Best bets for the U.S. Open Championship
This past Sunday, Nick Taylor made a 72-foot eagle putt on the fourth playoff hole to become the first Canadian native since Pat Fletcher in 1954 to win the RBC Canadian Open and the first native-born Canadian to win since Karl Keffer in 1914. Taylor won his third career PGA TOUR event to keep Tommy Fleetwood, one of our tips, from winning his first. Taylor set the Oakdale CC course record on Saturday with a 63 and followed with a 66 on Sunday. Aaron Rai, another one of our tips in this column last week, finished T-3 along with Tyrrell Hatton and C.T. Pan. Eric Cole, another one of our recommendations, matched Taylor's course record with a 63 on Sunday to finish T-6 along with Mark Hubbard, another one from our pre-tournament card. We had the leaderboard covered pre-tournament except for the eventual winner.
This week, the golf world heads to Los Angeles for the U.S. Open as the L.A. Country Club hosts for the first time.
Matt Fitzpatrick (35/1) is the defending champion and cashed in for us last year at Brookline.
Scottie Scheffler (15/2) is the current OWGR No. 1 and will be the favorite this week. He has already won twice this year (WM Phoenix Open, THE PLAYERS Championship), finished T-2 in the last major championship at the PGA, finished 3rd in his last two events (Memorial Tournament, Charles Schwab Challenge), and has three other Top 5 finishes. Scheffler has not finished worse than 12th in any of his 13 events in 2023.
Jon Rahm (9/1) won the U.S. Open for this column two years ago at Torrey Pines, and now he returns to Southern California as the Masters champion. Also returning to Southern California as a major champion is the U.S. Open's last back-to-back (2017, 2018) winner Brooks Koepka (11/1), who won the PGA last month.
2011 U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy (12/1) has had a heavy burden as the PGA TOUR's main player voice in its fight against LIV Golf. McIlroy has won four times worldwide in the last 365 days, but the state of the game has clearly affected his play.
A trio of Southern California natives and OWGR Top 10 ranked players - Patrick Cantlay (16/1), Xander Schauffele (20/1), and Max Homa (33/1) - are all seeking to become first-time major championship winners.
Perhaps no player has shown up to contend more in big events, other than Scheffler, than Viktor Hovland (18/1) who earned the biggest win of his young career and cashed in for this column two weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament.
Like Fitzpatrick, Cameron Smith (30/1) comes to LA CC as a reigning major champion having won The Open Championship.
Collin Morikawa (25/1), Jordan Spieth (25/1), Dustin Johnson (35/1), Justin Thomas (35/1), Jason Day (40/1), Hideki Matsuyama (40/1), and Bryson DeChambeau (50/1) are amongst a group of past major champions looking to find their way back to the top of the game.
Meanwhile, Tony Finau (30/1), Cameron Young (40/1), Tyrrell Hatton (40/1), and Sungjae Im (45/1) are among a group of top-class players also looking for their first major triumph.
Past U.S. Open champions in the field this week include Fitzpatrick, Rahm, DeChambeau, Gary Woodland (130/1), Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Spieth, Martin Kaymer (1000/1), Justin Rose (50/1), and McIlroy.
The 123rd U.S. Open, sanctioned and governed by the United States Golf Association (USGA), comes to the Los Angeles Country Club for the first time. The last time a major championship was held in the Los Angeles area was the 1995 PGA Championship at Riviera Country Club. The LA CC has not held a professional touring event since 1940 for the Los Angeles Open (now known as the Genesis Invitational). This is the first U.S. Open held in Los Angeles in 75 years when Ben Hogan won it in 1948 at Riviera.
The $17.5 million purse is the largest of all four majors.
In line with the other majors, winning the U.S. Open gives a golfer several privileges that make his career much more secure if he is not already one of the sport's elite players. U.S. Open champions are automatically invited to play in the other three majors (the Masters, The Open Championship (British Open), and the PGA Championship) for the next five years. They are also automatically invited to play in The Players Championship for the next five years and are exempt from qualifying for the U.S. Open for 10 years.
Winners may also receive a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, which is automatic for regular members. Non-PGA Tour members who win the U.S. Open have the choice of joining the PGA Tour either within 60 days of winning or prior to the beginning of any one of the next five tour seasons.
Finally, U.S. Open winners receive automatic invitations to three of the five senior majors once they turn 50; they receive a five-year invitation to the U.S. Senior Open and a lifetime invitation to the Senior PGA Championship and Senior British Open.
The top 10 finishers at the U.S. Open are fully exempt from qualifying for the following year's Open, and the top four are automatically invited to the following season's Masters.
If the championship goes to a playoff, it goes to a two-hole aggregate score (which was adopted in 2018) and then proceeds to sudden death until a winner is decided.
This list details the exemption criteria for the 2023 U.S. Open and the players who qualified under them; any additional criteria under which players were exempt is indicated in parentheses.
1. Recent winners of the U.S. Open (2013–2022)
Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Fitzpatrick (2,11,22), Dustin Johnson (6), Martin Kaymer, Brooks Koepka (7,22), Jon Rahm (6,11,12,22), Justin Rose (22), Jordan Spieth (11,22), Gary Woodland (2)
2. Top 10 finishers and ties in the 2022 U.S. Open
Keegan Bradley (22), Joel Dahmen, Adam Hadwin, Hideki Matsuyama (6,11,22), Denny McCarthy (22), Rory McIlroy (11,12,22), Collin Morikawa (7,8,11,22), Scottie Scheffler (6,9,11,22)
Will Zalatoris (11,22) will not play.
3. The winner of the 2022 U.S. Senior Open
4. The winner of the 2022 U.S. Amateur
5. Winners of the 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur, and the runner-up in the 2022 U.S. Amateur.
Ben Carr (a), Ding Wenyi (a), Matthew McClean (a)
6. Recent winners of the Masters Tournament (2019–2023)
Tiger Woods will not play.
7. Recent winners of the PGA Championship (2018–2023)
Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas (9,11,22)
8. Recent winners of The Open Championship (2018–2022)
Shane Lowry (10,22), Francesco Molinari, Cameron Smith (9,11,22)
9. Recent winners of The Players Championship (2021–2023)
10. The winner of the 2022 BMW PGA Championship
11. All players who qualified and were eligible for the 2022 Tour Championship
Sam Burns (22), Patrick Cantlay (22), Corey Conners (22), Tony Finau (12,22), Brian Harman (22), Tom Hoge (22), Max Homa (12,22), Billy Horschel (22), Viktor Hovland (22), Sungjae Im (22), K.H. Lee (22), Joaquín Niemann (22), J. T. Poston (22), Xander Schauffele (12,22), Adam Scott (22), Scott Stallings, Sepp Straka (22), Sahith Theegala (22), Aaron Wise (22), Cameron Young (22)
12. Winners of multiple PGA Tour events from the 2022 U.S. Open to the start of the 2023 tournament
Tom Kim (22)
13. The top five players in the FedEx Cup standings as of May 22 who were not yet exempt
Hayden Buckley, Mackenzie Hughes, Taylor Montgomery, Andrew Putnam, Nick Taylor
14. The top player on the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour full-season points list
15. The top two players on the 2022 DP World Tour Rankings who were not yet exempt as of May 22
Thriston Lawrence, Jordan Smith
16. The top player on the 2023 Race to Dubai as of May 22 who was not yet exempt
Min Woo Lee
17. The top two point earners from the European Tour "U.S. Open Qualifying Series" who were not otherwise exempt
Simon Forsström, Romain Langasque
18. The winner of the 2022 Amateur Championship
Aldrich Potgieter (a)
19. The winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal in 2022
Keita Nakajima forfeited his exemption by turning professional.
20. The individual winner of the 2023 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship
Fred Biondi forfeited his exemption by turning professional.
21. The winner of the 2023 Latin America Amateur Championship
Mateo Fernández de Oliveira (a)
22. The leading 60 players on the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 22
Abraham Ancer, Wyndham Clark, Cameron Davis, Jason Day, Harris English, Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler, Ryan Fox, Tyrrell Hatton, Russell Henley, Lucas Herbert, Si Woo Kim, Chris Kirk, Kurt Kitayama, Matt Kuchar, Adrian Meronk, Keith Mitchell, Taylor Moore, Alex Norén, Mito Pereira, Victor Perez, Thomas Pieters, Séamus Power, Patrick Reed, Adam Svensson
23. The leading 60 players on the Official World Golf Ranking if not otherwise exempt as of June 12
Emiliano Grillo, Pablo Larrazabal, Adam Schenk
24. Special exemptions
There were a record 10,187 entries received. There will be 109 local qualifying events from which the leading players will progress to the 13 final qualifying events.
Walton Heath Golf Club
Jens Dantorp, Alejandro del Rey, Ross Fisher, Deon Germishuys, David Horsey, Wilco Nienaber, Matthieu Pavon
Ibaraki Golf Club
Gunn Charoenkul, Ryo Ishikawa, Ryutaro Nagano
Northwood Club and
Bent Tree Country Club
Austin Eckroat, Sergio García, Brent Grant, Paul Haley II, Hank Lebioda, Roger Sloan, Jacob Solomon (L), Carson Young
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Lambton Golf and Country Club
Ryan Armour, Ryan Gerard, Vincent Norrman
Los Angeles, California
Hillcrest Country Club
Barclay Brown (a), Charley Hoffman, Omar Morales (a,L), David Puig (L), Preston Summerhays (a)
Boynton Beach, Florida
Pine Tree Golf Club
Carlos Ortiz, Austen Truslow (L), Brendan Valdes (a,L)
Ball Ground, Georgia
Hawks Ridge Golf Club
J. J. Grey (L), Kyle Mueller (L), Gordon Sargent (a)
Woodmont Country Club
Michael Brennan (a), Sebastián Muñoz, Isaac Simmons (a,L), Karl Vilips (a)
Summit, New Jersey
Canoe Brook Country Club
(North and South courses)
Christian Cavaliere (a,L), Berry Henson, Andrew Svoboda (L), Michael Thorbjornsen (a)
Durham, North Carolina
Old Chatham Golf Club
Paul Barjon, Frankie Capan III (L), Patrick Cover (L), Yuto Katsuragawa, Mac Meissner
Lakes Golf and Country Club and
Brookside Golf and Country Club
Olin Browne Jr. (L), Stewart Cink, Eric Cole, Nick Dunlap (a), Nico Echavarría, Luke List, David Nyfjäll (L), Corey Pereira (L), Patrick Rodgers, Kevin Streelman, Davis Thompson
Springfield Country Club
Nick Hardy, Taylor Pendrith, Alex Schaake (L), Sam Stevens, Dylan Wu
Tacoma Country and Golf Club
Jesse Schutte (L), Alex Yang (a,L)
Alternates who gained entry
The following players gained a place in the field having finished as the leading alternates in the specified final qualifying events:
- Jordan Gumberg (L, England)
- Bastien Amat (a, L, Washington)
- Michael Kim (Dallas)
- Maxwell Moldovan (a, Springfield, OH)
- - Denotes Amateur; (L) - Denotes player who progressed through Local Qualifying.
The 123rd U.S. Open will be played on the North Course of the Los Angeles Country Club for the first time in history. The club is an urban oasis and open parklands design located on the famous Wilshire Boulevard in the center of Los Angeles. Herbert Fowler laid out the initial designs for the North and South course in 1921, but then George Thomas, a Los Angeles Country Club member, entered the picture to make a great deal of modifications. Thomas was also the designer of Riviera and Bel Air Country Clubs. Like many courses over time, they tend to deviate from the original design and vision when they were first constructed. That’s where Gil Hanse and famed historian, Geoff Shackleford, came in. Hanse and Shackleford’s 2010 restoration of Los Angeles Country Club is truly responsible for the movement of restoring older, historic courses. Hanse has more recently led the restoration of other classical American masterpieces such as Merion, Oakmont, Winged Foot, Brookline, and Southern Hills.
The summary of the renovation entailed complete reconstruction of the greens, bunkers and tees along with restoration of the barrancas. Trees were removed to open corridors of play and to improve sight lines throughout the property. Related to the greens, Hanse was especially focused on re-establishing the putting surfaces with surrounding run-offs and low areas for a sharper contrast between an elite approach shot and a slightly wayward one.
This will be the first U.S. Open hosted by the Los Angeles Country Club. It was home to five Los Angeles Opens, the 1930 Women’s Amateur, the 1954 U.S. Junior Amateur, and most recently, the 2017 Walker Cup, where the winning U.S. side featured the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, and Will Zalatoris. Los Angeles Country Club also hosted the 2013 Pac-12 Championship, won by Max Homa, who still owns the course record of 61. The field also included Patrick Cantlay, who fired a 62 in his own right, as well as Jon Rahm, Patrick Rodgers, and eventual Los Angeles Country Club member and mid-Amateur king, Stewart Hagestad. The field averaged a scoring average of 73.29 on the week, and at the time, the course measured 7,326 yards. It is now 150 yards or so longer and narrowed in places as well.
The defining feature of Los Angeles Country Club is the barranca (a small dormant riverbed that looks like a gully and is typically dry unless the area receives a significant amount of rain), which runs predominantly through the front nine and provides a significant amount of strategy. Thomas did a wonderful job of incorporating it strategically, so on some holes, players will have a diagonal carry over it (Hole #2). On other holes, it runs parallel to the fairway (Hole #17). One of the biggest reasons why Los Angeles Country Club is so special is the land that it inhabits. There is a central canyon, and you are playing in the canyon, into the canyon, out of the canyon, or on the ridges of the canyon. There are a ton of big slopes, and topographically, it sits on a beautiful piece of land while never feeling too severe.
This week, the course will play as a Par 70 of 7,421 yards, but this will vary over four days as the USGA will move tee boxes and pins around. The layout consists of massive elevation changes and angles. It will play firm and fast and involve several blind shots into the greens. The Bermuda fairways are wide (average fairway width of 43 yards - 5th widest on TOUR this year) and sloping with reverse cambers. As always with the U.S. Open, the Bermuda rough is thick (3" to 4") but it may be more penal around the greens. Bermuda rough is fairly rare for these players and it is more difficult and leads to more unpredictable shots. Bermuda rough is much more difficult to get the leading edge of the club through compared to cool-season grass like rye or bluegrass. It grabs the club, can shut the face, and can be tough to get quality contact on the back of the ball if it’s sunk deep.
There are zero water danger holes on this course but plenty of chewed-edged bunkers especially around the Bentgrass greens. The greens will average 6,500 square feet. They will roll at a fast 13 on the stimpmeter and will have a lot of back to front slope.
As a unique Par 70, LACC has five Par 3s to go along with three Par 5s and ten Par 4s. The par 3s are exceptionally strong and are among the most diverse and memorable holes on the course. Amazingly, they can play from as short as 77 yards (15th) to as long as 303 yards (11th).
The 7th is probably the toughest par 3, measuring anywhere from 240-280 yards where the green sits as its own little island surrounded by sand and waste areas. The 9th might be the signature hole with the clubhouse as the setting, but the 11th is the star of the show with downtown Los Angeles as the backdrop.
Two of the par 5s are reachable in two shots with the 623-yard 14th hole being a true three-shot hole for most players. Six of the par 4s are absolute monsters in length and difficulty with each being over 480 yards and three over 505 yards.
Similar to another Thomas design at Riviera, the course begins with a Par 5 first hole. After a potentially good start to the round, No. 2 is one of the most difficult holes on the golf course.
Holes 2-7 might rank near the top as the best stretch of holes anywhere. The 6th is a 330-yard downhill Par 4 where players can try to drive the green even though it would be a blind shot over a hillside. The other option would be to lay back and play to the left to have an angle to pitch the ball into the length of a narrow green.
The closing stretch of Nos. 16, 17, and 18 is one tough par 4 after another. Not only are they long, but the tee shots are each demanding, and the greens are among the most challenging on the course. Pars are good scores.
Although Thomas designed Riviera and Bel Air, LA CC is unlike other California courses (Riviera, Torrey Pines, PGA West, Silverado, Pebble Beach, etc) we see every year on the PGA TOUR.
In terms of more apt comparisons or correlations, Augusta National, particularly in more recent years with firmer conditions, certainly fits. Both Los Angeles Country Club and Augusta traverse incredible pieces of land with a great deal of elevation changes.
Southern Hills, the most recent Hanse restoration at a major championship (2022 PGA), is similar to LA CC as a wide golf course with Bermuda-based fairways and rough, Bentgrass greens, and tons of short grass.
Shinnecock Hills (2018 U.S. Open) is firm and wide with a lot of short grass around the greens, so it looks to be a solid correlation to LA CC, but Shinnecock is a little more open, so it is more susceptible to wind than this week's venue.
Others with some crossover to examine include Chambers Bay (2015 U.S. Open), Pinehurst No. 2 (2014 U.S. Open), Merion (2013 U.S. Open), and Congaree.
U.S. Open Recent History
2022: Matt Fitzpatrick (-6/274); The Country Club (Brookline); 30/1
2021: Jon Rahm (-6/278); Torrey Pines (South Course); 10/1
2020: Bryson DeChambeau (-6/274); Winged Foot (West Course); 25/1
2019: Gary Woodland (-13/271); Pebble Beach; 80/1
2018: Brooks Koepka (+1/281); Shinnecock Hills; 25/1
2017: Brooks Koepka (-16/272); Erin Hills; 45/1
2016: Dustin Johnson (-4/276); Oakmont; 16/1
2015: Jordan Spieth (-5/275); Chambers Bay; 9/1
2014: Martin Kaymer (-9/271); Pinehurst No. 2; 40/1
2013: Justin Rose (+1/281); Merion (East Course); 28/1
2012: Webb Simpson (+1/281); Olympic Club (Lake Course); 80/1
2011: Rory McIlroy (-16/268); Congressional (Blue Course); 22/1
2010: Graeme McDowell (E/284); Pebble Beach; 80/1
U.S. Open Champions Lead In-Form
2022: Fitzpatrick (OWGR No. 18): 3 Top 5s, 7 Top 10s
2021: Rahm (No. 3): 3 Top 5s, 7 Top 10s
2020: DeChambeau (No. 9): 1 Win (Rocket Mortgage Classic), 6 Top 5s, 9 Top 10s
2019: Woodland (No. 24): 1 Top 5, 4 Top 10s
2018: Koepka (No. 9): 1 Top 5, 1 Top 10*
2017: Koepka (No. 22): 1 Top 5, 1 Top 10
2016: D. Johnson (No. 6): 5 Top 5s, 7 Top 10s
2015: Spieth (No. 2): 2 Wins (Valspar, Masters), 7 Top 5s, 9 Top 10s
2014: Kaymer (No. 28): 1 Win (PLAYERS), 1 Top 5, 1 Top 10
2013: Rose (No. 5): 3 Top 5s, 5 Top 10s
2012: Simpson (No. 13): 2 Top 5s. 4 Top 10s
2011: McIlroy (No. 7): 3 Top 5s, 6 Top 10s
2010: McDowell (No. 36): 1 Win (Wales Open), 2 Top 5s, 4 Top 10s
*Koepka had missed the first four months of the 2018 season with injury.
U.S. Open Trends
- Every U.S. Open winner since 2008 had at least one Top 10 in his previous five starts heading into the event, and 13 of the last 15 had at least one Top 5 in his previous five starts heading into the event.
- 14 of the last 15 U.S. Open winners made the cut in their previous major.
- Each of the last 7 U.S. Open winners had at least a Top 6 finish or better in a previous major.
- 13 of the last 15 U.S. Open winners had at least one Top 10 previously at a major championship.
- 8 of the last 11 U.S. Open winners posted at least one Top 15 finish in at least one of their two most recent incoming starts leading into the U.S. Open.
- 7 of the last 11 U.S. Open winners have been Americans.
- 8 of the last 12 U.S. Open winners were ranked in the OWGR Top 15.
- The last 12 U.S. Open winners and 13 of the last 15 were ranked in the OWGR Top 30.
- 12 of the last 15 U.S. Open winners were between the ages of 26 and 32 (Average age 28.3 last 10 years).
- 6 of the last 7 U.S. Open winners and 7 of the last 10 won their first major at the U.S. Open.
- The oldest winner of the U.S. Open since 2008 was Gary Woodland in 2019 at age 35.
Strokes Gained: Tee To Green is the metric that gives us the best idea of positive recent form.
Strokes Gained Tee To Green (Last 36 Rounds)
- Scottie Scheffler 114.12
- Paul Barjon 103.68 (Predominantly Korn Ferry Tour)
- Brooks Koepka 96.84 (Predominantly LIV/Majors)
- Patrick Cantlay 72.72
- Mito Pereira 64.44 (Predominantly LIV/Majors)
- Jon Rahm 61.92
- Viktor Hovland 56.16
- Bryson DeChambeau 55.44 (Predominantly LIV/Majors)
- Rory McIlroy 54.72
- Collin Morikawa 52.20
- Tony Finau 50.40
- Patrick Reed 49.68 (Predominantly LIV/Majors)
- Tyrrell Hatton 49.32
- Gary Woodland 49.32
- Jordan Spieth 47.88
- Yuto Katsuragawa 46.44 (Predominantly Korn Ferry, Japan Golf Tours)
- Hideki Matsuyama 45.36
- Romain Langasque 45 (Predominantly DP World Tour)
- Xander Schauffele 45
- Si Woo Kim 45
- Justin Thomas 42.12
- Eric Cole 41.04
- Rickie Fowler 41.04
- Justin Rose 39.24
As most often is the case, Strokes Gained: Approach will likely take the largest portion of any model that is put together.
Strokes Gained: Approach (Last 36 Rounds)
- Paul Barjon 64.44 (Korn Ferry)
- Brooks Koepka 57.60 (LIV/Majors)
- Scottie Scheffler 48.24
- Mito Pereira 42.48 (LIV/Majors)
- Jon Rahm 39.60
- Collin Morikawa 37.80
- Wyndham Clark 31.68
- Tony Finau 31.32
- Yuto Katsuragawa 30.6 (Korn Ferry, Japan Tour)
- Xander Schauffele 29.88
- Justin Rose 28.80
- Gary Woodland 28.80
- Patrick Cantlay 28.44
- Viktor Hovland 25.92
- Jordan Spieth 25.56
- Ross Fisher 25.20 (DP World Tour)
- Patrick Reed 24.12 (LIV/Majors)
- Mac Meissner 24.12 (Korn Ferry)
- Tyrrell Hatton 22.32
- Luke List 21.96
- Rickie Fowler 21.96
- Martin Kaymer 21.24 (LIV)
- Si Woo Kim 20.52
- Shane Lowry 20.52
- Ryan Gerard 20.52
The plurality of approach shots here at LA CC will come from 200 yards or more.
Proximity Gained 200+ Yards (Last 36 Rounds)
- Jon Rahm 29.3
- Tom Hoge 25.8
- Viktor Hovland 24.8
- Gary Woodland 23.2
- Tony Finau 18.7
- Rory McIlroy 18.1
- Justin Rose 18
- Scottie Scheffler 17.2
- Shane Lowry 16.7
- Bryson DeChambeau 16.2
- Tom Kim 15.6
- Mito Pereira 15.6
- Patrick Cantlay 15.2
- Paul Barjon 15.1
- Davis Thompson 14
- Adam Scott 13.6
- Charley Hoffman 12.4
- Joaquin Niemann 12.2
- Keegan Bradley 11.2
- Scott Stallings 11.2
- Justin Suh 11.2
- Luke List 11.1
- Collin Morikawa 10.6
- Kurt Kitayama 10.5
- Cameron Davis 10.1
- Brian Harman 10.1
Note: Average Total Feet Gained Per Shot
Distance should not be weighted all that heavily this week considering how firm and wide the fairways are here. However, recent performance for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee is worth examining.
Strokes Gained: Off The Tee (Last 36 Rounds)
- Bryson DeChambeau 64.08 (LIV/Majors)
- Paul Barjon 50.76 (Korn Ferry)
- Scottie Scheffler 43.92
- Patrick Cantlay 38.16
- Mito Pereira 35.14 (LIV/Majors)
- Joaquin Niemann 34.20 (LIV/Majors)
- Yuto Katsuragawa 33.48 (Korn Ferry, Japan Tour)
- Rory McIlroy 32.76
- Viktor Hovland 30.96
- Brooks Kopeka 27.72 (LIV/Majors)
- Brett Grant 27.36
- Gary Woodland 27
- Hayden Buckley 25.20
- Adrian Meronk 23.76 (PGA TOUR, DP World Tour)
- Luke List 23.40
- Cameron Young 23.40
- Ross Fisher 23.04 (DP World Tour)
- Cam Davis 23.04
- Corey Conners 21.24
- Sungjae Im 19.44
- Matt Fitzpatrick 18.72
- Sam Stevens 18.36
- Victor Perez 18.36 (PGA TOUR, DP World Tour)
- Jon Rahm 18
Good Drives Gained are drives where the player either hits the fairway off the tee or misses the fairway but still hits the green or fringe in regulation.
Good Drives Gained (Last 36 Rounds)
- Scottie Scheffler 42.8
- Collin Morikawa 37.8
- Patrick Cantlay 37
- Ross Fisher 33.7
- Denny McCarthy 32.9
- Abraham Ancer 31.7
- Corey Conners 31.6
- Jon Rahm 31.3
- Xander Schauffele 30.7
- Ryan Armour 30.2
- Russell Henley 30.1
- Gary Woodland 30
- Shane Lowry 29.5
- Hayden Buckley 29.2
- Tom Kim 28.4
- Si Woo Kim 28.3
- Jason Day 26
- Tyrrell Hatton 24.9
- Viktor Hovland 24.1
- Luke List 24.1
- K.H. Lee 24
- Joaquin Niemann 22.5
- Harris English 21.8
- Sepp Straka 21.7
- Carson Young 21.3
With all the short grass and chewed-edged bunkers around the greens, players short games will be put to the test and Strokes Gained: Around The Green is important to examine as well as Scrambling on difficult courses.
Strokes Gained: Around The Green (Last 36 Rounds)
- Patrick Reed 29.88 (LIV/Majors)
- Scottie Scheffler 22.32
- Matt Kuchar 20.52
- Wilco Nienaber 20.16 (DP World Tour, Challenge Tour, Sunshine Tour)
- Eric Cole 19.44
- Padraig Harrington 19.44 (PGA TOUR, DP World Tour)
- Hideki Matsuyama 16.92
- Alex Noren 16.56
- Joaquin Niemann 14.4 (LIV/Majors)
- Rickie Fowler 14.04
- Justin Rose 12.60
- Tommy Fleetwood 12.24
- Kevin Streelman 12.24
- Jason Day 11.88
- Taylor Montgomery 11.88
- Chris Kirk 11.88
- Cameron Smith 11.52 (LIV/Majors)
- Keegan Bradley 11.16
- Nick Taylor 10.80
- Jordan Spieth 10.80
- Adrian Meronk 10.80 (PGA TOUR, DP World Tour)
- Brooks Koepka 10.44 (LIV/Majors)
- Vincent Norrman 10.44
- Justin Thomas 10.08
- Tyrrell Hatton 9.72
Scrambling Gained Difficult Courses (Last 36 Rounds)
- Taylor Montgomery 17.9
- Denny McCarthy 17.8
- Tommy Fleetwood 17.4
- Sebastian Munoz 17
- Matt Kuchar 16.6
- Andrew Putnam 15.1
- Sam Burns 14.6
- Cam Davis 14.4
- Jason Day 14
- Pablo Larrazabal 13.5
- Patrick Reed 13
- Lucas Herbert 11.7
- Max Homa 11.5
- Aaron Wise 11.1
- Francesco Molinari 10.1
- Adam Hadwin 9.3
- Cameron Smith 8.9
- Rory McIlroy 8.8
- Brooks Koepka 8.3
- Patrick Cantlay 8.3
- Brian Harman 8.2
- Ryan Fox 8
- Wyndham Clark 7.9
- Adam Schenk 7.8
- Tyrrell Hatton 7.6
Pars are always good scores at the U.S. Open. Bogeys will be plentiful of course.
Bogey Avoidance Difficult Scoring Conditions (Last 36 Rounds)
- Scottie Scheffler 48.3
- Patrick Cantlay 34.4
- Jason Day 32.2
- Wyndham Clark 30.8
- Rory McIlroy 30.1
- Tommy Fleetwood 28.4
- Xander Schauffele 28.1
- Tony Finau 25.7
- Andrew Putnam 24.9
- Tyrrell Hatton 24.7
- Adam Hadwin 24.6
- Shane Lowry 24.4
- Adam Schenk 24.1
- Viktor Hovland 22.9
- Dustin Johnson 22.4
- Hideki Matsuyama 22.4
- Cameron Smith 22.4
- Collin Morikawa 20.9
- Max Homa 20.8
- Sam Burns 20.4
- Matt Fitzpatrick 19.3
- Denny McCarthy 18.5
- Matt Kuchar 18
- Sebastian Munoz 17
One of the defining features at Los Angeles Country Club is its greens. They feature a number of little capes and very small sections where the USGA can absolutely bury certain pin positions. The greens here sit on so much slope and have a ton of tilt. They are trickier greens to figure out than what the players saw last month at Oak Hill for the PGA. Players that are experienced and historically successful on Bentgrass greens will have an edge.
Strokes Gained Putting Bentgrass Greens (Last 36 Rounds)
- Denny McCarthy 36.5
- Patrick Cantlay 36.3
- Justin Rose 30.5
- Martin Kaymer 29.6
- Keegan Bradley 27.3
- Tyrrell Hatton 26.7
- Alex Noren 24.9
- Max Homa 24.3
- Sam Burns 23.1
- Cameron Smith 22.8
- Rory McIlroy 20.3
- Justin Suh 20
- Lucas Herbert 19.4
- Adam Svensson 19
- J.T. Poston 18.8
- Andrew Putnam 18.8
- Viktor Hovland 18.3
- Harris English 18.2
- Patrick Rodgers 18
- Sahith Theegala 17.1
- Eric Cole 16.6
- Jason Day 16.4
- Jon Rahm 16
- Matt Kuchar 15.3
- Dustin Johnson 15.3
- Bryson DeChambeau 15
Five of the ten Par 4s at LA CC are longer than 490 yards.
Strokes Gained Par 4s 500+ Yards (Last 36 Rounds)
- Brooks Koepka 7.1
- Tyrrell Hatton 6.3
- Adam Scott 6.3
- Viktor Hovland 5.9
- Pablo Larrazabal 5.9
- Hayden Buckley 5.6
- Seamus Power 5.2
- Patrick Cantlay 4.9
- Mito Pereira 4.9
- Tommy Fleetwood 4.7
- Adam Svensson 4.6
- Luke List 4.5
- Patrick Rodgers 4.2
- Jon Rahm 4.2
- Joel Dahmen 4.1
- Tom Kim 4.1
- Xander Schauffele 3.9
- Keegan Bradley 3.6
- Sam Stevens 3.5
- Stewart Cink 3.3
- Corey Conners 3.2
- Denny McCarthy 3.1
- Harris English 3.1
- Wyndham Clark 3.1
- Ross Fisher 3
Strokes Gained Stats courtesy of RickRunGood.com. Other stats courtesy of FantasyNational.com.
Rory McIlroy 14/1 DraftKings
McIlroy has been in contention each of the last two Sundays only to shoot 75 at the Memorial and finish T-7 and then shoot just 72 last Sunday to finish T-9 at the RBC Canadian Open. He was also T-7 at the PGA, so he does have three straight Top 10 finishes, but that's never good enough when you are Rory McIlroy.
Clearly, the PGA TOUR-LIV Golf battle has weighed on him, and his leadership and advocacy for the PGA TOUR side has come at an immeasurable cost and has affected his game.
Rory is always the guy that the media goes to for his thoughts as he is arguably the most well-spoken and thoughtful player in the game. However, he is not doing a lot of talking this week as he is not giving a press conference this week at the U.S. Open. That could be a good sign that he is here for business and solely focusing on his play.
The 2011 U.S. Open champion has finished inside the Top 10 in his last four U.S. Open championships, so he has the ability to adapt to almost any set up that the USGA throws out there. He will like the wide fairways, and the LA CC is a course that will reward creativity and imagination. At his best, McIlroy is the ultimate artist and this week's course seems to value art over science.
Patrick Cantlay 17/1 Boyd Sports
Cantlay has the perfect game for success here as he is one of the best drivers of the golf ball in the world, consistent on approach (particularly with long irons), and a terrific putter on Bentgrass greens.
He does not seem to have a weakness, yet he has hardly ever been right there at the end to win a major championship. In fact, he has just one Top 5 in his career at majors (T-3 in the 2019 PGA).
Joe LaCava, Tiger Woods' longtime caddie, recently took over Cantlay's bag in May, so he brings major championship pedigree to a top player that can use it.
Cantlay has long been criticized for slow play, but this is the U.S. Open where everyone will have to play slow, so he likely will not get thrown off by any hecklers.
Viktor Hovland 19/1 Circa Sports
Hovland finally broke his maiden on U.S. soil two weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament. With Top 10 finishes at the Open, the Masters, THE PLAYERS, and most recently at the PGA, the Norwegian has proven that he is a big-game hunter in big-time events, and the Memorial, at last, got the monkey off his back of winning a big-time event.
He has made strides in the short game as well where he has gained around the green on the field in nine of his last 11 majors.
Max Homa 33/1 Circa Sports
Homa's price has drifted upwards a bit because the most recent form does not necessarily pop off the page although he does have two Top 10s in his last three starts.
However, he does have four PGA TOUR victories in his last eight starts within the friendly confines of his home state of California.
The "narrative street" play might be too obvious considering it is widely publicized that Homa has the course record of 61 set here during the 2013 Pac-12 Championship as a member of the Cal Golden Bears team. Nevertheless, it was obvious last year as well when Matt Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Open at The Country Club on the same course where he won the U.S. Amateur as well.
Bryson DeChambeau 48/1 Circa Sports
DeChambeau is a three-time winner on Gil Hanse re-designs, including the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot and also at Ridgewood and TPC Boston.
At the PGA Championship last month, he ranked 2nd in the field for Total Driving (1st in Driving Distance and 9th for Driving Accuracy). However, it was not typical Bryson "bomb and gouge". He was also 2nd for Greens In Regulation and 15th for Strokes Gained: Approach, so he showed a complete game that has drifted away over the last couple years.
The 4th at the PGA is also bookended by a Top 5 and Top 10 finish on LIV, so there is some consistently good recent form coming into this week.
Rickie Fowler 58/1 Circa Sports
Fowler's form in 2023 reads 54-11-10-20-31-13-17-10-15-14-MC-6-9. He has not gotten back in the winner's circle yet, but this has been his comeback year, and the reunion with longtime coach Butch Harmon has paid dividends.
While he finds himself outside many of the trend parameters listed above, he has a consistency now that he has not had in a few years.
Mito Pereira 120/1 Boyd Sports
He has been a bit out of sight and out of mind lately since moving to LIV Golf last year, but he has finished 6th or better in four of his last seven starts there.
Pereira's long iron game should play well here at LA CC. He rates 4th over the last 36 rounds for Strokes Gained: Approach.
Sahith Theegala 120/1 Circa Sports
While LA CC is unique from all of the other California courses played regularly on the PGA TOUR, Theegala does have three top-six finishes in four starts in his home state of California so far this season, so that is encouraging.
Theegala has made 19 straight cuts including a 9th at the Masters where he was the victor in the Low Debutant market.
Moreso than the geography and being a local, Theegala should fit this course which will require some imagination in terms of play, and he has a great deal of that.
Matchups (31-22-5; 2-0 last week)
Joaquin Niemann +115 over Sam Burns (Stations)
Rory McIlroy -145 over Brooks Koepka (South Point)
Bryson DeChambeau -120 over Patrick Reed (BetMGM)
Wyndham Clark -125 over Corey Conners (BetMGM)
More matchups, props, and placement market bets will be available at VSiN.com/picks by Wednesday morning.