It’s time for the second golfing major of 2017, the US Open. This may be one of the biggest sporting events in the calendar but both the 2015 and 2016 renewals were marred by controversy and the eyes of the golfing world will be on Erin Hills, Wisconsin to see whether it will prove to be an inspired choice to host the US Open for the first time.
Erin Hills is only a relatively new venue but it has a remarkable story already. From the man who originally found the land being convicted of murder, to the original owner, Bob Lang, who almost went broke thanks to his desperation to bring the US Open to the course, Erin Hills is used to controversy.
In the lead up to the 2017 US Open, all the controversy surrounding Erin Hills has been about the way it will play this week. Officially, the course can stretch to over 8,000 yards from the very back tees which has led to some consternation. However, it is highly unlikely that it will play much over 7,600 yards, which isn’t that long for a par 72 hosting a major.
The disquiet has not all been about Erin Hills’ length though. Kevin Na’s Instagram rant about the length of the fescue rough surrounding the fairways has gone viral amid fears that it will simply be too tough, especially as the wind kicks up. But this is the US Open, it’s supposed to be tough. Many players have spoken glowingly about the way that Erin Hills has been presented and we could just be treated to an all-time classic tournament, something the US PGA could really use right now.
Rickie to Make it a Magnificent Seven
Each of the last six major championships have been won by players who had previously never won a major. That shows the strength in depth in golf and this week it could be Rickie Fowler’s turn to get off that list of the best players never to win one of the big four tournaments.
Fowler is better placed than most to cope with the challenge of Erin Hills. He’s got a proven ability to control his ball in the wind, he ranks first for total driving on the PGA Tour and he has the combination of quality approach play and scrambling skills to avoid too many bogeys. Perhaps crucially, Fowler is also as good out of bunkers as anybody else in the game right now. Fowler’s gone close at US Opens before and looks well priced at 25/1 with Betfred.
Big Time Pieters Can Make a Major Impression
Thomas Pieters announced himself to the American public with his incredible Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine National last year. Since then, the big hitting Belgian hasn’t played too much golf but he always makes sure to turn up for the biggest events.
Pieters finished fourth at the Masters in April and had a good run at the BMW PGA Championship on his last appearance. He’ll have to have put in a great deal of work with his coach but his power and control should see him go close at Erin Hills at a tempting price of 55/1 with Betfred.