A Punters Guide To The 2016 US Open Golf Championship

Generally regarded as the toughest major to pick a winner, the 2016 US Open is no different.
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Venue: Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pennsylvania 

Date: June 16 – 19

Par: 70
Length: 7,291 yards (6,601 meters)
Field: 156 players

Prize Pool: US$10,000,000

Winner: US$1,800,000

“I know that Oakmont is in the rotation and I know that if you win a U.S. Open at Oakmont, you can go ahead and say that you’ve conquered the hardest test in all of golf, because this is arguably the hardest course in America day-to-day.” – Jordan Spieth via (GolfDigest.com)

The 2016 U.S Open is being played at Oakmont, a course hosting a record ninth U.S Open. The last time the tournament was played here in 2007, the Argentinian Angel Cabrera won by one stoke from Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk. Having the distinction as being one of the longer U.S Opens for a par 70 course, the par 3 eighth measures 288 yards (263 meters), but the course’s greatest defence is its lightning fast greens and extensive bunkering. The layout has mostly stayed the same since ‘07 but the removal of almost 15,000 trees in the last nine years will make it tough amongst the players - especially if the wind picks up during the week.

Generally regarded as the toughest major to pick a winner, this year is no different.

 The Favourites

Jason Day

jason-day

Nationality: Australian
World Ranking: 1
Odds: $7.50
Form (Last 5): T27, W, T5, T23, T10
U.S Open appearances: 5
Best Result: 2nd (2011), T2nd (2013)

Why he could win:

The hottest man on tour this year with three victories, Jason will tee off on June 16 as the world number one. Leading the PGA Tour with strokes gained on the putting green and second in sand save percentage, this will prove key around Oakmont. In his five US Open starts he’s had four top 10’s and two seconds.

Can he go one better?

Rory McIlroy

Nationality: Northern Irish
World Ranking: 3
Odds: $8.50
Form (Last 5): T4, W, T4, T12, T10
U.S Open appearances: 7
Best Result: Won (2011)

Why he could win:

Coming off a tie for fourth at The Memorial and a win at the Irish Open at the K Club, Rory has got the form to be in the mix on Sunday. With three top 10s in seven appearances and a victory at Congressional Country on a ridiculously long course, the test with Rory will be with his putter. He will hit a lot of greens during the week to give himself a chance.

Jordan Spieth

Nationality: American
World Ranking: 2
Odds: $10
Form (Last 5): T57, W, T18, MC, T2
U.S Open appearances: 4
Best Result: Won (2015)

Why he will win:

Despite his meltdown at The Masters, the current defending champion is confident going into this week. Not since Tiger Woods has anyone had the form that Jordan has had in the majors. Spieth has not finished worse than fourth in the last five majors. A win at the Dean & Deluca Invitational a couple of weeks ago in his home state in Texas shows that his game is firing. Number one in putting average and birdies this season, he will give himself plenty of chances.

The Outsiders

Bubba Watson

Nationality: American World Ranking: 4 Odds: $41 Form (Last 5): T65, T43, 8, T37, T28 U.S Open appearances: 9 Best Result: T5th (2007)

Why he could win: It’s hard to think that the big hitting lefthander would be an outsider but at 41/1 he’s good value. His best result at the U.S Open was way back in 2007 when it was last held at Oakmont. His long power game will suit the course this week if he can keep it in the fairway and out of the rough. As we know with Bubba’s game, it can be boom or bust from the Florida native.

Hideki Matsuyama

Nationality: Japanese World Ranking: 15 Odds: $34 Form (Last 5): MC, T7, T11, T7, T18 U.S Open appearances: 3 Best Result: T10th (2013)

Why he could win: Despite missing the cut at The Memorial, the ultra consistent Matsuyama hasn’t been below T18 since the WGC – Cadillac Championship in early March. Results including a T7th at The Masters and The Players Championship while winning the Waste Management Phoenix earlier in the season, he certainly isn’t afraid of the big moment. Currently third in birdies made and approach to the green on the PGA Tour this season, his biggest issue will be putting around the slick greens.

Phil Mickelson

phil-mickelson

Nationality: American World Ranking: 17 Odds: $29 Form (Last 5): T2, T20, MC, T4, MC U.S Open appearances: 25 Best Result: T2nd (2013, 2009, 2006), 2nd (2004, 2002, 1999)

Why he could win: In 2006 Phil was standing on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot with a one shot lead over Geoff Ogilvy. The rest is now history and ten years later Lefty is still waiting for his first U.S Open victory. Upon completing the first practice round he said that Oakmont will be ‘the hardest course we’ve played.’ For a golfer who statistically only hits just above 50% of fairways, his strength will be in dealing with the 210 bunkers placed around Oakmont. Has Phil missed his chance to win the elusive U.S Open?

The Roughies

J.B Holmes

Nationality: American
World Ranking: 19
Odds: $81
Form (Last 5): T4, MC, T53, T13, T4
U.S Open appearances: 6
Best Result: T17th (2014)

Why he could win:

Sitting second in driving distance on tour, the course will suit J.B Holmes. Four top 10s so far this season include a recent T4th at The Memorial and The Masters; he comes to Oakmont in great form and could be a smokey this week.

Charley Hoffman

charley-hoffman

Nationality: American
World Ranking: 36
Odds: $126
Form (Last 5): T42, T12, MC, T11, W
U.S Open appearances: 4
Best Result: T45th (2011, 2013)

Why he will win:

A victory earlier this year the Valero Texas Open, Charley comes into this year’s U.S Open in career best form. Two recent top 10s and only two missed cuts this season, he is also ranked fifth in proximity to the hole from the sand, which will be helpful this week.

Rafael Cabrera Bello

Nationality: Spaniard
World Ranking: 28
Odds: $126
Form (Last 5): T52, T22, T8, MC, T16
U.S Open appearances: 2
Best Result: T47th (2010)

Why he will win:

Starting the year 114th in the world rankings, Rafa has flown up the rankings to 28th. Cabrera Bello has shown the ability to compete inside some stacked fields, finishing in the top eleven in two World Golf Championship events and T17th at the Masters. At 126/1, a couple of dollars is not the worst bet.

Remember to keep Monday free as the U.S. Open is the only one of the four major championships which retains a full 18-hole playoff the following day. Happy watching!