US OPEN at Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pennsylvania, 13th-16th June 2013
Rather than list all the information about the course and field and so on, we will link to the official website for this year’s 2nd major
So, on to the latest news and our picks then!
Weather update > A lot is being made of the likely weather as heavy rain will no doubt lengthen the (shortish) course but should also make it play more easily and thus bring a lot more golfers into contention this week.
Merion is short and favours the accurate, neat, tidy and geneeraly shorter hitters and those who can find smallish greens well and of course putt!
The weather will draw some of the sting and mean that bombers can compete by playing shorter clubs and it could boil down to a high-quality target golf contest; traditionally, this major does offer a chance for an unknown to steal some glory so always worth having a look at some of the longer priced players this week
Usually, a major will bring the cream to the top but with likely downpours again tomorrow, then there really could be a good chance of a lesser-ranked player having a ‘career’ week and featuring; if there are weather delays and it gets messy, then a lot of luck with tee times and so on could make the difference come Sunday evening
Ok, a few tips for this week >
Am avoiding a few names at the top; Tiger is a separate case as I have stated many times previously (I trade him separately to my bets and the tourney in general) and I’m looking for who I think will win and who is decent value at a big price. Tiger is obviously dominating the market (6/1 generally) and that leaves good prices on the rest of the field
Graeme McDOWELL > previous winner and made for this course; in decent form and has won twice on the US Tour (once this year) and also nabbed the World Matchplay (the Volvo event) -has won 2 of his last 4 so is hot, 2nd last yr in this.. the stats just massively point to GMac this week – the course should suit him perfectly and he is now the sort of player who can just turn up and turn it on in ‘certain’ majors for me… could well end up with 3 majors in his career and not many other wins unlike Westwood, Donald and co who can’t get it right when it matters in one of the 4 headline events each year. Currently 24 on betfair and I’m happy with that as he should win if all things go according to plan!
I think Tiger will be thereabouts but not quite sure if he is ideally suited to this course and could frustration set in as he has been in stellar form this year but he knows he is overdue another major; if he gets ahead, he could well stroll this but if he has a few bad breaks he may just get too narked to relax enough to win. On other courses he may be too good but this track really opens things up a bit
Charl SCHWARTZEL at 40 is too big to ignore price-wise – his putting needs to click if he is to win but otherwise he is bang on with the relevant stats and having the game for here – as consistent as you can get and has the big tournament temperament too – could be a big threat if he can step up the scoring a bit
Mickelson and Kuchar are clearly terrific golfers and in form and should be very popular this week – the course may not suit Phil but he could simply play calmer and tighter golf and rely on his short game but I think a top 5 perhaps at best for him; Kooch is a likely winner but almost too obvious for me; boiled down to a choice between him and GMac really here so I expect him to be top 5 or just outside
Westy Donald Rose are all again great golfers looking to nail a major eventually – it will happen probably but you can’t keep backing players that aren’t delivering in these majors as they really should – Westy might be getting closer as his move to the US to practice has really paid dividends on his short game but it’sa big step for him to clinch one – he may well need a bit of outrageous fortune to finally pick up an overdue major
Stenson is a popular longer shot this week due to his renewed good form – he has always been a great ball striker but perhaps it’s a bit much asking him to win here; Steve STRICKER is under the radar a bit too and should prosper here so is definitely worth looking at with his price looking generous at 50
Manassero is in great nick with a recent win and this course will suit him hugely, 75 isn’t bad on betfair
Kevin Streelman > 140 on betfair isn’t bad for another middle-ranked player who can the job done, perhaps gone off the boil after a win and some good finishes a while back
Ryan Moore > made for this course and in form, price is attractive at 110
Scott Stallings > in great form with a trio of recent top 5s and could be the ‘story’ here this week being a qualifier and making his debut – plenty to like about him and has shown he can compete when it gets serious (2 career tour wins) and being -27 for his last 3 events, he’s hot! 140 on betfair
Bill HAAS > really great classy guy and a top golfer – back in some good form again now and well worth looking at on betfair at 95; this guy can go places and could well be looking at a first major fairly soon – consistent performer, stats are good and is no 1 ranked for par4s which is fairly important this week
Summary > so from this bunch, I’m going with McDowell to win with Haas, Stricker, Woods and Schwartzel in the top 5 – can see Kuchar, Manassero, Stallings and possibly Westwood and Mickelson making up the top 10
Will look to trade some players and of the big prices, Baddeley at 640, Bae at 420 and Hicks at 700 all have some appeal