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BlogU.S. Open Preview and Picks

U.S. Open

September 17th – 20th, 2020

Winged Foot Golf Club (West Course)

Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,477

Purse: $12.5 million (2019 purse)

with $2,250,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Gary Woodland

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 89 of the top-100 and 57 of the top-60 in the latest Official World Rankings.  Those that are in the top-60 and not playing this week: #8 Brooks Koepka, #28 Scottie Scheffler & #58 Francesco Molinari

Last year there were 74 of the top-100 players and 60 of the top-60.

The field includes 29 of the top 30 on the FedEx point standings for 2020.  #5 Scottie Scheffler, who was planning on playing in the U.S. Open but tested positive to COVID-19 and won’t play.

26 major championship winners, led by 15-time winner Tiger Woods.  The other 26 are Phil Mickelson (5), Rory McIlroy (4), Jordan Spieth (3), Zach Johnson (2), Bubba Watson (2), Martin Kaymer (2), Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Sergio Garcia, Lucas Glover, Dustin Johnson, Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell, Collin Morikawa, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Henrik Stenson, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker, Danny Willett & Gary Woodland.

13 amateur participants are in this years field.  16 amateur participants competed in the 2019 U.S. Open (four of them played 72 holes), 20 amateur participants competed in the 2018 U.S. Open. In 2017 there were 14 amateurs in the field, in 2015, 16 amateurs were in the field and six advanced to the weekend. This is the eight consecutive year that 10 or more amateurs are competing.

Here’s a look at the amateurs in the field this year: John Augenstein, Ricky Castillo, Cole Hammer, Takumi Kanaya, Lukas Michel, Andy Ogletree, John Pak, Eduard Rousaud, Sandy Scott, James Sugrue, Preston Summerhays, Davis Thompson and Chun-An Yu.  Oh for those wondering since World War II who had the most amateurs play 72 holes it was 6 in 2015 and 1959.

The field includes 10 past champions: Gary Woodland (2017 & 18), Dustin Johnson (2016), Jordan Spieth (2015), Martin Kaymer (2014), Justin Rose (2013), Webb Simpson (2012), Rory McIlroy (2011), Graeme McDowell (2010), Lucas Glover (2009), Tiger Woods (2008, ’02 & 2000)..  Of these 10 champions they have won a total of 13 U.S. Opens

U.S. Open runners-up (12): Jason Day (2011, ’13), Tommy Fleetwood (2018), Rickie Fowler (2014), Brian Harman (2017), Dustin Johnson (2015), Shane Lowry (2016), Hideki Matsuyama (2017), Graeme McDowell (2012), Phil Mickelson (1999, 2002, ’04, ’06, ’09, ’13), Louis Oosthuizen (2015), Michael Thompson (2012) and Tiger Woods (2005, ’07)..

U.S. Amateur champions (10): Byeong Hun An (2009), Bryson DeChambeau (2015), Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013), Viktor Hovland (2018), Matt Kuchar (1997), Danny Lee (2008), Curtis Luck (2016), Phil Mickelson (1990), Andy Ogletree (2019) and Tiger Woods (1994, ’95, ’96).

USGA champions (26): Byeong Hun An (2009 U.S. Amateur), Bryson DeChambeau (2015 U.S. Amateur), Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013 U.S. Amateur), Lucas Glover (2009 U.S. Open), Cole Hammer (2018 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball), Brian Harman (2003 U.S. Junior Amateur), Viktor Hovland (2018 U.S. Amateur), Dustin Johnson (2016 U.S. Open), Martin Kaymer (2014 U.S. Open), Matt Kuchar (1997 U.S. Amateur), Danny Lee (2008 U.S. Amateur), Graeme McDowell (2010 U.S. Open), Rory McIlroy (2011 U.S. Open), Lukas Michel (2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur), Phil Mickelson (1990 U.S. Amateur), Andy Ogletree (2019 U.S. Amateur), Chez Reavie (2001 U.S. Amateur Public Links), Justin Rose (2013 U.S. Open), Webb Simpson (2012 U.S. Open), Brandt Snedeker (2003 U.S. Amateur Public Links), Jordan Spieth (2009, ’11 U.S. Junior Amateurs, 2015 U.S. Open), Steve Stricker (2019 U.S. Senior Open), Preston Summerhays (2019 U.S. Junior Amateur), Gary Woodland (2019 U.S. Open), Tiger Woods (1991, ’92, ’93 U.S. Junior Amateurs, 1994, ’95, ’96 U.S. Amateurs, 2000, ’02, ’08 U.S. Opens) and Will Zalatoris (2014 U.S. Junior Amateur).

Players in the field with the most U.S. Open appearances: (not including this year) Phil Mickelson (28), Steve Stricker (21), Tiger Woods (21), Sergio Garcia (20), Adam Scott (18), Lee Westwood (18), Matt Kuchar (17), Paul Casey (16) and Zach Johnson (16).

Active consecutive U.S. Open appearances: (not including this year): Sergio Garcia (20), Adam Scott (18), Zach Johnson (16), Dustin Johnson (12), Martin Kaymer (12) and Matt Kuchar (12).

Oldest & Youngest – Steve Stricker, at age 53 (born Feb. 23, 1967), is the oldest player in this year’s U.S. Open field. Stricker won the 2019 U.S. Senior Open on The Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame, in South Bend, Ind. Preston Summerhays, who won the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur, is the youngest at age 18 (born July 22, 2002).

Field for all ages – There are nine players in the 2020 U.S. Open field who will be 21 years old or younger when the first round begins on Thursday, Sept. 17. Preston Summerhays, the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, and Rasmus Hojgaard, who won the European Tour’s ISPS Handa UK Championship on Aug. 30, are under age 20.

There are 25 players in the field who are 40 or older. Tiger Woods, 44, won three U.S. Opens, in 2000, 2002 and 2008. Lucas Glover, 40, and Graeme McDowell, 41, captured the 2009 and 2010 U.S. Open titles, respectively. Justin Rose, 40, won the 2013 U.S. Open.

The average age of the 144-player field is 31.19.

There are 26 countries represented in the 2020 U.S. Open. The United States has 68 players in the field, while England has 13, Australia 9 and South Africa has 7.

Countries with players in the field – United States (69), England (13), Australia (9), South Africa (7), Spain (5), Canada (4), France (4), Japan (4), Republic of Korea (4), Scotland (3), Austria (2), Belgium (2), Germany (2), Republic of Ireland (2), New Zealand (2), Northern Ireland (2), Sweden (2), Chile (1), Chinese Taipei (1), Colombia (1), Denmark (1), Finland (1), Italy (1), Norway (1), Slovakia (1) and Thailand (1).

List of First-Time U.S. Open Players (36): a-John Augenstein, Danny Balin, Paul Barjon, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, a-Ricky Castillo, Thomas Detry, Lee Hodges, Rasmus Hojgaard, Mark Hubbard, Jazz Janewattananond, Marty Jertson, a-Takumi Kanaya, Kurt Kitayama, Romain Langasque, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Curtis Luck, Robert MacIntyre, a-Lukas Michel, Shaun Norris, a-Andy Ogletree, Adrian Otaegui, a-John Pak, Taylor Pendrith, Victor Perez, J.C. Ritchie, a-Eduard Rousaud, Matthias Schwab, a-Sandy Scott, Greyson Sigg, a-James Sugrue, a-Preston Summerhays, Connor Syme, a-Davis Thompson, Sami Valimaki, Ryan Vermeer, Matthew Wolff

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the U.S. Open field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the U.S. Open in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the U.S. Open.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

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

Who’s Hot in the field for the U.S. Open

Player Safeway Open Tour Champ. BMW Champ. Northern Trust Wyndham Champ. PGA Champ. WGC-FedEx St. Jude Barracuda Champ. 3M Open Memorial Workday Charity Rocket Mortgage Travelers Champ.
Dustin Johnson
(671.33 pts)
DNP Win
(198)
2
(150)
Win
(132)
DNP T2
(133.33)
T12
(19)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
Jon Rahm
(483.33 pts)
DNP 4
(120)
Win
(198)
T6
(60)
DNP T13
(49.33)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
T27
(7.67)
DNP T37
(4.33)
Collin Morikawa
(357.33 pts)
DNP 6
(90)
T20
(45)
CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(176)
T20
(15)
DNP DNP T48
(0.67)
Win
(44)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Xander Schauffele
(330.17 pts)
DNP T2
(150)
T25
(37.5)
T25
(25)
DNP T10
(53.33)
T6
(30)
DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
T14
(12)
DNP T20
(10)
Justin Thomas
(312.5 pts)
DNP T2
(150)
T25
(37.5)
T49
(1)
DNP T37
(17.33)
Win
(66)
DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
2
(33.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Kisner
(295.17 pts)
DNP 23
(40.5)
T25
(37.5)
T4
(80)
T3
(60)
T19
(41.33)
T25
(12.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 3
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
Tony Finau
(294.5 pts)
DNP 17
(49.5)
5
(105)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(106.67)
T65
(0)
DNP T3
(30)
8
(16.67)
DNP T53
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Hideki Matsuyama
(276.5 pts)
DNP T15
(52.5)
T3
(135)
T29
(21)
DNP T22
(37.33)
T20
(15)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T22
(9.33)
T21
(9.67)
DNP
Daniel Berger
(276 pts)
DNP T15
(52.5)
T25
(37.5)
3
(90)
DNP T13
(49.33)
T2
(50)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Harris English
(254.33 pts)
DNP T12
(57)
T40
(15)
2
(100)
T23
(18)
T19
(41.33)
DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
T13
(12.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Webb Simpson
(226.67 pts)
DNP T12
(57)
DNP T6
(60)
T3
(60)
T37
(17.33)
T12
(19)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP
Matthew Wolff
(212.83 pts)
DNP DNP T16
(51)
T44
(6)
DNP T4
(106.67)
T49
(0.5)
DNP T12
(12.67)
T22
(9.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
2
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Bryson DeChambeau
(210.83 pts)
DNP 22
(42)
50
(1.5)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(106.67)
T30
(10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP Win
(44)
T6
(20)
Mackenzie Hughes
(204.67 pts)
DNP 14
(54)
T10
(60)
T13
(37)
DNP T58
(0)
T44
(3)
DNP DNP T6
(20)
T48
(0.67)
DNP T3
(30)
Paul Casey
(197.33 pts)
DNP DNP T16
(51)
T49
(1)
T31
(12.67)
T2
(133.33)
T67
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
Brendon Todd
(197.17 pts)
DNP T20
(45)
T8
(75)
64
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
T17
(44)
T15
(17.5)
DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
DNP T57
(0)
T11
(13)
Patrick Reed
(194.17 pts)
DNP T8
(75)
T40
(15)
T49
(1)
T9
(30)
T13
(49.33)
T47
(1.5)
DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
T39
(3.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T24
(8.67)
Rory McIlroy
(175.17 pts)
DNP T8
(75)
T12
(57)
T65
(0)
DNP T33
(22.67)
T47
(1.5)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP T11
(13)
Tyrrell Hatton
(171.83 pts)
DNP 7
(82.5)
T16
(51)
T25
(25)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T69
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP
Viktor Hovland
(171 pts)
DNP T20
(45)
T40
(15)
T18
(32)
DNP T33
(22.67)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP T48
(0.67)
3
(30)
T12
(12.67)
T11
(13)
Jason Day
(169.67 pts)
DNP DNP 64
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(106.67)
T6
(30)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
T7
(18.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T46
(1.33)
Lanto Griffin
(166.33 pts)
DNP T18
(48)
T10
(60)
T58
(0)
DNP T19
(41.33)
DNP 58
(0)
DNP T44
(2)
CUT
(-3.33)
T21
(9.67)
T24
(8.67)
Billy Horschel
(161.33 pts)
DNP 30
(30)
T33
(25.5)
CUT
(-10)
2
(66.67)
T43
(9.33)
T25
(12.5)
DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
T7
(18.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Sebastian Munoz
(159.33 pts)
DNP T8
(75)
T8
(75)
T18
(32)
T74
(0)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP T48
(0.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Ryan Palmer
(157.5 pts)
DNP T24
(39)
T40
(15)
T8
(50)
DNP T43
(9.33)
T15
(17.5)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Joaquin Niemann
(154.5 pts)
DNP T27
(34.5)
T3
(135)
CUT
(-10)
T42
(5.33)
CUT
(-13.33)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T31
(6.33)
DNP 63
(0)
Si Woo Kim
(154.33 pts)
T44
(6)
DNP DNP T39
(11)
T3
(60)
T13
(49.33)
DNP T41
(3)
T46
(1.33)
T18
(10.67)
64
(0)
T57
(0)
T11
(13)
Kevin Streelman
(149.17 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP T51
(0)
T61
(0)
DNP T58
(0)
T35
(7.5)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
T7
(18.33)
DNP 2
(33.33)
Alex Noren
(140.67 pts)
DNP DNP T40
(15)
T8
(50)
DNP T22
(37.33)
DNP T9
(15)
T3
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Chez Reavie
(136 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP T49
(1)
CUT
(-6.67)
T75
(0)
T6
(30)
DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
T17
(11)
DNP T46
(1.33)
Jason Kokrak
(131.67 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(90)
T13
(37)
T15
(23.33)
CUT
(-13.33)
T44
(3)
DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(131 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(90)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T6
(30)
DNP DNP 3
(30)
T27
(7.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Louis Oosthuizen
(128.5 pts)
DNP DNP T25
(37.5)
T13
(37)
DNP T33
(22.67)
T6
(30)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
T65
(0)
DNP T46
(1.33)
Cameron Smith
(122 pts)
DNP T24
(39)
T20
(45)
T18
(32)
DNP T43
(9.33)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Richy Werenski
(121.67 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(45)
68
(0)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP Win
(44)
T3
(30)
DNP T35
(5)
T21
(9.67)
T46
(1.33)
Joel Dahmen
(110 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP T20
(45)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T10
(53.33)
T20
(15)
DNP DNP 74
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T20
(10)
Brian Harman
(104.33 pts)
DNP DNP T12
(57)
T11
(39)
T27
(15.33)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Cameron Champ
(104.17 pts)
DNP T24
(39)
T65
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T10
(53.33)
T25
(12.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
67
(0)
T12
(12.67)
DNP
Abraham Ancer
(103.33 pts)
DNP T18
(48)
T33
(25.5)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T43
(9.33)
T15
(17.5)
DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP T11
(13)
Patrick Cantlay
(101.17 pts)
DNP DNP T12
(57)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T43
(9.33)
T35
(7.5)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
T7
(18.33)
DNP T11
(13)
Byeong Hun An
(98 pts)
DNP DNP T12
(57)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T22
(37.33)
T12
(19)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T46
(1.33)
Bubba Watson
(88.17 pts)
DNP DNP T16
(51)
T18
(32)
DNP T71
(0)
T25
(12.5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T32
(6)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Jim Herman
(86.33 pts)
DNP DNP T40
(15)
CUT
(-10)
Win
(88)
T77
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(76.33 pts)
DNP T27
(34.5)
T51
(0)
T39
(11)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T35
(7.5)
DNP DNP 9
(15)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
5
(23.33)
Adam Scott
(74.83 pts)
DNP DNP T25
(37.5)
T58
(0)
DNP T22
(37.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Sungjae Im
(69.33 pts)
DNP 11
(58.5)
T56
(0)
CUT
(-10)
T9
(30)
CUT
(-13.33)
T35
(7.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
63
(0)
T53
(0)
T58
(0)
Justin Rose
(68.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T25
(25)
CUT
(-6.67)
9
(60)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Ian Poulter
(68.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T39
(11)
DNP T22
(37.33)
T69
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T5
(23.33)
DNP 64
(0)
Phil Mickelson
(54.67 pts)
T44
(6)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T71
(0)
T2
(50)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
T58
(0)
DNP T24
(8.67)
Adam Long
(52.33 pts)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
T49
(1)
T31
(12.67)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T52
(0)
DNP T24
(8.67)
Danny Lee
(50.5 pts)
DNP DNP T33
(25.5)
T18
(32)
CUT
(-6.67)
T71
(0)
DNP DNP T26
(8)
WD
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Troy Merritt
(50.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T29
(21)
T59
(0)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP 2
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T22
(9.33)
T8
(16.67)
T60
(0)
Corey Conners
(50.17 pts)
DNP DNP T33
(25.5)
T25
(25)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-13.33)
T30
(10)
DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
T39
(3.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Mark Hubbard
(49.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T51
(0)
T29
(21)
T15
(23.33)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP 72
(0)
WD
(-1.67)
T12
(12.67)
T37
(4.33)
Tom Lewis
(45.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T51
(0)
CUT
(-13.33)
T2
(50)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the U.S. Open

Player Safeway Open Tour Champ. BMW Champ. Northern Trust Wyndham Champ. PGA Champ. WGC-FedEx St. Jude Barracuda Champ. 3M Open Memorial Workday Charity Rocket Mortgage Travelers Champ.
Graeme McDowell
(-20.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-13.33)
T35
(7.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T35
(5)
DNP DNP
Jimmy Walker
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP T62
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(-18.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T42
(5.33)
T51
(0)
T67
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T41
(3)
Jazz Janewattananond
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Martin Kaymer
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Sung Kang
(-15.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
79
(0)
T44
(3)
DNP DNP 73
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T46
(1.33)
Chan Kim
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Marty Jertson
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ryo Ishikawa
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Shaun Norris
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T75
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Danny Balin
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ryan Vermeer
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Lucas Herbert
(-12.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T49
(0.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Rory Sabbatini
(-12.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
T66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(11)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(-11 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
CUT
(-13.33)
78
(0)
DNP T32
(6)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T37
(4.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

We have covered all of the problems of the USGA and what I think about this year’s U.S. Open in the prelude to the U.S. Open.  I still have to wonder what the real interest is going to be with this year’s U.S. Open.  Because the USGA or maybe it’s the state of New York has placed limitations on the number of media that are attending, frankly news is scarce as it seems most of the stories out of Winged Foot are Doug Ferguson, AP stories.

Have to wonder if having limited media at an event won’t hurt the USGA even more.  The PGA of America also had a limited number of media at Harding Park but made a big effort to get writers connected to their virtual site.  It’s not the same with the USGA that does have a virtual site, but it was harder to find.  Now frankly it could be that papers are putting more effort into Football and Baseball and golf are on the back burners.  When the PGA Championship was played the first week of August the only thing going was Baseball and back then golf was still very much on people’s minds.  Also would like to know how this date was picked?  Was it just whatever the PGA Tour would give them, or did someone of the USGA thinks this was good?  To be fair to them, when this decision process was being played out in May, the virus was rampant throughout New York City so maybe that was an important part, being as far away from May as they could do it with the understanding that they needed at least 144 players in the field.  Still, this date is not going to help the USGA.

Major questions that will take a bit to sort out, but the USGA is probably kicking themselves for taking this date, which is so close to the start of the NFL and some of College Football.

So on the eve of another U.S. Open at Winged Foot the one thing that will be right is the weather.  Every day is going to be perfect with the exception of Friday that has a 40% chance of morning showers.  The wind each day is going to be around 10 mph which will cause the players to think about it but shouldn’t cause havoc and make the course any harder than it is.

So who will win is the million-dollar question.  I can unofficially say this, when the course is easy you seem to get more marquee names winning.  Just look at Congressional, Rory McIlroy won, Tiger won at Torrey, Jordan won at Chamber Bay.  Then on the hard courses like Bethpage in 2009, Lucas Glover, Pebble in 2010 Graeme McDowell, and Webb Simpson in 2012 at Olympic.  Again no rhyme or reason but you get what I mean.

One last thing about this week that shows more parity. This year there are 36 U.S. Open rookies.  Things started changing last year with 39 but we have to remember that in past U.S. Opens the field was 156, this year it’s 144. Still, this is a drastic change from 2018 when 50 of the 156 players were U.S. Open rookies.  This number seems remarkable until you realize it’s par for the U.S. Open.  In 2017 there were 52 U.S. Open rookies, in 2016 there were 51, in 2014 there were 53 rookies. All of these are extraordinary numbers.  In the history of the U.S. Open, the year with the most first-timers was 86 in 1919.  That was the first Open played after World War I and the field increased in size.  If you look at the most first-timers since World War II, it was 75 in 1948.

Looking at the U.S. Opens since 1970 the most first-timers were 53 in 1977, 1980, and 2011.  Why the change is a mystery but one thing is for sure, there are more players with a chance of winning this year.

Championship information:

The inaugural U.S. Open was slated for September of 1895. However, the Open, as well as the inaugural U.S. Amateur, were delayed due to a scheduling conflict with the more popular sporting event, America’s Cup yacht races. Finally, the first U.S. Open was played on Oct. 4, 1895, on a nine-hole course at the Newport Golf and Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island. The first U.S. Open was somewhat overshadowed by the first U.S. Amateur tournament, which was played concurrently at the Newport Golf and Country Club. Its little field consisted of just 10 professionals and one amateur. Horace Rawlins, the assistant at Newport Golf and Country Club, captured the first U.S. Open. The format for the tournament was 36 holes squeezed into one day, with four trips around the nine-hole course in Newport.

In 1898, the U.S. Open switched to a 72-hole format, two days of 36-holes. For the first few years, the field was routinely riddled with amateurs as well as British and Scottish professionals. The popularity of the event dwindled until Americans began to dominate, starting with John McDermott in 1911. The U.S. Open experienced a dramatic jump in popularity in 1913 when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old American amateur, defeated famed British professionals Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in a playoff. Popularity for the U.S. Open began to soar even higher in the early 1920s. In 1922, the U.S. Open sold tickets to the event for the first time. A year later, Bobby Jones, an amateur golfer from Georgia won his first of four U.S. Opens. By 1924, an enormous influx of applicants to compete in the U.S. Open forced the USGA to hold sectional qualifying to determine who would receive an entry into the field.

In 1926, the format for the tournament was again switched. Players would play 72 holes; 18 holes on each of the first two days, followed by 36 holes on the third and final day. The changes to the U.S. Open format were paralleled by an almost systematic phase-out of the amateur player. Though amateurs still compete annually, John Goodman was the last amateur to win the U.S. Open, taking the 1933 crown at the North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois. Jack Nicklaus’s second-place finish at the 1960 U.S. Open is the best finish by an amateur since Goodman’s victory in 1933.

The U.S. Open saw relatively few changes between 1935 and 1954. In 1954, the course was roped off from tee to green for the first time, as well as broadcast on national television. Arnold Palmer’s historic comeback victory in 1960 further boosted the tournament’s popularity. But it was the 1962 U.S. Open, in which Jack Nicklaus defeated Arnold Palmer in a Monday playoff, that would catapult “America’s Championship” to the forefront of the golf world.

Over the next 18 years, from 1962 to 1980, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer combined to win four U.S. Opens. Fans flocked to the U.S. Open in droves to see the budding rivalry. In 1965, to accommodate the growing fan base, the U.S. Open switched from the three-day, 72-hole format to the current, four-day, 72-hole format.

In 1971, Lee Trevino’s victory at the U.S. Open was the catalyst as he went on to play, arguably, the three most significant weeks of golf. After winning the U.S. Open, Trevino went on to capture the Canadian Open crown, followed by the British Open crown. A feat that to this day has not been matched. Trevino, as well as the already well-established Nicklaus and Palmer, created a trio that further launched the event into the American limelight. In 1977, ABC began live coverage of the final two rounds of U.S. Open play. By 1982, upstart cable channel ESPN was broadcasting the Thursday and Friday rounds.

In 1994, the U.S. Open at Oakmont was the venue for Ernie Els’ first victory in America. Els and Loren Roberts both shot 74, while Colin Montgomerie shot a 78. Els claimed the title by defeating Loren Roberts on the second sudden-death playoff hole.  Els and a slew of other foreign champions paved the way for the first qualifying tournaments held outside the United States.

But for the masses, nothing will compare to Tiger Woods’ victory in 2000 at Pebble Beach.  First of all, it was the 100th U.S. Open. Secondly, it was held on one of the great courses in the world that comprised the beauty of an oceanside course that stunned the viewers and fans but on a tough course in which wind played an important factor. It was also perfect timing for Tiger Woods to win his first Open title in a dominating way. At 12 under, he finished 15 strokes ahead of Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez to become the first double-digit winner relative to par.  The win brought the U.S. Open into a different focus as it began its second decade of play.

Course information:
  • Winged Foot Golf Club (West Course)
  • Mamaroneck, N.Y.
  • 7,477 yards
  • Par will be 35 – 35  = 70

Based on the course setup for the championship, the Course Rating is 75.7. Its Slope Rating is 141.

Major Championships held at Winged Foot
  • 1929 U.S. Open (West): Robert T. Jones Jr. def. Al Espinosa, 294 (72-69) – 294 (84-80)
  • 1940 U.S. Amateur (West): Richard D. Chapman def. W.B. McCullough, 11 and 9
  • 1949 Walker Cup Match (West): USA def. Great Britain and Ireland, 10-2
  • 1957 U.S. Women’s Open (East): Betsy Rawls by six shots over Patty Berg (299-305)
  • 1959 U.S. Open (West): Billy Casper by one shot over Bob Rosburg (282-283)
  • 1972 U.S. Women’s Open (East): Susie Maxwell Berning by one shot over Kathy Ahern, Pam Barnett, Judy Rankin (299-300)
  • 1974 U.S. Open (West): Hale Irwin by two shots over Forrest Fezler (287-289)
  • 1980 U.S. Senior Open (East): Roberto De Vicenzo by four shots over William C. Campbell (285-289)
  • 1984 U.S. Open (West): Fuzzy Zoeller def. Greg Norman, 276 (67) – 276 (75)
  • 1997 PGA Championship (West): Davis Love shot 269 to beat Justin Leonard by five shots
  • 2004 U.S. Amateur (West): Ryan Moore def. Luke List, 2 up
  • 2006 U.S. Open (West): Geoff Ogilvy by one shot over Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Colin Montgomerie (285- 286)
  • 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (East): Benjamin Baxter and Andrew Buchanan def. Brandon Cigna and Ben Warnquist, 3 and 2

Players Who Competed in 2006 U.S. Open (16): Paul Casey (15), Sergio Garcia (MC), Lucas Glover (MC), Scott Hend (T-32), Billy Horschel (MC), Charles Howell III (T-37), Zach Johnson (MC), Matt Kuchar (MC), Graeme McDowell (T-48), Phil Mickelson (T-2), Ian Poulter (T-12), Rory Sabbatini (MC), Adam Scott (T-21), Henrik Stenson (T-26), Steve Stricker (T-6), Tiger Woods (MC).

Players Who Competed in 1997 PGA Championship (3): Phil Mickelson (T-29), Steve Stricker (Cut), Tiger Woods (T-29).

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing at Winged Foot.

The U.S. Open is going back to Winged Foot, a course that held the Open in 1929, 1959, 1974, 1984, and then 2006. The course also held the PGA Championship in 1997. The course also has held the 1940 and 2004 U.S. Amateur.

This is the 120th edition of this event, the six-time the Winged Foot is hosting a U.S. Open. The last time the U.S. Open was at Winged Foot was in 2006 and won by Geoff Ogilvy by a shot over Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, and Colin Montgomerie. Ogilvy won with a winning score of 5 over par. In the five times Winged Foot has held the U.S. Open, there have been 750 entries, and only two players have broken par for 72 holes, Fuzzy Zoeller and Greg Norman at 4 under par. In the 2115 rounds played in the U.S. Open, only 77 have broken par. Of the 750 entries, the average score is 76.30, so we can say that Winged Foot is a challenging course. Look for that trend to continue as this year’s Open.
The course will play 213 longer than it played in the 2006 U.S. Open. The most significant change will be flipping the 5th hole from a 515-yard par 5 to a 502-yard par 4. Then the 9th hole, which was a 514-yard par 4 in 2006, will be a 565-yard, par 5.
But the charm of the course is the par 3s and par 4s. Of the par 3s, three are over 200 yards, with the 3rd the longest at 243. The shortest is the 7th at 162.
Of its 12 par 4s, only two, the 6th and the 11th, will be under 400 yards. Of the rest, nine of them play over 450 yards. Of course, the fairways will be narrow, holes 6, 11, and 15. The shortest of the par 4s will be between 22 and 28 yards wide. The others will be a bit wider as the USGA will have three different rough levels to penalize shots further offline. With the heavy rains the last two weeks, the rough will be long and thick. Look for players to have a tough time playing out into the fairway in some cases.
Despite the rain, look for the greens to be bone dry. They are 6,600 square feet with a lot of undulation. They will be wicked fast. The greens are a combination of Poa annua (80%) and bentgrass (20%). They have been redone since 2006, and the restoration recaptured their original size and contours. The person who will win at Winged Foot is the one that makes the most putts from 4 to 10 feet. Since there is a lot of poa annua, the greens will be tricky to read, making it hard to make putts. Another vital part of the game will be lag putting. Players will have many putts in the 20 to 50-foot range, and with all the contours, it’s hard to cozy that long putt close to the hole. So the winner this week will be a good putter. As a major championship course is the opposite of PGA Championship Harding Park, poor putters could do well on those greens.
Still can’t stress the importance of finding the fairway off the tee and making sure to get the ball on the green in regulation.

Since we have very little data to base our conclusions for our four categories, we will take an educated guess on which stats will be needed to succeed this week at Winged Foot for the U.S. Open. Like any tough U.S. Open course, the importance is keeping the ball in the fairway and hit as many greens as possible. If you miss the fairway just a little and have a good lie in the first cut of rough, getting it on the green is possible. But from the second stage to third stage of rough the going is hard. Those with poor lies in the rough it’s best to gauge it back into the fairway and try to scramble for a par. But what gets players in trouble is trying to muscle it onto the green and most of the time they advance the ball back into the rough by the green, making the next shot impossible and then bringing the possibility of double bogey in play. So keeping it on the short grass is the key for a good week. There will be more bogeys than birdies, in 2006 U.S. Open only 344 birdies were made while there were 1,148 bogeys and 170 double bogies.

The things to watch for, Accuracy off the tee will be the key to winning at Winged Foot, not only in driving accuracy but precious iron play into the greens. In 2006 Winged Foot ranked the 4th hardest course to keep it in the fairway as the players hit 50.30% of the fairways. In hitting greens, Winged Foot was the hardest course in Greens in Regulation which makes sense Winged Foot demands great shotmaker and when you miss a green you will have to show the skill of being able to handle both sand play and pitch shots from gnarly rough around the green. In 2006 during the U.S. Open the course was 1st in Scrambling for the year as players got it up and down just 40.05% of the time If that isn’t enough, a poor putter won’t cut it on this course. The greens have a lot of undulations and mounds, so good lag putting is required along with the nerves to be able to make most of those nasty five and six-footers. When Winged Foot held the 2006 U.S. Open it played to a 74.97 scoring average which was the hardest course on tour in that year, makes sense when you think each player averaged five-shot over par for a round. I don’t expect that to happen, still, an average of around three shots per round is what I figure.

So this is based on the most important stats for the Winged Foot, based on what I feel is important, and using data from all the players in this week’s field with stats from 2020. Of course, weather plays a factor in scoring, and with the course being a tad wet from all of the rain the last couple of weeks I can see it drying out as the sun has hit it lately and the temperature has been high. I see no rain and limited wind, still the USGA has a knack of drying out greens and making them rock hard.
The most important item is keeping it in the fairway, without that you can’t score so Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee is our most important category. Next up is Greens in Regulation, you have to hit greens to score well on the course. Now our third category is Scrambling just because all players will miss greens and it’s important to get it up and down for par when a green is missed. Our last category is strokes Gained Putting. This is a great way in determining how a player does overall on the greens and since putting is a key to winning at Winged Foot I don’t see any stat better to end this stat look with.

*Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee: This determines how many strokes are saved or wasted in driving off the tee, figuring hitting the fairway and hitting it far.

*Greens in Regulation: Number of greens hit from the fairway or rough.

*Scrambling: This stat figures out who gets it up and down the most when green is missed.

*Strokes Gained Putting: This is a great way in determining how a player does overall on the greens by determining the length of the putt and calculating the percentage the player should make the putt and coming up with stroke figure.

Of the 144 players in the field, 83 have stats on the PGA Tour for 2020:

One other keynote.  This was done on Monday afternoon and I updated the field based on the withdrawals of Brooks Koepka, Sam Horsfield and Scottie Scheffler.  There were replaced by  Paul Waring (has no stats), Rory Sabbatini, and Branden Grace.

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is a link to show all 83 players with 2020 stats for the U.S. Open.

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Dustin Johnson – $11,500
  • Jon Rahm – $11,000
  • Justin Thomas – $10,700
  • Rory McIlroy – $10,500
  • Xander Schauffele – $10,100
  • Collin Morikawa – $10,000
  • Bryce DeChambeau – $9,900
  • Webb Simpson – $9,700
  • Patrick Cantlay – $9,400
  • Daniel Berger – $9,200
  • Tony Finau – $9,100
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $9,000

Powerful field with a lot of guys to choose from.  Now the difference with this week is the course.  Winged Foot is the hardest course they have played in a while.  But players got to play the toughest course of 2020 at the BMW Championship.  Olympia Fields played the same way that Winged Foot is going to play, a long course with demanding driving to keep the ball in the fairway, with tour greens to hit and putt.  So look seriously how a player did three weeks ago to see how they will play this week.  Of course, Dustin Johnson is the favorite at $11,500.  All I can say is that despite the high price, Johnson is going to play well this week.  He is showing that he is hard to beat, in his last four starts he went runner-up, win, runner-up, and win.  Johnson is also a player that when he plays well, it just gets better and it will take an act of God for him not to play well.  We saw Johnson play like this in 2017 and it ended at the Masters when he fell downstairs in his rental house and wasn’t able to play in that Masters.  I can only bet that Johnson is staying in a house this week with no stairs.  Still Johnson plays well on tough courses, he won his only major at Oakmont in 2016 and that course is as hard as Winged Foot.  So we can bet the farm that Johnson will be in contention this week.  As of Jon Rahm at $11,00 I say not risk the money.  It’s not that he isn’t playing well, I just don’t think Rahm will be able to handle this course.  He struggles to play well on course with rough, even though his two wins are at Memorial and Olympia Fields which had rough.  Still, Rahm does well in short, three weeks spurts and I think his spurt is behind him and I am betting he won’t play well.  I think Justin Thomas at $10,700 will do well despite struggling in past U.S. Opens.  Now I am all over Xander Schauffele at $10,100.  He has a great record in the U.S. Open finishing T-3rd last year, T-6th in 2018, and T-5th in 2017.  He played well at East Lake, another demanding course so I can see good things from Schauffele.  Now I don’t see good things our of Collin Morikawa at $10,000 and Bryce DeChambeau at $9,900.  Winged Foot has some really hard greens to putt on and I don’t think Morikawa can handle them.  As for DeChambeau, sorry but his long ball game just won’t cut it when half of his drive is in the rough.  We saw this play out at the PGA Championship.  Webb Simpson at $9,700 is a tough call.  Yes, he is a past winner of this championship and yes has had a great year.  But I was seriously disappointed with his play at the Tour Championship and have to wonder if he can regain the form he had a month ago.  So be careful with him.  As for Patrick Cantlay at $9,400, I think his game will be good for Winged Foot and he will play well.  I just don’t think he can win, yes a top-ten and possibly a Top-five but no victory.  Daniel Berger at $9,400 I have a problem with, the facts are he plays great in the south and not as good up north but he did finish T-3rd at the Northern Trust, so maybe.  I like Tony Finau at $9,100, yes he missed the cut last year at Pebble but was 5th in 2018.  Think he will be good for a top-ten, but no win.  Hideki Matsuyama at $9,000 is another who’s tee-to-green game is the best, but he can’t putt these kinds of greens.  He too could be a good top-ten, but nothing more.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Tommy Fleetwood at $8,900 will be a popular pick, but I am staying away from him.  Hasn’t played great since the break until last week with his T-3rd in Portugal.  But the travel to New York will be hard and I just don’t think he will do great.  Now Jason Day at $8,800 is one that could be good, normally if his back is not a problem he would contend on this type of course.  He missed the cut at the Northern Trust and finished 64th at Olympia Fields which doesn’t help him, still think he spent the last two weeks working on his game and he will be good.  Adam Scott at $8,700 is a great sleeper pick, think he will do well on this course, again he has the chomps from tee to green, but can he putt will be the question.  Watch out for Patrick Reed at $8,500.  He does great on these old-style, Tillinghast courses and this is a course he will do well on.  Also high on Matthew Fitzpatrick at $8,000, he plays tough courses well and was T-12th last year at Pebble and in 2018 at Shinnecock.

Some of the “bargains” this week at the U.S. Open

Hard to find “bargains” at the U.S. Open but here is a couple.  First I like Sungjae Im at $7,500, think his game is coming around and he can play well on this course.  I know he is George of the Jungle and hasn’t played well but Phil Mickelson at $7,300 will catch some folks, yes this is probably going to be his last U.S. Open unless he wins again.  Matt Kuchar at $7,200 can surprise us, again a great record on old-style courses.  Lee Westwood at $7,000 could come alive and Chez Reavie at $6,900 is one to watch.  Have to also think that Sebastian Munoz at $6,600 is a bargain, he played well at BMW Championship

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the U.S. Open:

  • Since 1960 only nine players have made the U.S. Open their first PGA Tour victory; Jack Nicklaus, 1962; Lee Trevino, 1968; Orville Moody, 1969; Jerry Pate, 1976; Ernie Els, 1993, Retief Goosen, 2001, Michael Campbell in 2005, Angel Cabrera in 2007 and Graeme McDowell in 2010.  But take a look at that list. Jack Nicklaus and Jerry Pate were U.S. Amateur champions, Retief Goosen, and Ernie Els had almost a dozen wins around the world before they won the U.S. Open and Lee Trevino became one of the greatest players in the world.  Michael Campbell, Angel Cabrera, and Graeme McDowell won a lot around the world, especially in Europe.  Dustin Johnson won a lot of the PGA Tour. So of these first-time winners, you have Orville Moody, who went on to win the Senior Open but still wasn’t that great of a player.  The point here is looking for a big name to win the U.S. Open.
  • So could that open the door for another first-time winner?  Probably not, of the 36 first-timers, I don’t see one that could win, lots of good players and prospects for the future but not today.
  • Ten years ago the 41-year streak of not having a European Tour player winner was finally broken by Graeme McDowell.  Since then the floodgates have opened as other Europeans as Rory McIlroy won in 2011, Justin Rose in 2013, and Martin Kaymer in 2014.  With the course being so hard, don’t be surprised if another European wins this year.
Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

So what will it take to win at Winged Foot?

  • The major key is being great with the driver, the combination of driving it straight and long.  Success is hitting off of fairway grass, if your in the rough your asking for trouble.
  • If you are in the rough and your ball is deep, forget the ego trip, grab a wedge and gauge it back into the fairway.  Those that gamble from the rough bring double bogey or worst into play.
  • Not only is it important to put your next shot from the fairway on, but also make sure to put it on the right side of the hole.  Green has lots of undulation and if your on the wrong side, the putt is near impossible.  Keeping it on the right side makes life a lot easier.
  • For this week par is the players’ best friend.  Winged Foot is a long, tedious battle in which boredom can spell disaster, so make sure to play for par and even though Birdies are hard to come by, you can still make them.
  • The players that manage the weather will have the advantage.  It will start out on Thursday to be perfect, in the low 80s with very little rain.  But a front moves in on Friday with temperatures in the mid-60s the rest of the way.  Good news, not much in the way of wind.
  • Experience and getting to know the course is very important.  Caddies always are important for players, but this week will be more important in helping players judge not only the shots into the green but helping with breaks on the greens.
  • Another important thing to remember about Winged Foot is having a lot of patience.  Each week these players compete in an environment in which you make a birdie every fourth hole or a total of five to six times a round. There is only one easy par 5 at Winged Foot (The 9th), still, it will be hard to make birdies and the players will just have to be happy with a bunch of pars.
Hitting to the greens, how tough?

A lot will depend on if the pin is tucked away close to a bunker or hard to get close.  It’s always important to remember the undulations of the greens and players will have to take that into account when preparing for a shot.  A player has to be smart; there is a lot of danger around the greens, so you have to make sure a shot is to the right part of the fairway to give you proper access.  The greens will also be hard (unless rain makes them too soft), so lots of shots won’t hold the greens and roll off into a hard situation.  Sometimes getting it up and down from rough off the grass will be hard, the same with greenside bunkers, they won’t be easy to get up and down from.  I think that a person that scrambles well will be the winner this week.

Is there any rhyme or reason for a player winning the U.S. Open?

No.

In the past 30 years, it’s been won by grinders like Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Angel Cabrera, and Graeme McDowell, who may not look pretty but knows how to place shots in the right spots.  There have also been superstars like Tiger Woods, who were expected to win.  It’s been won by great tour players like Tom Kite and Corey Pavin, who capped off their PGA Tour careers with their first win in a major.  It’s been won by up and coming stars like South African’s Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer, Retief Goosen, and Geoff Ogilvy, who won it in 2006.

Who can forget the stars that many thought were past their prime, like Payne Stewart and Hale Irwin?  It’s also been won by tour grinders like Lee Janzen and Webb Simpson. Last but not least the stray qualifier like Steve Jones, who surprised the golfing world with his victory in 1996, plus Michael Campbell in 2005, who was contemplating not going to U.S. Open qualifying the night before.  How about 2009 winner Lucas Glover, you show me a person that had a winning Lucas Glover ticket, and I will show you my winning Irish sweepstake ticket.  In past Opens, we said that it was a wide-open field.  But I feel that only the best will contend this week.

Who to watch for at the U.S. Open

Best Bets:

Dustin Johnson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T35 3 CUT Win T2 T4 55 CUT T23 T8 T40 T48

Has to be everyone’s pick, the last time a favorite was this popular was at the 2002 U.S. Open won by Tiger. When Johnson gets on a roll like this, near impossible to beat. The great thing is that no matter how much he is on everyone’s radar scope it won’t bother him. The only way he doesn’t win is if he beats himself which is rare from him.

Xander Schauffele

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T3 T6 T5

Remarkable record in the U.S. Open, T-3rd last year, T-6th in 2018, and T-5th in 2017 he is really tough on tough courses. He has played well of late, T-2nd at the Tour Championship, T-6th at WGC-FedEx St. Jude, was T-10th at PGA Championship has missed just one cut back in January at Farmers.

Justin Thomas

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT T25 T9 T32 CUT

Has struggled at the U.S. Open, only one top-ten was T-9th in 2017. Missed the cut last year. You have to think he is ready to pounce, was T-2nd at the Tour Championship, T-25th on tough BMW Championship course, won WGC-FedEx St. Jude.

Best of the rest:

Rory McIlroy

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T9 CUT CUT CUT T9 T23 T41 CUT Win CUT T10

Won the U.S. Open in 2011 on a course similar to Winged Foot. Yes, his game has been erratic since the break, but now that the baby is home, Rory can get back to normal again. His play has been very upside, down but has made the cut in every 2020 event and was T-8th at Tour Championship.

Webb Simpson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T16 T10 T35 CUT T46 T45 T32 Win T14

Past U.S. Open winner in 2012, was T-16th last year and T-10th in 2018. Won at Hilton Head and was T-12th at Tour Championship has played well since the break only shooting one round over par in his last 20 rounds.

Hideki Matsuyama

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T21 T16 T2 CUT T18 T35 T10

Was T-2nd in U.S. Open in 2017, T-10th at Merion in 2013. His game has come along and if he can make some putts could contend. Was T-3rd at BMW Championship and T-15th at Tour Championship.

Solid contenders

Daniel Berger

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T49 T6 CUT T37 T28

Was T-49th last year, T-6th at Shinnecock in 2018 be the question is if he can play in the northeast. Won Colonial, T-3rd at Hilton Head, T-2nd at WGC-FedEx St. Jude, 3rd at Northern Trust, and T-15th at Tour Championship.

Patrick Cantlay

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T21 T45 T41 T21

In two U.S. Opens T-21st last year, T-45th in 2018. A bit disappointing for a guy that should do well on tough courses. Was T-13th at Memorial, T-7th at Workday, and T-12th at BMW Championship.

Matthew Fitzpatrick

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T12 T12 T35 T54 T48

Was T-12th in last year and 2018 U.S. Open has the sneaky type of game to do well on tough courses. Played well at BMW Championship finishing T-6th on that tough course, was 3rd on another tough course at the Memorial

Guys that many won’t think about but have a good chance this week:

Tommy Fleetwood

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T65 2 4 T27

Has had good moments at the U.S. Open: 2nd in 2018, 4th in 2017 was T-65th last year. Has not played up to his level of play since the break, was T-3rd last week in Portugal, shot a final-round 64.

Tony Finau

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT 5 CUT T14

Missed cut last year at U.S. Open but was 5th in 2018. Game has really come along since his 8th place finish at Memorial, was T-3rd at 3M Open, T-4th at PGA Championship, and 5th at BMW Championship.

Sebastian Munoz

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT

Missed cut in only U.S. Open start in 2018. Played great in three FedExCup playoff events, T-18th at Northern Trust, T-8th at BMW and Tour Championship.

Those that on the surface look good, but be careful about them:

Jon Rahm

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T3 CUT CUT T23

Was T-3rd last year at the U.S. Open at Pebble. Usually struggles on courses with heavy rough. Is a streaky player, was T-12th at PGA Championship, T-6th at Northern Trust, and won at BMW Championship. Did finish 4th at Tour Championship despite 2nd round 74. Afraid U.S. Open week could be a tough week for him, think he has cooled off a bit.

Collin Morikawa

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T35

Was T-35th in his only U.S. Open start last year. Yes, he has won twice at Workday and PGA Championship and was 6th at Tour Championship, but I still wonder if he can putt the greens at Winged Foot which I think will be too much for him to handle.

Comments

  1. I have DJ, Rory and Fleetwood this week; thought about holding on to McIlroy until Masters and use either Rose and Morikawa; understood your comment on Morikawa putting; Fleetwood is coming off a 64 last week in Lisbon; only have the Masters left in my pool and still have Tiger, Oosthuisen, Bubba, Phil, Spieth, Adam Scott, Koepka and Woodland to choose from to win my pool for first time in 20 years.

  2. Chad, the problem with Fleetwood is the hassle he had to go through to get to New York from Portugal. As for Rory, I have been thinking for weeks that he will bust out of this funk, I am saving him for the Masters. Morikawa is a bad choice, don’t think he can handle these greens and Rose, what are you thinking? This guy has been lost most of the year.

  3. Didn’t know about his hassle – just knew he shout a 64 in Portugal on Sunday so was thinking he was coming in with good thoughts. Crap. He struggled from the get go today. So did DJ looked lost on the greens and never got anything going. Guess is it will be a totally different course tomorrow after 21 guys shot under par on Thursday. What is going on with Rose?

  4. I told not to trust Fleetwood. His game has been weird since he last played on the Florida swing. Can’t put my finger on it, but just not playing well. As for Justin Rose, who knows he may be toast, he is so lost right now it’s not funny.
    As for Dustin Johnson, a big disappointment hopefully playing in the morning will help. Have a funny feeling that during the day the course will start to dry out and for those poor guys playing in the afternoon, it could be really tough.
    They had to make the course semi-easy due to 144 getting around the course. If the greens would have been rock hard, the round would of been slower and many would not of finished. As it was the last groups finished at dusk, but they got 144 players around.
    As for the weekend, good luck. It will be the USGA revenge. Winged Foot has sub-terrian pumps like Augusta that can suck moisture out of the greens and make them bone hard. Suspect that after 8pm tonight we will hear those pumps sucking away and making Winged Foot super hard for the weekend.

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