2017 US Open – June 15th through June 18th
Well the wait is over, we survived a few mediocre fields and tourneys and now we have the US Open next up on the schedule. Players head to Erin Hills Golf Club in Wisconsin to take on an absolute beast of a course and one that does not take on the usual features of many US Open Courses. One thing to keep in mind this week is the cut is top 60 and ties instead of the usual top 70 so getting 6/6 or 8/8 thru got that much harder.
Erin Hills Golf Club is a par 72 measuring out around 7800 yards so being able to get the ball out there is going to be important, but driving distance is not the end all be all this week. The fairways are lined with fescue, which if you go into you mostly likely are not getting out without serious ugliness being added to your scorecard. Taking players who gain strokes off the tee, not just with distance is how I will be attacking the course, as a combination of accuracy and distance is a recipe for success. Fairways may have some significant rollout so even shorter hitters will be able to mitigate some of that length if they can keep it in play and away from the real nasty stuff.
Long irons are going to be important this week as players will be facing plenty of 200+ yard approaches into some of these longer holes. Yes, this means Stenson may make his way into some lineups, which always makes for a stressful week.
Greens are bentgrass and supposedly in perfect conditions which should be an advantage to the best putters out there. Jury is still out on whether you will be forced to chip from off the green or will have the option to putt, so that is something to keep an eye out as the week gets closer. Some players, Kaymer in particular, really benefit from being able to putt from off the green while others will be relying on their chipping game when scrambling.
This course is links style meaning basically no trees and that always means winds can wreak havoc if the conditions are not ideal. Keep an eye on that weather because if we get windy conditions the scores are going to be absolutely brutal and it may put more emphasis on scrambling and other bogey avoidance metrics.
Best of the best in this field with it being a major, but since it is the US Open it also brings in a bunch of guys who qualified who you will never see again. None of them will have Draftkings photos, some do not have Wikipedia articles, and they have almost no chance to compete in a tournament like this. Starting up top you have all the usual suspects with DJ, Spieth, Rory, Day and now Rahm all leading the charge and there is talent all the way down to the high 6ks so making rosters with all quality players is not going to be a problem. This is one of those weeks where it is easy to have too many players in your pool and rake yourself so try and find spots where you want to make a few stands, some of which will be uncomfortable because there are so many legit players to choose from.
With the US Open lurking it was tough to focus on the St Jude and by the looks of some of the players they may have been with me on looking ahead. Ricky got cut and looked awful, which helped me a ton, and hopefully can reduce his ownership this week. I ended up with a pretty tight core of Schwartzel, Chappell, and Grayson which ended up really working out despite Grayson’s almost implosion late on Friday. Had the same amount of Berger as the field, so that did not help much, but props to him for the repeat victories in Memphis. Gave it a run in the $333 thanks to RCB and that core, ended up 8th which set the tone for another positive week. Hoping to keep that hot streak going into this week, where the tourneys are gigantic and so many new people probably giving golf a try this week.
** As always keep an eye on weather. If you are around Wednesday night 9 PM EST check out the deep dive show where we will update and break down the latest info we get as this article is written a few days before lock **
Normally I list guys from a GPP perspective with some cash plays mixed in, but with this week being a major there are so many GPP options to choose from I slightly altered the format. The players below I expect to be popular and more on the safer/cash side with some pivots for GPP’s sprinkled in. I plan to use some of these reliable plays and then mix in a few pivots to some lesser known higher upside players as my differentiation in GPP’s.
Jordan Spieth (11.5k DK, $18.2k FDraft) – The top 6 golfers (DJ, Spieth, Rory, Day, Fowler, Rahm) all are in play and obviously have the talent to go win any time they tee it up. DJ, Spieth, and Fowler to me are probably the safest three factoring in history, form, and talent, while Rory, Day, and Rahm all have a few question marks right now. Spieth has made strides tee to green and if his putting gets going like it has in years past watch out because it is going to be tough to stop him. I will still have plenty of Rory who I usually lean to up top, but he is fresh off injuries and has no recent form so tough to gauge where his game is at. Overall, I would say just pick who you are most comfortable in this range and look to differentiate elsewhere.
Justin Rose $9.8k DK/$16.6k FDraft – Rose always seems to get lost in the shuffle in big tourneys like this. He is not priced up with the elites, but is not cheap enough to be considered mid-range and I think he may go overlooked. 2nd at the Masters to Sergio and has a US Open victory so we know he can get it done on the biggest stage. His approaches have not been great this year and they will need to improve this week for Rose to win, but in terms of stats pretty much everything else checks out making him an interesting target near the top.
Adam Scott $8.8k DK/$16.2k FDraft – Scott still cannot break thru this year and it is getting to the point where it seems like this regression may be here to stay. However, he showed signs of life last week with a dominating tee to green game and his usually suspect putting which actually made me encouraged as lately it has been the opposite for him with the putting being better and his approach game not as sharp. Playing three weeks in a row should help as his traveling between US and Australia cannot be a good thing and the price is very reasonable. Seems like an optimal cash play, and someone who may end up popular in tourneys so that is something to consider in GPPs.
Paul Casey $8.4k DK/$14.9k FDraft – I always take Paul Casey so this is not a surprise, but lately he has been showing some signs of life with his putter which is always the weak link in his game. A top ball striker on tour and is more built for a tournament with less streaks and overall scoring which this seems to be. Nice midrange option as he has been reliable this entire year and I am still holding onto hope that Casey is going to put it all together one week and break thru into the win column.
Matt Kuchar $7.6k DK/$14.6k FDraft – Kuchar is as reliable and consistent as it gets with seemingly a top 25 finish every time he tees it up. Solid off the tee and one of the best at avoiding bogeys which may be just as important as making birdies with the potential for really tough conditions. Price is very appealing and should not make or break your teams this week with as I expect another top 25 showing from Kuch. Thomas Pieters, who is priced right above Kuch is the definition of a boom/bust option as he has the talent to blow any field away, but can be prone to total blow ups and worries me with so much danger right off these fairways.
Louie Oosthuizen $7.4k DK/$14.6k FDraft – Oosty checks out across the board with solid stats especially off the tee, solid recent form, and a track record that proves he can get it done in majors. Price very appealing and I expect him to be popular, but I think Louie has a chance to win and at this price I plan to be heavily invested.
Shane Lowry $7.3k DK/$14.4k FDraft – Lowry plays great on tough courses, likes links style layouts, and has a very solid US Open track record with 2nd in 2016 and a 9th place finish in 2015. Price is appealing, my biggest concern would be he has stretches with the putter that are so bad he takes himself out of contention, but I am willing to take a shot that we get somewhat good putting and that puts Lowry in the hunt this week.
Francesco Molinari $7k DK/$13.3k FDraft – Molinari started awful last week and grinded it out to a respectable 24th place finish. Honestly wish he got cut as that would have lowered ownership this week and I really like this spot for Molinari. Not the longest hitter, but still one of the best at gaining strokes off the tee and has the consistency we want, especially in cash games. Price on FantasyDraft is really cheap and on Draftkings still very reasonable. This range I think may be one of the most important of the week with him, Weisberger and Kaymer all at basically the same price on DK. I think Bernd is the wildcard and who I may use as a pivot with Molinari / Kaymer being the safer and more popular plays.
Marc Leishman $6.7k DK/$13.4k FDraft – Good off the tee and with the irons, but Leishman’s putting has been letting him down this year at times. Still, at this price he makes sense in cash as a safe reliable option as well as GPP’s for the upside potential. Like most players his price range is full of other options including one of my favorite golfers Matthew Fitzpatrick who I think will make an extremely low owned deep GPP play, but one I do not mind taking a shot with especially in large field GPPs.
Fades & Notes
Steve Stricker – Stricker was denied an exemption and then qualified to get to play in front of his home crowd. The Wisconsin narrative should drive ownership to him, and I will be fading completely. Do not think his game is that good to begin with and he still is so unappealing in a Draftkings format where it favors upside and birdie makers.
Good luck everyone!
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