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Playing to the Course

By Brady Kannon  () 

Like any major championship, this year's U.S. Open, will test all aspects of one's game. However, when studying both Shinnecock Hills and other recent U.S. Open venues, we have found that the notion of there being a premium on Driving Accuracy, is not as profound as it once was. The USGA has changed its approach somewhat and the needle- thin fairways and ankle deep rough, have evolved into a grander, more well-rounded test. While there will still be extremely penal rough at Shinnecock, the fairways have been widened. Nearly 500 yards have been added to make this a beast of a Par 70 course at 7,445 yards. Accuracy off of the tee will still be key as the rough will likely translate into at least one shot dropped but Total Driving, a combination of length and accuracy is probably a more appropriate statistic to consider.

Ball Striking and hitting greens in regulation will certainly be paramount. The greens are smaller and hitting them will be difficult. The putting surface is Poa Annua, which we see quite a bit of on the West Coast at courses like Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines. So while looking at all of the aforementioned statistical areas, we also must consider a player's ability to putt and scramble around Poa Annua greens versus Bent grass or Bermuda.

As far as indicator courses, other venues that may provide insight into possible crossover success, we want to look at Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach as mentioned, both former U.S. Open host courses, both with Poa Annua greens. As far as some shorter courses, where accuracy and moving one's ball in both directions is needed, I have looked at how players have fared at Harbour Town, home to The RBC Heritage, and Colonial, host of The Fort Worth Invitational. Finally, Pinehurst #2, the course that hosted the 2014 U.S. Open, is another course with some similarities to Shinnecock that could provide some clues.

FUTURES TO WIN THE 118TH U.S. OPEN

Rickie Fowler (14-1) for 20% of a unit

Justin Rose (16-1) for 20% of a unit

Henrik Stenson (30-1) for 15% of a unit

Hideki Matsuyama (35-1) for 15% of a unit

Branden Grace (40-1) for 10% of a unit

Adam Scott (60-1) for 10% of a unit

Emiliano Grillo (125-1) for 5% of a unit

Steve Stricker (150-1) for 5% of a unit

ONE unit risked in total

FULL TOURNAMENT HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUPS FOR ONE UNIT A PIECE

Justin Rose (-135) over Justin Thomas

Rickie Fowler (-125) over Jason Day

Justin Rose (-140) over Rory McIlroy

Hideki Matsuyama ( 100) over Jordan Spieth

Henrik Stenson ( 110) over Jon Rahm

PROPOSITION BET -- TO FINISH TOP 20

Steve Stricker ( 450)

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