Father’s Day is fast approaching, and for the golfing world that only means one thing: the US Open!
From June 15th through to the 18th, Erin Hills will be the battleground for one of the marquee golfing events of the year. The course is described as “Scottish with an American twist”. It’s a long 7,800-yard course with rolling hills and not a tree in sight, perfect for players with a lot of length.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be absent this year, marking the end of an era. Tiger Woods, plagued by issues on and off the course, is seriously reconsidering his future in the sport. While Mickelson is skipping the event in order to attend his daughter’s graduation. Their absence doesn’t really affect the list of favorites, but it’ll be greatly felt nonetheless.
The usual list of contenders — Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth — are once again the favorites. But beyond that, the Major is a tough one to predict. Who is in form right now and who will benefit most from the lengthy course? Let’s take a look!
The defending champ returns to the US Open as the favorite, despite a patchy season so far. He missed the cut at the Memorial Tournament earlier this month but picked up wins at WGC-Mexico and WGC-Dell back in March.
A freak accident put his season on hold, forcing him to skip the Masters, so the US Open will be his first Major of the year. Johnson has excelled at this event in recent years, and the long 7,741-yard course will play to his advantage.
Rory McIlroy is battling a nagging rib and back injury, but he should be fit to start the US Open. He missed the cut last year and recently finished a disappointing seventh at the Masters, so clearly the four-time Major winner is going through a rough patch.
He’s fallen short of his potential in recent years, but if the former world number one can reclaim his form, he could go on to dominate the Major like he did in 2011, the only time he’s won the title.
Despite never having won the US Open, Australian Jason Day has likely been the most consistent competitor at the event over the last five years. He’s a mainstay in the top ten and seems to flourish wherever the Major is held.
He finished second overall in both 2011 and 2013. Perhaps 2017 will finally be his year.
Jordan Spieth doesn’t have a particularly long drive compared to the other favorites, which will be a significant disadvantage at Erin Hills. He’s not the most consistent player around, but when he’s in form there’s no stopping him.
His stellar year in 2015 resulted in a win at the US Open and the Masters, as well as a second place finish at the PGA Championship. The 23-year-old has one tournament win so far this season, but many are hoping to see flashes of 2015, and another major added to his name.
With Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson sitting this one out, it’s up to Bubba Watson to keep the flame alive. The 38-year-old isn’t exactly a favorite, but his unnaturally long drive makes him an interesting candidate at Erin Hills.
He hasn’t had the best season so far and his record at the US Open leaves a lot to be desired, but as long as he’s playing, Bubba’s in with a shot.
Photo credit: By Flash And Mel [CC BY-SA 2.0 (Creative Commons)], via Flickr
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