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KSR Golf: U.S. Open

John Mummert/USGA

John Mummert/USGA

The 2019-20 season of the PGA Tour is up and running, but it’s now time to play the second major of last season. I know that does not make any sense, but that was the hand we were dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament originally scheduled to be played on Father’s Day weekend in June is now taking place at the beginning of football season in September. It will be sports overload this weekend, but one of the most popular golf tournaments of the year should definitely get some screen time in your entertainment rooms. Sorry Jim Nantz, but it’s time to hear Paul Azinger talk about his bromance for Phil Mickelson.

Just like we have done all season, we are here to help get you ready for another exciting weekend in golf by getting you up to speed on the field and tournament while also picking out some winners.. Back at the Tour Championship, our Xander Schauffele top-10 pick was another winning ticket for and we may be rolling with 26-year-old again this weekend.

Thick Rough

Remember when Gary Woodland fired off four consecutive sub-70 rounds to claim his first major championship at Pebble Beach last season? Yeah, that’s not happening at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York.

Hitting out of the rough this weekend is going to be an adventure to put it lightly and the greens are going to have some crazy slopes and breaks. Only Fuzzy Zoeller in 1984 has played under par for the entirety of the tournament at Winged Foot so we should expect plenty of carnage as the USGA loves to challenge the best players in the world yearly.

DJ’s On Fire

Dustin Johnson is fresh off his first ever Tour Championship and he did it in blazing fashion. The world’s best golfer has led the last four tournaments he’s played in heading into Sunday with two victories and two runner-up finishes. The 36-year-old has 26 professional wins to his name and he’ll be looking for his second major championship this weekend. He’s made a lot of money in the last month.

Of course, Johnson’s only major victory occurred at the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont in the Pittsburgh suburbs and he’ll look to collect his second major this weekend as the betting favorite going off at +850. He’s the best golfer ever with only one major championship and it would be good to see him join the elite group with multiples.

Finding an Edge

Due to the crazy rough and wild greens, this week it’s going to be all about finding guys who get from the tee-to-green efficiently, but then can cash in with makes when they have to roll it in on the green. On the greens at recent U.S. Open’s, our old friend has been money with his Callaway putter.

Xander Schauffele currently has the fourth best odds in the field at 16/1 and he certainly has the game to win a U.S. Open. With Brooks Koepka out, you can easily envision this turning into a Sunday showdown with Schauffele and Johnson. The No. 7 ranked golfer in the world has finished no worse than sixth in the three times he’s competed in the event.

Picks

Can’t talk him up like that and not ride him, so Xander Schauffele is the pick to get his first major championship this weekend. He cashed with a top-10 for us at the Tour Championship and we’re jumping on the wagon with him this weekend. Schauffele ranks seventh in strokes gained tee-to-green and 33rd in strokes gained putting. That’s a good combination to have at Winged Foot.

For our top-10 selection, this feels like a good spot for Patrick Reed. The former Masters champion ranks in the top-30 on strokes gained tee-to-green and is in the top-15 in strokes gained putting. He sits at No. 10 in the World Golf Rankings and has a major championship track record with a top-10 finish on his resume for all four of the championships. Over at MGM, he is sitting at +320 for a top-10 finish and we’re sprinting to the window to make that play.

When looking at long shots, I kind of like Tommy Fleetwood as a flyer at 40/1. The No. 15 ranked player ranks in the top-30 in our key metrics for this week and is off consecutive top-five finishes at the U.S. Open. He has not played well since golf returned from quarantine, but he has every other box checked. Would not be surprised if he’s in the hunt on Sunday.

 

Article written by Adam Luckett

Twitter: @AdamLuckettKSR