June 14, 2016
Oakmont - US Open Predictions
Oakmont, this year's venue for the US Open, is generally considered the hardest of the traditional golf courses that host our national championship. Hall of Fame champions have won on this great test, like Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Ernie Els, Tommy Armour, and Ben Hogan, but Oakmont, the golf course, usually is the winner. Henry Fownes, the owner, opened Oakmont in 1903. He also designed the course that became a classic for originality, toughness, and demanding accuracy. Interestingly this was his only golf course design. Over two hundred bunkers dot the golf course with the fairway bunkers extremely penal to escape and salvage par. In 2007, Angel Cabrera shot a five over par total to win by one shot over Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk. Large undulating greens that are extremely fast, even by USGA standards, are an Oakmont tradition. Distance will be important, but keeping the ball in the fairway will be paramount for the victor, because shots hit out of Oakmont's thick rough will be almost impossible to stay on the hard surfaces.
This year's winner will need long straight drives, world class short game, and exceptional putting. Right now the only player that possesses these qualities is Jason Day. If he controls his emotions and focus, he should add a US Open to his resume.
Jason Day – has all the required skills to handle this demanding test.
Rory McIlroy – when he is on, he could destroy this course, but he needs everything to work this week.
Brandon Grace – straight driver and has been there before. Could atone for last year.
Louis Oosthuizen – has the US Open temperament and game.
Zach Johnson – straight with exceptional short game. Could hang in there and sneak another major.
Jordan Spieth – needs to drive it straighter, if he does he has the other ingredients.
Danny Willett – asking a lot for two majors in a row, but solid game for this course.
Justin Rose – Short game and putting may not be up to this test.
Bubba Watson – needs all his imagination and a super putting week.
Dustin Johnson – has to be included, but not a course suited for his skills.
Phil Mickelson – want to see a historic win, but his erratic driving will unfortunately do him in.
Ricky Fowler – sorry, you have to prove yourself again. Course too demanding this week.
Adam Scott – can't be an average putter to win at Oakmont.
Patrick Reed – will see if you can hit sweeping hooks and hold these greens.
Sergio Garcia – has game, but will find a way to fold again.
Matt Kuchar – love the game, but has proven to be real good, but not great.
Henrik Stenson – ball striker supreme, but not with a US Open short game
Hideki Matsuyama – world class player, but there is a lot of pressure to be the first Asian golfer to win a major.
This is my favorite major championship. Course setup is purposely overly difficult that leans towards being unfair at times. The US Open tests mental resolve and resilience along with expert ball striking. Unexpected winners have won this championship by just surviving and being the last man standing. Andy North, Michael Campbell, Webb Simpson, and Orville Moody are examples of good but not great players that have won this championship. I don't see an underdog winning this week. I think the class of the field will distance themselves for the others and the winner will have another major title to add to his resume.