It is U.S. Open week and we are at Pebble Beach, one of the most historic courses in golf. The course started hosting the U.S. Open as the first public course to host the event in 1972 and this is the 6th time the course has been in the rotation. Pebble should play around 7,100 yards as a par 71, which means that this course is not a course the requires elite length off the tee. The biggest question surrounding the course is just how hard will it play. The USGA has made it their goal to make these U.S. Open courses incredibly challenging, but that is met with a lot of pushback, especially now with social media. I am really curious to see how exactly the course plays, but I do expect it to be incredibly hard.
Course With Question Marks
As of right now, we don’t have a ton of information on the course, but Patrick Cantlay posted a video on his Instagram page that showed just how penal the rough will be. In recent years, the USGA has “lost” some of the courses in a manner that really frustrated the players and I think that they will be attempting to avoid this. When I say that they lost the course, the players basically felt as though the greens specifically were almost random and that even great shots could go horribly wrong. This is usually because the USGA dries out these courses and greens to make them extremely difficult. From the early pictures out of Pebble this week, I think that the course is in fantastic shape right now and I am not concerned with it getting out of hand. However, they are still looking to be incredibly hard on bad shots, which is why I would be pretty shocked to see a player get to double digits this week unless it is an elite player firing on all cylinders.
Driving accuracy, approach, and GIR are three stats that I am weighing heavily this week, because I think that a lot of scrambling will be done for bogey this week. Most weeks, the key to winning a tournament is by not making huge mistakes while taking advantage of the easier holes. This week, there aren’t going to be many easy hole and these big mistakes will be very easy to come by. A missed fairway will almost always result in a player scrambling for par with a significant chance at bogey or worse. On most courses for these elite players, bad holes take 2 or more bad shots/decisions on a hole. I think that this course will be quick to ruin just one little mistake.
The top tier of players in this field is very interesting this week because I think it really depends on how the course plays. I am going to take a pretty hard stand against who a lot of people would call the three best players in the world right now in Rory, DJ, and Brooks Koepka. Why? I think that this style of golf does not suit them that well. I know that Brooks has won 2 straight U.S. Open championships, but I don’t think those are because of his style of play. Listen, Any of these top guys can run away with this tournament because they are firing on all cylinders. They have every tool in the tool box, but I don’t think that this tournament will play the way they will like. I think this is a tournament for grinders. Guys that limit mistakes very well and are comfortable making pars all day. The two guys at the top that stand out to me are Tiger Woods (+1100) and Justin Rose (+2500). Both of these guys excel at grinding out tough holes and not making key mistakes in major moments. Tiger has been elite in his approach shots and GIR numbers this year and I think that is key. A ball just off of the green can quickly get gobbled up by rough so thick that you can’t even find the ball. Rose is a similar player, but he is in worse form. The odds do reflect the difference in form.
I think this tournament is going to be too hard for anyone outside of 100-1 to really compete. The two golfers that stand out to me down the board are Matt Kuchar (+5000) and Paul Casey (+6600). These are two guys that are commonly known as the two guys that never win but always show well. This is often the case because these guys don’t score at a super high rate. The good news is that I am not concerned with keeping up with crazy scores this week and I think they are undervalued here because of this perception.
My favorite outright bet is on Tiger Woods at +1100. Woods is familiar with this course and he sets up the best of the top guys to attack the course in a more structured manner. If I had to go down the card and pick a good top 5-10 bet or a cheaper DFS play, I love Emiliano Grillo. Grillo is a shorter hitter that can limit mistakes and grinder his way to an even par finishing score, which might be enough to score really well this week. If you are looking for a great pay per head location to bet on the US Open, go to RealBookies.com