After The Masters concluded in dramatic fashion with an epic duel between Justin Rose and eventual winner Sergio Garcia, we look ahead to the second major of the golfing calendar, the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills, Wisconsin.
The 2017 US. Open is the first national Open to be played in Wisconsin, but it’s the fifth time a major has taken place in the state. The 156-player field features a prize fund of $12 million with $2.16 million going to the champion.
PledgeSports bring you expert analysis of the field coming into this week’s tournament and speculate who we think will be the 2017 US Open champion come Sunday.
With win after win, week-on-week, Johnson cemented himself atop the world rankings and looks to be there for the long haul.
A return from injury almost six weeks after the year’s first major came in the form of a T2 finish at the Wells Fargo before narrowly missing out on top ten finishes at both The Players Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Despite his lackluster 78, 74 missed cut at the Memorial in early June, Johnson remains favourite for the US Open and it’s difficult to look past the current best player in the world.
The US Open has been a mixed bag for the Northern Irishman, his record-breaking victory at Congressional in 2011 has been followed by two missed cuts and one top ten finish. Yet, once can’t help but ink the setup in Erin Hills favours the world’s number two ranked golfer.
McIlroy boasts one of the finest, if not the finest long game on the planet, and Erin Hills’ width and length should let him go all out with the big stick. When the shackles are off, McIlroy’s game is different to the entire field’s – except Dustin Johnson.
Returning fresh from a rib injury sustained earlier in 2017, McIlroy has had ample time to prepare for this week. Six appearances on the PGA Tour this year have warranted four top tens, signaling that McIroy has the bit between his teeth to get his hands on a fifth major championship this time out.
In our opinion, it all depends on the flat stick for the Holywood native. If McIlroy can get it rolling there’s not much that can stop him from winning in Wisconsin.
Other than a missed cut at the Masters, the 34-year-old Swede has chipped away at a nice follow-up season to last year’s four-victory tour in Europe. He moved into the spotlight again with a career-defining victory at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
US Opens are often defined by the mastery of scrambling, and Noren is just that. When his game is off, he has the ability to keep ticking over thanks to an insatiable ability to get up-and-down. Similar to Harrington in his prime, Noren is a grinder prepared to do battle with any player in any conditions. Don’t be surprised to see the Swede near the top
Don’t be surprised to see the Swede near the top on Sunday, particularly if the going gets tough.
A picture of consistency early in the season with a win and four top-10s on the West Coast Swing, Spieth has tailed off since a T-11 finish at The Masters. Missed cuts at Players and AT&T Byron Nelson included putting his beloved blade in the doghouse for a week, but he rebounded impressively at Colonial with a T-2.
Spieth can turn things around quickly, especially when he gets the U.S. Open juices flowing. The early reports of immaculate Erin Hills greens should help him continue to find his putting stroke, while his ball striking has remained strong statistically all year.
Interestingly, he posted a 69 in 2011 U.S. Amateur stroke-play qualifying at Erin Hills, then won three matches before losing in the quarterfinals.
Considering he’s just won his maiden major with a stellar showing at The Masters, there has been little talk of Garcia and his chances of mounting a challenge for a second consecutive major this week in Wisconsin.
The rough at Erin Hills looks very similar to that at Carnoustie, where Garcia almost won the Open in 2007, losing in a play-off to Padraig Harrington.
The Spaniard is a fantastic ball-striker, and that can be a telling factor on the most difficult courses or when conditions become more challenging.
We have a sneaking suspicion he will have been buoyed by his compatriot Rafael Nadal’s winning of a 10th French Open tennis title at the weekend too, and will be bursting to get out there and play.
Write off the Spaniard at your peril.
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