demons, Phil Mickelson is having quite the resurgence this year and he’ll hope to finally break through at the US Open this year. His six runner-up finishes are the most at a major besides Jack Nicklaus’ seven runner-ups at The Open.
A final-round 65 to finish T-12 last week will be a huge confidence boost. If he hopes to contend, however, he’ll have to drive it better. He’s currently 131st in shots gained off the tee, but he does rank first in shots gained putting. He broke the win drought earlier this season, let’s hope he ends the US Open drought as well.
Let’s take a closer look at the course the players will have to contend with to earn a major:
Shinnecock Hills is truly a major championship-caliber golf course. Being the first rotational major (since the Masters is played at Augusta every year), Shinnecock will be in pristine condition with a few extra wrinkles thrown in for the US Open. This isn’t its first rodeo either; this is the 5th US Open held at Shinnecock.
And when I say it’s a major championship-level course, I mean it. Shinnecock is an absolute bear of a golf course. The last three winners were a combined -5 for the entire tournament. In contrast, the Masters winners from those years were a combined -32.
Now, this is the part where I usually pick out a few holes from each nine that stand out. However, we’ve upped the ante for the US Open. My colleague, Derek Palmer, has written up a hole-by-hole overview of Shinnecock. You can find that here.
One note from me: I think #18 at Shinnecock is one of the best finishing holes in golf, especially with the new renovations. They’ve increased its length by 35 yards and made it more of a blind tee shot. The second shot is down wind to a severely sloping green. Watch out for some exciting finishes here.
Now, not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I had a pretty good week. My favorites delivered: DJ cruised to a 6-shot victory and Phil utilized a great Sunday round to finish T-12.
My sleepers didn’t do too bad either. The insightful (and wild) Braden Thornberry pick nearly had me looking like a genius, but he faltered on Sunday and finished T-26. And unfortunately I was indeed one week late on the Joaquin Niemann pick as he missed the cut.
All in all, not too bad.
I know I know. “Nobody ever wins the US Open after winning the week before.” Well, stats are made up on the fly to fit narratives anyway. DJ looks like the #1 golfer in the world right now, and this is absolutely his golf course.
He is hitting the ball incredibly, and I don’t see him having any problems this week. Anything outside the top 10 is a “major” disappointment this week for DJ.
Justin Rose is probably the least publicized top 5 player ever. He seems to fly under the radar, and people forget he’s a major champion. He won the US Open in Merion, another course where birdies are at a premium.
I guarantee you the storylines will be all over DJ, Tiger, Spieth, and Justin Thomas. Once again, Rose will quietly go about his business, and contend yet again.
Jason Day is another top talent that I don’t think gets nearly enough love. He had one stretch of dominance, and then everyone just kind of forgot about him. He already has two wins this year, a top 5 at the Players, and a top 20 at the Masters.
I believe this is Day’s best chance to win a major this year. Shinnecock’s lengthy yardage will play right into his hands. Though Day can’t overpower Shinnecock, his length will be quite an advantage this week. Plus he ranks 4th in SG: Total, so a good week around the greens will lead to a big paycheck and hopefully a trophy for Jason Day.
Well, that’s two non-Americans I’ve picked, and I absolutely cannot go with a third. So call this a patriotic pick. Dechambeau seems to be seeing that early rise to fame enjoyed by players like Spieth and Justin Thomas.
He already has 6 top 10s this year including a breakthrough at the Memorial. He ranks 11th in SG: Off the Tee and 25th in driving distance (304 yards). Plus he has all the confidence in the world after his big win. A US Open trophy sure would look nice next to his US Amateur Title.
Michael Condon: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, and Justin Rose
Rahsaan Norris: Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Branden Grace
Cameron Flynn: Justin Rose, Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson
Winston Urwiller: Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, and Justin Thomas
Braxton Crisp: Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy
Maximus Schnell: Jordan Spieth, Bryson Dechambeau, Phil Mickelson, and Francesco Molinari
Noah Poser: Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Tiger Woods, and Web Simpson
Richard Myers (Happy Father’s Day): Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Keegan Bradley, and Harold Varner III
The US Open is truly one of the most exciting tournaments in golf. This year we’re treated to just a fantastic venue and a terrific course. The field is as good as it’s going to get with no major exceptions. This weekend, take a moment to thank a father this Father’s Day, and kick back and watch some great golf.