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BlogFor the weekend at U.S. Open

U.S. Open

June 12 – 15, 2014

Pinehurst Resort (Course #2)

Pinehurst, N.C.

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,562

Purse: $8 million (last year’s)

with $1,440,000 (last year’s) to the winner

Defending Champion:
Justin Rose

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Things you need to know about the weekend:

“Nice car, I love those Bavarians, ah so meticulous.”
Don Henley from the song “The Garden Of Allah”

When you talk about meticulous at the U.S. Open, Martin Kaymer’s two rounds of 65 could be at the top of the list.  130 has never been shot to start the U.S. Open, let’s go a step further 130 has only been shot twice to start a major championship.  That was by Nick Faldo in the 1992 British Open and Brandt Snedeker in the 2012 British Open.  In the case of Faldo, he only won by a shot while Snedeker shot 73-74 and was four back of Ernie Els at Lytham.  But in each case the field was closer after two round than Kaymer’s six shot lead.

Let’s go a step further on this search of big leads.  In the history of the U.S. Open, the biggest 2nd round lead is 6 by Tiger Woods in 2000 and Rory McIlroy in 2011.  Both of them went on to comfortable wins.

In looking at 36 hole leads in major championships, the biggest in the last century of play was at the 1934 British Open, Henry Cotton shot 67-65 at Royal St. George and had a nine shot lead.  Even though shooting 72-79 in the last two rounds it was good enough to win by five over Sid Brews.

The point I am making is that Kaymer has put on a great show and should cruise to victory.  Now we are saying that Kaymer is six ahead.  He is over Brendon Todd, who frankly I don’t see making a big weekend charge.  After that Kaymer has a seven shot lead over Kevin Na and Brandt Snedeker, again not the type of guys that you can count on the weekend of a major.  You have to go down to 2 under to see some folks with experience in majors with Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson.  Johnson, Bradley or Stenson are probably not happy about giving Kaymer a 8 shot advantage.

Lets talk about Kaymer’s meticulous two days of golf.  First it wasn’t perfect, he did bogey the 7th hole on Thursday.  But he was bogey-free on Friday.  As for stats, he has only missed three fairways all week and is T-2nd.  This is a big key that means he only has had to deal with the pine and shrubs three times off the fairway.  As for greens hit, he has hit 26 of 36 which ranks T-5th.  That and along with the number of putts which is 54 is key because he ranks T4th in that.  When your ranking is low in both putting and greens hit, you win.  Lastly he has played the par 4s in 5 under and been perfect on the par 5s, making birdie on all of them.  Two last key stats, Kaymer is one of 25 players in the field without a three-putt while in three sand traps is a perfect 3 for 3 in getting it in the hole.

So that goes back to our Don Henley song, “I love those Bavarians, ah so meticulous.”

Looking at Kaymer’s two days:

While I am at it, let’s look at Kaymer in general, he is a very cool customer that has the reputation of closing it down.  As Warner Wolf use to say famously “Let’s go to the videotape”, I can say “Let’s go to Golfstats.”  Take a look at how Kaymer is with the second round lead, he has won four of the seven tournament he has led or co-led after the second round of the PGA and European Tour.  All I can say just look at how he won the 2010 PGA Championship in a playoff and the Players Championship last month, gosh they can save some time by just putting his name on the trophy right now.

But in golf you have to play 72 holes and at the U.S. Open anything can happen.  Just look at Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open at Pebble in 2000.  He may of won it by 15 shots, but little is said that Tiger is the only player to make a triple and still win a modern major.  Tiger tripled the third hole in the third round.

How about Greg Norman, he had a six shot lead going into the final round of the 1996 Masters and lost.  I will edit the wording but “crap happens” and anything can happen over the weekend.

For Kaymer, the mission is just to make par after par after par for 36 holes.  So how has been historical at the U.S. Open for the second round leader to just shot par over the weekend?  Tell you below.

Since 1980, there have been 34 U.S. Opens this is the 35th.

With Martin Kaymer having such a big lead, we can point out this U.S. Open fact for Kaymer to think about.

If Kaymer plays the next 36 holes in even par or better, he will probably win.  Damn right he will win because the final 36 holes is even tougher than the first.

Here is the reason.

If you took all of the 36 hole leaders since 1980 and gave them even par over the last 36 holes, here are the results you get:

  • 47 players have had the 2nd round lead or a share of the lead since 1980.
  • Of those 47 players, 12 players won.
  • Of those 12 winners, 6 players won by shooting par or better, but lets forgot about the 12 winners and focus on the other 35.
  • Of the 35 players left over that didn’t win the U.S. Open here are the results if they would of shot even par over the course of the final 36 holes:
  • 2 would of lost by 3 shots (Joey Rasset and John Mahaffey in 1983)
  • 1 would of lost by 2 shots (George Burns in 1981)
  • 3 would of lost by 1 shot (Bruce Devlin in 1982, Tom Lehman in 1997 & Vijay Singh in 2003)
  • Now of the 29 others
  • 7 would of forced a playoff
  • 3 would of won by a shot
  • 13 would of won by 2 shots
  • 1 would of won by 3 shots (Payne Stewart in 1998)
  • 1 would of won by 4 shots (Ricky Barnes in 2009)
  • 2 would of won by 5 shots (T.C. Chen in 1985 & Greg Norman in 1995)
  • 2 would of won by 6 shots (Gil Morgan in 1992 & Steve Stricker in 2006)

The reason those 35 players didn’t win?  Instead of shooting even par, the 35 averaged 7.5 shots over par for their final 36 holes.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

Let’s narrow the years,  You will notice that between 1980 and 1983 there were four guys that didn’t win. So here is the new premise:

Since 1984, of the 31 players that had the 36 hole lead or a share of it (does not include the 11 that led or co-led and went on to win), if the 31 would of shot even par over the last 36 holes, only two of them would have lost, while seven would of tied forcing a playoff, while 22 would of won.  So you can say that of the 31 of the 29 would of either won or tied.

Phil Mickelson and Friday the 13th

Growing up a Dodger fan, I remember that good old saying “Wait until next year”  That was reserved for the Brooklyn Dodgers who for a decade got to the World Series and lost, until 1955.

Since 1999 when Phil Mickelson lost to Payne Stewart we have been saying the same thing about Mickelson, who can’t seem to win.  He has been runner-up six times and he probably won’t make it a seventh time as 70-73 and is 13 shots back.  For Phil it’s easy to see why he is 13 back, he has taken putts 65 putts that rank T135th in the field.  He has taken 11 more putts than Kaymer so you can see why he is so far back.  Mickelson has also had four three-putt greens, again a disadvantage to Kaymer, who hasn’t made a single three-putt.  For Mickelson he has made eight bogeys, seven more than Kaymer and only five birdies, six less than Martin.  So you can see why Mickelson is so far back.

Can he make up the 13 shots, of course he can.  He can go shot 65-65 while Kaymer shots 70-73, but Phil has 27 players ahead of him, that is a big disadvantage.  In U.S. Open history, only one champion has been behind double digit and that was Lou Graham in 1975. He was 11 back of Tom Watson and T-26th, shot 73-71 to tie John Mahaffey and beat him in a playoff.  So you can see the odds are way stacked up on Phil.

So I guess we have to bruise off the old “wait until next year” slogan again for Phil, too bad.  It’s a shame that I have been waiting for this weekend since Phil won the British Open and he isn’t even close.

Below is a list of the top-43 players on the leader board going to three over which is 13 shots back of Martin Kaymer

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Of the top-43 on the leaderboard, who is playing the best: for the U.S. Open

Player FedEx Lyoness Open Memorial Nordea Masters Colonial BMW PGA Byron Nelson Open Espana The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage
Rory McIlroy
(326.33 pts)
DNP DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP Win
(198)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Martin Kaymer
(233.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(57)
T29
(14)
DNP Win
(132)
T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP T23
(9)
Adam Scott
(224 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jim Furyk
(216 pts)
DNP DNP T19
(31)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(100)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
Brendon Todd
(205.33 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T38
(4)
Hideki Matsuyama
(203.67 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(27)
T38
(8)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Henrik Stenson
(191.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 5
(70)
DNP T7
(82.5)
DNP DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Francesco Molinari
(176.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T7
(82.5)
DNP T24
(17.33)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP 4
(26.67)
DNP
Chris Kirk
(174 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
Justin Rose
(170.83 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP 25
(37.5)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
5
(46.67)
T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP
Jordan Spieth
(168.33 pts)
DNP DNP T19
(31)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
Matt Kuchar
(138.67 pts)
DNP DNP T15
(35)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
Kevin Na
(120 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(12)
T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Ian Poulter
(119.33 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(36)
DNP DNP T65
(0)
DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Billy Horschel
(115.67 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(24)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T68
(0)
Dustin Johnson
(102.67 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP T46
(4)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jimmy Walker
(102 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(40)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP T6
(60)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Victor Dubuisson
(100 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Steve Stricker
(97 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Gary Woodland
(97 pts)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T11
(39)
T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Brendon De Jonge
(92.67 pts)
DNP DNP T28
(22)
DNP T30
(20)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP 70
(0)
T6
(40)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
J.B. Holmes
(91.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T75
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
Win
(88)
T11
(13)
DNP T18
(10.67)
Webb Simpson
(88 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP
Marcel Siem
(77.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(82.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP
Phil Mickelson
(56 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP T49
(1)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP
Scott Langley
(36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(16)
T38
(8)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T38
(4)
Graeme McDowell
(35 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T62
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
Keegan Bradley
(33.67 pts)
DNP DNP T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(14)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP
Danny Willett
(27 pts)
DNP DNP DNP WD
(-5)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP
Erik Compton
(22.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP T68
(0)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the top-43 on the leaderboard, who isn’t playing well: for the U.S. Open

Player FedEx Lyoness Open Memorial Nordea Masters Colonial BMW PGA Byron Nelson Open Espana The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage
Patrick Reed
(-22.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T48
(0.67)
Shiv Kapur
(-18.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Garth Mulroy
(-18.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Kenny Perry
(-10 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Lucas Bjerregaard
(-0.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(3)
DNP DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(0.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T45
(5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T48
(2)
DNP DNP DNP T74
(0)
Jason Day
(13 pts)
DNP DNP T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Aaron Baddeley
(13.67 pts)
DNP DNP T37
(13)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Seung-Yul Noh
(17.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
Win
(44)
DNP DNP
Brooks Koepka
(19 pts)
T19
(31)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP DNP
Rickie Fowler
(21.67 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T77
(0)
T38
(8)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Erik Compton
(22.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP T68
(0)
Danny Willett
(27 pts)
DNP DNP DNP WD
(-5)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Goodbye to ESPN

Hard to believe that this will be ESPN’s and NBC’s last U.S. Opens.

Guess in the age of big money, power and how well you can promote something to bring your product to a different age demographic has become more important than years of great service.  For NBC, they will sign off after 20 stellar U.S. Open shows dating back to Shinnecock in 1995.  For ESPN, they have been a part of the U.S. Open scenery for 32 years going back to 1982.

As for me watching ESPN doing their last U.S. Open today reminded me of the first U.S. Open that was produced in 1982.  I was a part of it, working in graphics for ABC Sports and remember how uncomfortable that one was for not only the ABC but the very young ESPN crew.  ABC golf producer Chuck Howard was dead set against it and thought it would ruin the way they do the Saturday and Sunday shows.  So there wasn’t much cooperation from Howard and the drama was more on trying to get the show done.  ABC was in the process of buying 20% of ESPN and to get things going the thought was that it would be good to put the U.S. Open on TV Thursday and Friday.  I am not 100% sure, but pretty sure that Frank Hannigan, who was running the USGA then, told me that the USGA was willing to not take a fee that first year because they wanted the exposure that being on the air would give. Despite the problems and having to deal with Howards rants about every minute or so the show went on and golf on Thursday and Friday would become a norm right after that.

For me personally it was a bonanza that I cashed in big time 13 years later.  I had to deal with the ESPN graphics folks who were very young, knew zero about golf and had very little television experience and weren’t getting much help from Howard.  Little at the time did I know that a person that I helped at the time, a young production assistant by the name of Steve Anderson would 13 years later run ABC Sports and help me at ABC Sports.

Since Pebble Beach, ESPN has gone on to become an iconic part of America lifestyle.  It’s no secret that ESPN is not a fan of golf, no longer bidding for PGA Tour events. and not interested much in golf after losing the USGA package.  They have the British Open through 2017, but I have heard rumors that they wouldn’t mind giving up the package after next year at St. Andrews, if NBC/Golf Channel (or anyone else) would be willing to make a deal.  So in the near future Golf on ESPN may only be the first and second rounds of the Masters, a shame for such an iconic broadcaster and a shame for golf fans.

Who to watch for at the U.S. Open

Best Bets:

Martin Kaymer

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T59 T15 T39 T8 CUT T53

Sorry but he has to be the lock of the century. He is very cool and calm and I can’t see him losing. If I was to gauge this on a 100% scale, I would give him a 90% chance of winning. Of course we have seen six shots get overcome, but the thing in Martin’s favor is the people close to him. You think that Brendon Todd, Kevin Na and Brooks Koepka have the fire power to win? No way. Yes Brandt Snedeker can but he is seven back, Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson have a chance but this are eight back. Sorry you don’t want to spot a guy like Martin Kaymer a eight shot lead.

Those that can make a run:

Brandt Snedeker

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T17 T11 T8 CUT T9 T23 CUT

Been very consistent this week with rounds of 69-68. The last we saw of Brandt he shot 130, just like Kaymer at the 2012 British Open and played terrible over the weekend. So if he could reverse it and shot say 67-67 and Kaymer shots even par Snedeker will be just one back. So we shouldn’t give up on him

Dustin Johnson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
55 CUT T23 T8 T40 T48

We have seen him before in U.S. Opens, playing well in the beginning and falling back over the weekend. Just click his U.S. Open record to the right, yes he has been her before. So he is eight back and can free-wheel it, maybe, just maybe he can make up the ground

Keegan Bradley

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T68

Another person that can go low and knows he can do it. Of the three players on this list I give them a 2% chance of winning.

Needs to go really low but they have the fire power

Rory McIlroy

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T41 CUT Win CUT T10

He is nine back but that can be made up with rounds of 66-66. He does that, Kaymer shots 71-71 and guess what, we have that dreaded Monday playoff. Rory shot 68 on Friday so he is going in the right direction. I have 4% left on my predictions, I give it to Rory.

Matt Kuchar

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T28 T27 T14 T6 CUT T48 CUT CUT CUT

He proved to us at the RBC Heritage that he can make up a big disadvantage. He needs to go low the next two days

Jordan Speith

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Who knows, being 20 can make a nine shot defiant look like just 2 or 3 behind. I don’t think of him as a player that can go low, guess we will so

Adam Scott

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T45 T15 CUT CUT T36 T26 CUT T21 T28 CUT CUT CUT

Just like Speith, don’t see him as a player that can shoot 65-65 and at even par that is what it will take for him to make a run at it.

Wait until next year:

Phil Mickelson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T2 T65 T54 T4 T2 T18 CUT T2 T33 2 T55 2

Sorry 13 shots is too much to make up, even for Phil. But we have seen other stunners in sports before with teams making that last second 101 yard run into the end zone for victory, so we can’t count Phil out, even though he has like a one in 100 chance of winning.

Comments

  1. Doug Weingartz says:

    I’d miss ESPN if they actually had a current broadcaster doing golf who wasn’t Chris Berman. God almighty, I can’t stand listening to him. Football…he’s ok at. I find myself wincing at the first utterance I hear from him….horrible!

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