U.S Open Predictions

Peter Hoegler

 
Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods, and Phil Mickelson lead this year’s U.S. Open at the Olympic Club.
 

For this years’ U.S Open Golf Tournament, Peter Hoegler and Matt Brownsword, respectively, will share their insight on the first major of the year. We decided to fit the players into four different categories: Birdie Buster (a guy who could get the low this week), Super Sleeper (unexpected outbursts), and Winner.

 Birdie Buster: Ryan Palmer (Pete)

Palmer has not won a PGA tournament since 2012, but he is coming in the U.S Open at the Olympic Club playing the best golf of his life, finishing T4, T9, and T5 in three of his last four starts. His current confidence can change his past woes at the U.S, and I like his chances this week to post a low score after some great golf the last month.

Birdie Buster: Bubba Watson (Matt)

The US Open is the major tournament that is characterized by its high scores and maximum difficulty, so picking a “Birdie Buster,” is like picking the golfer who is most capable of getting birdies on holes that regular tour players can only hope to acheive pars. Bubba Watson is coming off his first Major win at Augusta at the Masters, which was secured through his extreme length off the tee and his precision around the greens. The Olympic Club starts with a 520-yard par four and 288-yard par three, two mammoth holes for any professional golfer. Watson has the chance to be one of the few players in the Open to drive those fairways and get on the green in two, making him a viable candidate to go low in a US Open. Bubba also tees off the first two rounds with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, which is the premier group of the tournament and could feature two, if not three, contenders come Sunday.

 Super Sleeper: Ricky Fowler (Pete)

With his modern attire, Ricky Fowler looks to shock the field and win his first major.

The Sunday surge from Tiger Woods at the Memorial  had a lot to do with Fowler’s meltdown. The young, hip, and bright Puma endorsement won’t be the last player to come unhinged alongside Tiger. The 24-year-old has four top-ten finishes in his last five tournament appearances, including a win. He is playing the best golf on tour right now, and should be better prepared to battle Tiger, and the rest of the big-boys in this year’s tournament. Fowler has missed the cut at the last two U.S Opens, but all signs lead to a career performance at the Olympic.

Super Sleeper: Kevin Na (Matt)

Kevin Na is not a well-known name, and is probably most famous for his 16 on one par four. Aside from the embarrassing 12-over par, Na has actually played well on tour this year, already netting over a million dollars in earnings. Na has competed well in some major tournaments, with a 10th place finish in the PGA and a 27th in the British Open. His last tournament saw a steady scorecard, with a drop in the last round to a 68, a consistent scorecard that could win the US Open.

 Winner: Luke Donald (Pete)

Donald has never won a U.S. Open, but he is certainly looking pretty good lately. He’s registered two top-three finishes, four top-10 finishes and five top 25’s in nine events, and he has yet to miss a cut in 2012. The World’s number one does not have a great history in major tournaments, but his recent short game will give Donald a viable advantage on the rest of the field, who will have to work a lot harder for the birdies.

Winner: Tiger Woods (Matt)

Coming off his win at the Memorial, Tiger expects to win this week at the Olympic.

The Olympic Club does not suit any player, as its demand for accuracy as well as extreme length is found in the skill set of only a few players on tour. However, Tiger Woods, who has just come off a memorable, comeback win at the Memorial, is one of those unique players who has both of those qualities. The US Open is famous for its grown-out rough and well-cut greens, two characteristics of a golf course that require skill in accuracy and experience, two things that Woods has when his golf game is on. With a win under his belt, Woods’ score could balloon like it did at the Masters, when he came off a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but he could continue his momentum into Sunday at the US Open and win the  tournament.