2014 US OPEN Golf Tips
Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, North Carolina, June 12th-15th 2014 > No.2 Course, 7,562 yards, par 70
So we reach the second major of the year, the traditionally tough test of the US OPEN – this is a tournament often won by a player who can manage the 72 holes around par or just under, bar the demolition jobs by Tiger in 2000 at Pebble Beach and Rory in 2011 at Congressional, as you don’t normally get a birdie barrage in this week.
This is a terrific course and one which has hosted many big tournaments, it demands all that you would expect of the top pros in a major; over 7,500 yards and a par 70 so it will really test these guys out. There have been some changes since it last hosted the US Open in ’05 and they could make a difference as the rough has pretty much gone and has been replaced by the original sandy waste areas; these are populated by wire grass, native grasses and pinestraw so there will be a fair bit of luck involved this week with lies. The greens are slightly raised (upturned bowl shape) so expect to see many approaches roll off into the hollows. Long driving, accurate approach play and scrambling will definitely be a plus here!
Tiger is missing but we have the other 59 of the world’s top 60 which is great news. 53 rookies also pepper the big field this year so it has a bit of everything and the only problem is the weather forecast of heat, humidity and thunderstorms.
The official site is here > US Open website
Now a US Open usually means you start looking for players that have the ability to grind out a win, nothing too spectacular but more a solid, tight game with the mental strength to deal with the harshness of the course and not get too stressed or caught up in the whole week. Add in a good putting week and that’s the base requirements for a potential winner. Pinehurst will see distance off the tee and scrambling added as major components and as usual being a major, expect a winner who has experience and tour wins previously.
Bubba WATSON – playing great golf this year and the course should suit as he will no doubt hit it miles and if he gets the breaks, it could be hard to stop him. He has picked up more confidence and although his scrambling isn’t the best, he can make light work of good courses as evidenced by his Masters wins, 19 on BF isn’t bad for a player who has posted 2,1,2,1,3 in his last 7 appearances
Matt KUCHAR – Won the RBC Heritage 5 appearances back and has the ideal game for this course; suited, capable and needing to notch a major as his talent and consistency really demand more. Great scrambler and with solid striking and a cool head, he could just post a score that is hard to beat and sneak his first major, 32 on BF
Martin KAYMER – despite being 49 over par in the last 6 yrs he has played US Opens, he should go well here, more so as he is back in the groove having triumphed at The Players this year. A great all-round game and a really straight hitter, Kaymer may have found the solution to his woes and be heading back where he belongs, in the World top 5, 44 on BF
Jason DUFNER > although his stats aren’t great, he finds a way to get it done and could be worth watching as he looks to back up his initial major success, 50 on BF is enough to tempt me in
Chris KIRK – in good form and has posted a couple of decent efforts in big tournaments; could be a chance for him to grab some of the limelight and having posted 9 top 30s or better this year, he has shown solid consistent form. In a good vein currently and with his putter working really well, he is a lively shout at a good price for me at 140 BF
Jonas BLIXT > a golfer I back a lot and has already done well for me with two PGA Tour wins and a terrific effort at the Masters this year – another great scrambler and no reason why he can’t impress again here and at 120 BF, a juicy price as well
A few others who I expect do well are:
Hideki Matsuyama > Picked up his first US PGA tour win just 2 weeks ago at Memorial and confirmed what many had been expecting (I backed him earlier this year a bit but missed that one!) – yet another one who can scramble well generally and a huge amount of potential, 50 on BF is a bit low however so I may keep an eye on this price and invest if it rises a bit
Brendon Todd – Another player who has made a breakthrough this year – I have backed him a few times this year (see previous SBB posts) so was very pleased he cracked it at a decent price and became another first time tour winner; good scrambling and confident so worth backing with a view to trade perhaps, 110 on BF
Kevin Na > always been a great putter and another who scrambles really well, in fact has a great short game full stop – lost 2 weeks ago to Matsuyama in a playoff when looking for his 2nd tour win; a player who should have done better than he has probably – worth watching to see if he starts well, 160 on BF