U.S. Open Key Fantasy Stats

U.S. Open

June 15th – 18th, 2023

Los Angeles Country Club (North Course)

Los Angeles, Ca.

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,421

Purse: $20 million

with $3,600,000  to the winner

Defending Champion:
Matt Fitzpatrick

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:

The U.S. Open is going to Los Angeles Country Club for the first time. Of all the great courses to hold a major, one of the last ones to open up its doors is LACC. As we discussed in our prelude, the USGA has worked to get this gem on the schedule for decades. Between a snooty and older membership with different priorities, the club was very picky about who they took in as members and to guard their privacy. Showing how different they thought, in the 1950s, they agreed to host the 1954 Junior Amateur, followed by the 1956 U.S. Amateur. But the membership didn’t like the 3,500 outsiders roaming their fairways, and the horrified membership said no, the ’56 Amateur.
Things opened up in the late 90s as members became younger, and they wanted to show off their playground. In the 70 years since the course opened in 1928, it lost some of its luster that architect George Thomas built into it. Greens shrunk and lost some of its great hole locations. The barranca that ran through the course lost its rustic luster when they were grassed over and just became part of the fairways. Bunkers got shallowed and became easier to get out of. Trees grew and became hazards, and the shade created grass not to develop correctly. But the biggest problem, the fairways lost their lines, and thanks to over-irrigation, the fairways lost the rough that bordered them and became just one big strip of lush fairways. Since the membership was much older, having a course that lost its character and was much easier to play became desirable.
So when membership and leadership changed, they decided they wanted the original rustic course George Thomas built in the 1920s. They did their homework and called several architects who made bids based on how they felt the future of the course would be. The best of the presentations was by Gil Hanse, who got the job of renovating the old dame.
Hanse didn’t hold back as he changed all the greens, bunkers, and tees. He also brought the fairways back to the way Thomas originally built them to have a distinction between fairway and rough. Hanse also restored the barrancas, which come into play on 8 holes (2,3,4,5,7,8 & 17). Hanse made them now play as a hazard by allowing scrubs to grow and unkempt sand. Hanse worked hard to restore the greens to the way Thomas built them, and he put the bit back into the bunkers, making them hazards again. The most important aspect of the renovation was giving the course that rustic look it had lost. Tees were added to make the course in step with technology, making the course more challenging and ready for professional golfers.
The course was chosen to debut at the 2017 Walker Cup and then granted not only the 2023 U.S. Open but return in 2039.
So what does this mean for you trying to make some picks? The course is entirely unknown to most of the 156 competitors. We honestly don’t know how it will play. The course is being set up more in the style like it is being played on a links course like Shinnecock. The one aspect that we know is the winner will be a player that hits it a long way. Yes, a bomber will win. The fairways are going to be drastically wider than most U.S. Opens. Another problem is the Bermuda rough, the first time being used since Bermuda was the rough at 2004 Open at Pinehurst. May was not only cool with a marine layer (The course is seven miles from the Pacific), but the sun didn’t come out that much, and Bermuda needs sun and heat to grow correctly. So the rough may not be the way the USGA wants it. So off the bat, you have to feel that ten players have a drastic advantage. Those players include Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Cameron Young, Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott, Viktor Hovland, and defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick.
Now we can’t say that everyone is going to bomb away. On several of the holes, you have to hit a drive in the perfect place to set up your shot to the green. Then we have to wonder how those with solid iron play will do. Those players include Xander Schauffele, Jason Day, Tony Finau, Collin Morikawa, and Luke List. Hitting greens will be easy; the greens average 7,000 square feet. But the greens have different shapes, and on some holes like par 3, and 15th, the green is very long and pear-shaped. The big question is whether a great putter can overcome a weak tee-to-green game. I don’t think that is possible; players like Jordan Spieth, Max Homa, Denny McCarthy, Taylor Montgomery, Sam Burns, and Jason Day will have to be at least proficient from tee to green, but if a good putter can find ways of getting it up and down on greens missed, they could do well.

So with that said, how can we judge this course? First, we will do something we have done in other major courses to pick our four key stats. We are going to use strictly strokes gained stats. Our first is Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee because driving will be necessary. With wider fairways and the course being played over 7,420 yards, this is a bomber’s course. However, missing fairways will have a different realm of penalizing a player.
Our next stat is Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green because hitting greens is essential, and you must make sure to hit the greens. Our third stat is Strokes Gained Around-the-Green because players will miss greens, and to win, they will have to get it up and down. Last is Strokes Gained-Putting because that will be very important for players this week.

*Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee: The per-round average of the number of strokes based on the number of fairways and distance hit

*Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green: Takes into account the number of greens and the proximity to the hole in the interest of saving shots.

*Strokes Gained Around-the-Green: Number of strokes gained from shots around the green. Lot of it is scrambling and bunker play..

*Strokes Gained Putting: The number of strokes gained in putting

83 of the 156 players from this year’s field with stats from 2023. Remember, there are a lot of foreign players, LIV players in the field, plus 19 amateurs without stats:

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

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