Course form data is not going to help you with the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. The recent addition to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places will host its first U.S. Open since 2006 and second PGA Tour event since 1997 when the players descend on the course for the second major of 2020.
The U.S. Open is generally played in June, but COVID-19 popped up. The amazing thing is that this event will technically be part of the 2020-21 PGA Tour season, which started last week in the Safeway Open. This is a $12.5 million prize pool and $2.25 million goes to the winner, so just about all of golf’s best are on hand for this one.
One name missing from the odds board is Brooks Koepka, who is rehabbing an injury, but it is a fully locked and loaded field otherwise. We’ll break it down with some odds from MyBookie Sportsbook and you can find the entire list down at the bottom of the article.
A who’s who of golf is on hand for the 120th U.S. Open. The criteria to qualify is sort of all over the place, but you’ve got your usual suspects with past major champions, the best players in the Official World Golf Ranking, and all that. You also have top finishers from various events throughout the season, including U.S. Amateur, U.S. Junior Amateur, and U.S. Mid-Amateur events.
There are a lot of players in this field that couldn’t win this tournament with a 20-shot handicap, but they get the chance to participate and that’s still great for them and great for the game of golf. This is a huge field, though, and with a cut line expected to be above par, a lot of players won’t make the weekend and will have ugly scores.
This is going to be a remarkably challenging U.S. Open. The U.S. Open has been held here six times. Only once has the winning score been under par. Geoff Oglivy won here in 2006 and shot 5-over. The rough is extremely penal at Winged Foot. There are going to be instances when the ball is buried so deep that spotters and players won’t be able to find it. Some rough cuts are upwards one feet in length.
The greens are also brutal here. Many are sloped quite significantly and should be fast and firm unless the 30% chance of rain Thursday night into Friday comes to fruition. Saturday and Sunday look sunny with very little rain. Winds could pick up for later tee times on Friday, so it may be tough for some guys to make the cut late.
This is a par 70 playing nearly 7,500 yards. The West Course looks a little bit different than it did for the last one after a 2017 redesign. This is not going to be a fun weekend for the players to say the least. You have to go long, but you also have to hit fairways and you really have to hit greens, otherwise your ball may disappear in the greenside rough.
Yay or Neigh?
As mentioned, this is the first time here since 2006. Phil Mickelson was one of the runners-up that year along with Jim Furyk. Billy Horschel and Ryan Moore played here as amateurs that year. Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods were among those that missed the cut. Moore beat Luke List in the 2004 U.S. Amateur.
That’s really about all there is to say about horse for course considerations because we simply don’t have any.
Well, this is a long, long course, so ball striking will be critical, as it is most every week. Back in 2006, only one hole played under par over the four days. A lot of players are going to want to try and play uphill putts on these holes because if you wind up with a downhill path, it might roll until the following week.
Most of the guys that hit a lot of fairways are not long hitters. Hitting the ball a long way will help, but it will be especially important to stay out of the deepest of the rough. Bryson DeChambeau covers the most ground with his tee shots, making up 67.88% of the yardage of the hole last season, but he was T-140th in driving accuracy last season. Fellow big hitters like Dustin Johnson (118th) and Matthew Wolff (120th) can really put it out there and the nice thing is that they have enough club to use a fairway metal or a hybrid on some of these holes. Other players won’t have that luxury.
That brings us to a guy like Tommy Fleetwood at +3300. Fleetwood was north of 61% in driving accuracy while still being T-16th in percentage of yardage covered off the tee. Fleetwood was also 26th in SG: Putting last season. He’s got a good price here and fits the profile of a player I’d be looking to back.
Of the shorter prices, outside of the favorite, Fleetwood and Daniel Berger (30/1) are my two favorites. Berger was 17th in SG: Putting and we all know what kind of ball striker he is.
At a course this challenging, it is really hard to look down the board that far. Big long shots won’t have what it takes to tame this course over 72 holes. Matthew Fitzpatrick at 50/1 is one of the bigger shots I’d be looking to take. He was second in SG: Putting last season and 59th in SG: Off-the-Tee. I don’t know if the wedge and iron games are good enough, but Fitzpatrick was top 40 in driving accuracy.
If I had to throw one long shot bomb out there, it would be Kevin Kisner at +9000. Kisner is a masterful putter, which should come in handy here. He also hits a lot of fairways. He’ll have to be better with his irons, but if he can get there, he’s got as good of a shot as anybody to make some putts to save par, which will be a good score on most of these holes.
Those are the four I’ll roll with this week in Fleetwood, Berger, Fitzpatrick, and Kisner. I’ll also look for live opportunities heading into the weekend on guys like Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa.
Coverage of the U.S. Open will be on Golf Channel and NBC throughout the week.
Odds from MyBookie Sportsbook as of 2:30 p.m. ET on 9/14
|SI WOO KIM||+11000|
|ERIK VAN ROOYEN||+22500|
|MIKE LORENZO VERA||+25000|
|CHARLES HOWELL III||+27500|
|RAFAEL CABRERA BELLO||+30000|
|CHUN AN YU||+75000|