We are just one week away from the US Open, the second major championship of the season. Each of the four majors has their own special feel about it. You’ve got the history of the Open and the majesty of Augusta National at the Masters for example but when it comes to the US Open it’s all about pushing the players to their limits. The USGA who organise the event aim to have the tournament won with a score of level par which means setting up some very tough golf courses like Erin Hills which will play host next week.
Each player lucky enough to have a spot in the field for the US Open will have thought long and hard about the best way to prepare. Happily, the PGA Tour have made it easier for those who prefer to play competitive golf as their warm up by scheduling the FedEx St Jude Classic the week before Erin Hills.
The host course for this week’s tournament, TPC Southwind, isn’t exactly a US Open venue but it is certainly one of the sternest and fairest tests of golf that you’ll find on the PGA Tour. Year on year it plays to an average score of almost spot on its par of 70. That means while some players thrive on the 7,244 yard layout, others simply get swallowed up by the Memphis course.
Mickelson to Show Us What We’ll Be Missing
Despite having never won the US Open, Phil Mickelson has become synonymous with the event. ‘Phil the Thrill’ has won many of his huge worldwide fan base due to his near misses at the tournament but this year he won’t even be at Erin Hills for a crack at the title. Mickelson may have finally found some consistency with his golf game but he has chosen to attend his daughter’s high school graduation rather than the US Open.
Mickelson’s decision has not stopped him from making his annual appearance at TPC Southwind and it won’t stop him from having a good week. He’s got three top three finishes in his last four appearances and with the way he’s playing, that experience should see him challenge for the win at 20/1 with Ladbrokes.
Bello to Chalk Another One Up For the Debutants
TPC Southwind has proven to be a venue at which debutants have a real chance of winning over the years. Two of the last four winners were making their first appearance at the course which is a good omen for Rafa Cabrera Bello.
The Spaniard has long since been a major player on the European Tour and results have been quietly impressive since he made the decision to focus more on the PGA Tour. In the last couple of years he’s finished fourth at the Shell Houston Open, third in the WGC Match Play and fourth at the Players Championships. That shows his ability to score well on very testing golf courses and when up against some of the best players in the world. If Cabrera Bello can get to grips with TPC Southwind in his practice rounds there’s a very good chance that he will return for an each way bet at odds of 66/1 with Coral.