Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2010 U.S. Open Picks

The U.S. Open golf championship begins tomorrow at Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of three courses (along with Shinnecock Hills and Pinehurst CC #2) locked into the unofficial US Open rota. The course often features high wind and rain, but the weather looks clear and cool for the next four days.

Past U.S. Opens at Pebble have produced wins for the best golfers of the day, and I think the hottest golfers will contend again this time.

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

Tiger Woods: #1 player in the world is rusty and coming off a neck injury. Pebble is the site of his most dominating win in 2000, but this is a different golfer. He is searching for his swing, some confidence, and most importantly some rhythm. This year was set up for him to win three of four majors, but his head is not back yet - top 20 finish.
Vijay Singh: Cheater Veej got a special exemption from USGA, which was disappointing given the organization's usual commitment to integrity. I expect Vijay to play better than his latest form and get a top 20.
Ernie Els: Twice a past champion with two wins on great courses already this season, he seems to finally be getting his game right again. I don't think Pebble is his best U.S. Open venue, but I like him to get a top 15 this week.
Jim Furyk: This is a good course for the average length hitter, because this is as short as U.S. Open courses get. Furyk is still a world class putter and grinder, and he already has one U.S. Open trophy at home. I like him to contend during the weekend and get a top 10.
Luke Donald: His game is built for U.S. Opens - fairways and greens and fairways and greens. He has a pure short game, and the shorter course helps him. His form has been great lately, and I think he gets a top 8 finish.
Phil Mickelson: Dude has a dozen wins in his home state of CA, including three at Pebble. He has been the bridesmaid in five previous U.S. Opens, and the fans will be with him. Everything seems right, but I think this is only another close call - top 5 finish.
Lee Westwood: It seems he is on the weekend leader board of every major, and his accuracy is a big plus at Pebble. He has been able to stay positive about recent near misses in majors, and that serves him well this weekend. I like Westwood to be the first Euro to win the U.S. Open in 40 years.

There are three sets of dark horses who could contend this weekend. Dustin Johnson and Ricky Barnes are young, strong and confident, and Johnson has won the last two regular Tour stops at Pebble. Old guys Tom Lehman and Tom Watson could be rewarded for their consistency and experience. And don't count out Tim Clark and Zach Johnson, both very straight hitters who are mentally tough and win on tough courses.
With par at 71 I like the winning score to be 280 (-4). That is low for a U.S. Open, but the weather will rob the course of some of its normal defenses.


<< Home

© Copyright Patrick Eakes 2004-2010