Wednesday, June 13, 2007

2007 US Open Picks

The US Open golf championship begins tomorrow at Oakmont Country Club, which many golfers consider the hardest course in the country. The course has removed almost 5,000 trees. You might think that makes the course easier, but the increased sunlight and air circulation have allowed the rough to become long and lush.

The course is playing at 7,400 yards. With the firm conditions, that is not as long as it sounds with today's long ball.

Many have predicted a winner at ten over par or higher. I would be really surprised if we see anything that high. I put the winner at +1 to +3.

Here is my analysis of ten of the top players in the world:

Tiger Woods: #1 player in the world with 15 career majors has seemed off his game at times this year. If he can hit fairways and putt well, he is unbeatable. However, I think his driver will cost him a shot at the title, but he gets a top 10 with his trademark grit.

Phil Mickelson: #2 player has loads of talent and a great short game. However, his wrist is injured enough to keep him from playing a full practice round. Throw in a swing in flux and this will be a tough week for Lefty. Top 40 finish.

Vijay Singh: #7 player in the world has his game rounding into shape. He is a good ball striker and strong enough to hack out of the rough. I doubt he can putt effectively on greens this fast, so he finishes top 20.

Sergio Garcia: Dude can golf his ball tee to green, but his putter has been AWOL for a few years. Still, I think hitting these greens will be huge, so Sergio gets a top 15.

Tim Clark: His world ranking is down to #55 because of a neck injury that has bothered him for the last year, but he had a good finish at his last start at Colonial. When par matters most, the diminutive Clark is at his best. If his neck behaves, he gets a top 15 finish.

Ernie Els: Twice a past champion, including 1994 at Oakmont. He is still #5 in the world, but it just doesn't seem like he has the game to contend these days. Let's call it a top 25.

Stewart Cink: He should contend at every US Open with his combination of reasonable length, super accuracy, and great putting. This still isn't his year, but he gets a top 10.

Henrik Stenson: Great all-around game and is ready to play well in a big event. Euros don't usually do well at the US Open, but I expect Stenson to finish in the top 20.

Retief Goosen: #10 player in the world is normally unflappable and has won two US Opens. He is long, straight, and perhaps the best putter in the world on super-fast greens. He gets a top 10 this weekend.

Jim Furyk: #3 player in the world has a game made for Opens. He is second in driving accuracy and one of the best putters in the world. He is the only player as mentally tough as Tiger, and he grew up near Oakmont. Furyk gets his second national championship this weekend with grit that is a hallmark of US Open champs.

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