The year’s second major has arrived as the world’s best players head to Wisconsin for the U.S. Open. It will certainly be a week of excitement (and plenty of complaining about the rough). The field is as strong as we’ll see all year; 58 of the world’s top-60 players are teeing it up this week including Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth, as well as 14 amateurs.

The storylines at Erin Hills are endless, but most headlines will surround Johnson’s first major start of 2017 (and first as a father of two) and the potential absence of Phil Mickelson. Johnson looks to become the first back-to-back U.S. Open winner since Curtis Strange in 1989, while Mickelson is in search of his first U.S. Open victory. But, as I’m sure you’ve heard, Mickelson plans to attend his daughter’s graduation in San Diego on Thursday and will need a lengthy weather delay to make his tee time.

  • Tournament Record: 268 by Rory McIlroy in 2011
  • 18-Hole Record: 63 shared by Johnny Miller (1973), Tom Weiskopf (1980), Jack Nicklaus (1980), and Vijay Singh (2003).

The Course

Erin Hills will play host to the U.S. Open for the first time this year, but the course is no stranger to holding prestigious events. It was the site of the 2008 U.S. Women’s Public Links and 2011 U.S. Amateur. The par-72 course will be the second-longest track in tournament history, just a few yards behind Chambers Bay, playing at 7,693 yards. It features treacherous rough and fescue, which players have already criticized, and difficult bunkers.

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The tee ball will be a major factor this week. Luckily the fairways are relatively generous for a U.S. Open, but any miss will be severely penalized; if the players are lucky enough to find their ball in the fescue, the best they can hope for is to take their medicine and punch out.

The opening and closing holes, both par 5s, are the ones to watch this week. No. 1 plays at just over 600 yards, but it can be reached by much of the field and is a real scoring chance. Depending on the wind, anything worse than birdie could be giving a shot back to the field. No. 18, on the other hand, is a rarity on the PGA Tour; a true three-shot hole. At 663 yards, it’s out of reach for even the longest hitters. I wouldn’t be shocked, however, to see some ill-advised attempts to get there in two; especially for players right on the cut line or those in need of an eagle late on Sunday.

Odds

Dustin Johnson is the 2017 U.S. Open favorite.
Dustin Johnson is the 2017 U.S. Open favorite.

Past champs in the field

  • Ernie Els +30000
  • Jim Furyk +25000
  • Angel Cabrera +40000
  • Lucas Glover +15000
  • Graeme McDowell +15000
  • Rory McIlroy +1200
  • Webb Simpson +17500
  • Justin Rose +2200
  • Martin Kaymer +6600
  • Jordan Spieth +1200
  • Dustin Johnson +750

Favorites

  • Dustin Johnson +750
  • Jordan Spieth +1200
  • Rory McIlroy +1200
  • Jason Day +1200
  • John Rahm +2000
  • Rickie Fowler +2000
  • Justin Rose +2200
  • Sergio Garcia +2200
  • Hideki Matsuyama +2800

Picks

The Memorial Tournament Presented By Nationwide - Final Round
2015 U.S. Open Champion Jordan Spieth is my pick to win.

My Pick – It’s hard to do, but I’m not taking DJ this week. His MC at Memorial put a little scare into me, and I have a bad feeling he’s going to slump for a few weeks. With that said, I’m going with 2015 U.S. Open Champion Jordan Spieth (+1200). Spieth usually gets into some trouble off the tee, but the generous fairways should bail him out on a few occasions and his putter has been much better over his last few starts. If he can sink a few putts early on, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get hot. On top of that, Spieth has one more advantage over the field; he competed in the 2011 U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills.

Value Pick – I’m going with Justin Rose this week at +2200. Generally, I’d go deeper down the odds list for this pick, but I don’t think Rose is getting the respect he deserves with these odds. Rose is a former U.S. Open Champion, so we know he can handle the pressure and he’s played great golf this season, most notably reaching a playoff at the Masters. The biggest knock against him is that he hasn’t won in a couple years, but that just tells me that he’s due for a W.

Long Shot – Thomas Pieters at +4000 is my long shot pick this week. This will be Pieters’ first start at a U.S. Open, but he proved his lack of experience is anything but an issue with a great performance at the Masters. He’s one of a few players who’s both long off the tee and a great putter (he averages 309.3 yards off the tee and ranks No. 11 in putt per round on the European Tour).

Props

Dustin Johnson & Jordan Spieth (+450) vs. the Field (-750): I’ll take these odds all day. Spieth is my pick to win, and DJ is the odds-on favorite. This is the U.S. Open, so anybody can win, but I’ll take my chances on this one.

Wire-to-Wire winner – Yes (+500): I’m going with “yes” here. It doesn’t happen often, but I have a feeling someone is going to get hot out of the gate and stick with it all four days. The wider fairways give some leeway off the tee, so the nerves of leading a major might be a little more subdued than a typical U.S. Open.

Top Spaniard – Sergio Garcia (+125): The trendy pick for this is Jon Rahm at +120, and Rahm definitely has the game to do it, but I’m going with experience and recent form. Garcia just won the Masters, and he has three top-5s in the U.S. Open. It’s tough to pick against that.

TV Times

June 15 (Round 1)

  • 11:00 AM-6:00 PM* (FS1)
  • 6:00-9:00 PM (FOX)

June 16 (Round 2)

  • 11:00 AM-6:00 PM (FS1)
  • 6:00-9:00 PM (FOX)

June 17 (Round 3)

  • 11:00 AM-8:00 PM (FOX)
  • 5:00-8:00 PM (FOX Deportes)

June 18 (Round 4)

  • 11:00 AM-8:30 PM (FOX)
  • 5:00-8:30 PM (FOX Deportes)

*Local Time: Central Daylight Time (CDT)

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6 COMMENTS

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  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if Spieth misses the cut. Given his propensity to push his drive miles to the right, he could have numerous unplayable shots. I would bet the farm that he is not top 5. And I’m a fan of the guy, but this is not the course for him.
    Justin Thomas is my pick to win, with Adam Scott (if he can figure out how to sink putts) a 2nd choice.

    • I’d be surprised if he MC but it’s the US Open; a few disaster holes are lurking for everyone so it’s possible. Really wide fairways for a US Open though so I think he’ll get away with more misses here than at any other Open venue. Thomas and Scott are both solid choices but didn’t quite make my cut. Love watching JT play but I like Pieters at +4000 more than JT at +3300.

    • Dude, the fairways are 75 yards in spots, and most of them they are 50 yards wide. Nobody will have any serious issues off the tee, the course is not designed that way – unless, the wind blows.
      The game is about how they attack the greens and what kind of horrible situations they get into when they miss the greens a little and the ball rolls away into the grass or the gnarly bunkers.

      • Agreed, and I’ve heard quite a few reports that say the BIG misses aren’t as bad as just rolling into the fescue – the deeper in to the fescue you get, the thinner it is.

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