By: Marcus Washington
The USGA brings their signature event to the Pacific Northwest for the first time. Chambers Bay isn’t your typical US Open set up. Chambers Bay will play more like a links course than your typical US Open course layout. The course sets up as being hard and fast. The players who can keep the ball in the fairway will fare well but the key could be the second shot not to tee shot. That makes to two key stats of the weekend, fairways hit and proximity to the hole.
Depending on the conditions, the winning score will probably be around 3 under so bogey will not be a bad score on some holes.
Rory McIlroy – Despite missing the cut in the BMW PGA and Irish Open, McIlroy still comes in as one of the favorites. His last two tournaments on US soil, he was T8 at The Players and won the Wells Fargo. Don’t believe the non-sense being spewed by some who say McIlroy can’t win on a hard, fast course. Rory is Rory and there’s a reason why he’s the best in the world.
McIlroy is ranked first Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, Strokes Gained: Total, Total Driving, Ball Striking, and All-Around Ranking.
Jordan Spieth – No one is hotter on Tour right now. Spieth is number one in scoring on Tour. Chambers Bay will be hard and fast so driving distance shouldn’t be a problem. He’s second in Strokes Gained: Total and third in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green.
Where Spieth has the big advantage is with the putter. He ranks in the top 3 in six putting categories including being first in 3 of them.
Justin Rose – Two years ago, Rose won the US Open at Merion. Chambers Bay doesn’t resemble Merion but it’s still a course Rose can be successful. He said he will use the same patient approach. Rose is second in birdies and sand saves. Both will come in handy this week.
Rose is coming off a playoff loss at The Memorial losing to David Lingmerth.
Jim Furyk – Chambers Bay could set up well enough for Furyk to be in one of the final groups on Sunday. He is 6th in driving accuracy and 1st in Proximity to Hole.
Rickie Fowler – Fowler was top 5 in all majors last year and had a breakthrough win at The Players. He has 4 top 10 finishes on Tour.
Phil Mickelson – In the last two majors, Mickelson is 29 under. That is the best in the world. His 6 second place finishes at the US Open makes him a sentimental favorite.
Ryan Moore – Moore is a “point to point” player who is a hot ball striking week away from being in contention on Sunday. He’s a respectable 38th in scrambling.
Jimmie Walker – Walker leads the Tour in Strokes Gained Putting but will need to stay out of trouble. Walker has two wins, two runner ups, and a T4 this season.
Hideki Matsuyama – Quietly, Matsuyama has seven top 10 finishes this season. He’s 3rd in both Total Driving and Ball Striking. If you’re looking for an ‘off the radar’ pick, Hideki is it.