The US Open sometimes feels like the slightly forgotten Major. The Masters is the first Major of the year and has the Augusta factor, the Open is Britain’s chance to shine and the USPGA closes the Major season out in style. However, the US Open is getting plenty of the limelight this year thanks to the quirky Chambers Bay course that has hosting duties.
Chambers Bay in Washington State has only been open eight years but it was specifically designed to provide a test worthy of this championship. Robert Trent Jones Jr was put in charge of the design and has come up with something truly unique. The pars of the front and back nines will change daily as the first and last holes can be set up as either par-fours or par-fives. They’re not the only holes that can change, depending on which tee is in use on the par-three fifteenth it can play uphill or downhill and have its length altered by up to 120 yards.
The nature of the course means there is a fair amount of trepidation among the players who make up an all-star field. World numbers one and two, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, unsurprisingly sit at the top of the betting but a whole host of former Major champions will tee off on Thursday. This promises to be an incredibly unpredictable event but there are some trends to look out for: the course is long so distance is important, the greens are incredibly difficult to hit so a solid short game is necessary and the greens are very bumpy so the winner will have to have a great week’s putting.
If Rory McIlroy can find a solid putting stroke this week he should finish near the top of the leaderboard. He’ll hope that his incredible driving will allow him to be in position A on the fairways so he can hit some sensible clubs into some very silly pins. He’s also a confident chipper, a skill he will need to use to get up-and-down when he inevitably misses these difficult greens. Rory is the favourite to pick up yet another Major championship at a general 7/1.
Last season Rickie Fowler was hot on the heels of McIlroy. He didn’t manage a win but finished in the top five of every Major. He showed that he thrives in the biggest challenges when winning this season’s Players Championship thanks to a wonderful finishing stretch of golf. At 22/1 with Bet365 the bookies clearly feel that Fowler offers a threat. He moves the ball both ways and is clever on and around the greens so should not be written off this week.
Jim Furyk has never possessed a huge amount of distance but he has always been one of the most accurate players in the game. He ended a long drought by winning the Heritage in April. The Harbour Town golf links could just well offer a good route in to this week’s festivities. Furyk will work closely with his caddie once again and could just pick up a second US Open win at odds of 35/1 with Betfred.