Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Deep In The Rough: The US Open

There are 4 majors in an entire year, and the most challenging one comes this week as a very strong field takes on Torrey Pines in the US Open.  The beauty of the US Open is that it is open to anyone to attempt to qualify, so many say that it is the one chance for any amateur or pro to give the big time a real shot.  Of course, an amateur has not won since Johnny Goodman in 1933, so don't go picking Jimmy Henderson and expect to wow your buddies.

While Jimmy H might not be the answer, there are still plenty of players out there who could take this down.  The biggest story of the tournament has to be Tiger's return from knee surgery.  Many believed that this may be the year that Tiger would achieve the Grand Slam, winning every major he faced, but he already failed to win The Masters and will now be playing on a knee that is still sore in his first event since.  While I would not bet against Tiger (no one ever should) I am thinking there may be better fantasy options out there.  Torrey Pines is a long course, amassing more than 7600 yards.  It is the longest course in major tournament history, so make sure to choose the guys who can hit fairways and hit the ball a long way.

We do not have much "past data" to analyze this week, we can still look at a tournament that was played at this course earlier in the season, that being the Buick Invitational.  Tiger has owned that tournament, winning this year but a sickening 8 shots.  Still, I would pass on Tiger this week.  Other top finishers there this year at the Buick include Ryuju Imada (2nd) Stewart Cink (3rd) Justin Leonard (5th) and Phil Mickelson (6th).  All of these players would make solid picks this week, so definitely give them a look.

That being said, here are the list of players who I would consider, avoid, and pick.  Good luck to you all, and enjoy watching one of the best tournaments in golf!

Players to Consider

Tiger Woods:  Wait you said to avoid him Dave!  Yes, I did, but I did it with a bitter taste in my mouth.  This guy is the best player in the world, kills Torrey Pines, and wins major championships.  How can you not at least consider him?  Still, I don't think he wins this week, but he could...

Phil Mickelson:  Phil also kills Torrey Pines, and finished in 6th this year in the Buick.  I think he could win this week, and further more he's paired with Tiger for the first two rounds.  Don't you think he'd love to knock his teeth in early?

Justin Rose:  I keep calling for this guy to bust out, and I think he could certainly do it this week.  He had a rough start to the season, but is starting to pick it up.  He plays well in majors and the US Open specifically.

Ryuji Imada:  Imada finished 2nd here at the Buick, and did particularly well on the South Course, which is where all 4 will be played for the Open.  Pick with confidence.

Trevor Immelman:  Why not?  He won The Masters and finished 2nd last week.

Players to Avoid

Bubba Watson:  Bubba will be tempting to pick this week because of his finish last year, but um, look at his play this year.  Add in his 75-73 on the South Course at the Buick and he's a definite skip this week.

Boo Weekley:  Boo finished in 4th last week, but don't expect a similar performance this week.  He's been very inconsistent and shot 71-77 on the South Course at the Buick.

Jim Furyk:  I hate avoiding big Jim, but he has not played well here and has not cracked the top 20 in his last 3 events.

My Team:

A List:
*Phil Mickelson
Sergio Garcia

B List:
*Stewart Cink
*Ryuji Imada
Camilo Villegas
Justin Leonard

C List:
*Trevor Immelman
Luke Donald

As much as I still think Tiger can win, I'm not going with him this week.  I think Phil will win and Sergio has been hitting his driver great so who knows this could be his major.  Cink will be a good early start but will probably fade in the end.  Camilo has played very well leading up to this event (and finished 13th at the Buick) and Leonard won last week while finishing 5th at the Buick.  Trevor and Luke are the best C Listers out there, and either could bust out this week as well.

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