GOLF : US OPEN PREVIEW

Written by Andy

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The US Open Championship heads back to a familiar haunt at Merion for its 113th iteration, a nostalgic return to the site of some of the defining moments that made the tournament what it is today.

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When you think of Merion you think of Ben Hogan who gained immortal status in the game of golf winning a playoff in 1950 and giving us one of the most iconic images in the game of golf pictured above with his 1 iron shot, the hole now has a plaque planted at it to honour such an amazing moment.

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That would be plenty in regards to famous moments but it isn’t in 1971 Lee Trevino famously ‘spooked’ Jack Nicklaus with a rubber snake on the practice range before their play-off on the way to defeating the Golden Bear in that same playoff.

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Bobby Jones also completed his ‘Impregnable Quadrilateral’ (the grand slam) in 1930 on the great Merion course.

So onto this week for the 113th US Open returning to Merion for the first time in 22 years giving the players a challenge as the course is now longer than it was last time around but is still deemed as quite a short course and due to recent rainfall its said the players will take advantage of this and make light work of the famous course. Bottom line is if it continues to rain heavy it softens the course up big time and we will see some very high scores if the course holds up we will see a very challenging tournament.

Webb Simpson won the US Open last year after the trophy had spent the previous two years in Northern Ireland as Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy had won it in 2010 & 2011 respectively. Tiger Woods hasn’t won a Major in 5 years and his last one just happened to be the US Open back in 2008.

So the big question is who is the realistic contenders and who is going to win or get you a place in the each way stakes?

Here is my picks in no particular order and if they don’t win don’t blame me haha its your own risk!

Main Contenders

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Matt Kuchar

Kuchar has been in great form recently and his recent win at The Memorial tournament shows he is in perfect form for the US Open. This man is due to win a major title and his consistent form and number of top tens this season you’d be daft not to consider Kuchar for the win.

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Graeme McDowell 

Just like Kuchar, G-Mac offers great value and has a real chance to take home his second US Open crown. G-Mac has a few wins this season on the European Tour and PGA Tour and his steady form along with past winning experience to draw on makes him a real contender and I know a few people that are backing him to win. A very good value chance here.

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Tiger Woods

Like I mentioned before Tiger hasn’t won a major in 5 years since his US Open win in 2008. He has had a great season and is definitely back in top form apart from his last outing at The Memorial. You’ll struggle to get Tiger at good value odds unless he is 4 or 5 shots behind the leaders in the first day or two and does a Tiger by coming back and wiping the floor with the field. I personally won’t be backing him betting wise but Tiger is in with a great shout this time.

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Phil Mickelson 

I don’t think you can find a more entertaining golfer than Phil Mickelson its just always sheer drama due to his aggressive playing style and will to win. He was very close last week at the St Jude Classic and hit some brilliant shots. Phil has never won a US Open though and has had several near misses in this tournament. I wouldn’t rule him out though especially at the odds you will get for him, his short game and putting seem to be dialled right in and that will be essential at Merion.

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Bubba Watson

I think its about time Bubba got another big one and this week could be the week it happens. In regards to the short course Bubba may need to cut back on a few clubs with some holes due to his awesome striking distance but Bubba has been very impressive around the greens this season. If he can get the accuracy off the tee and play a clever game he has a great chance to win the US Open.

Great Value Each Ways 

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Jim Furyk  

Came so close to winning last year, Merion is built for Furyk’s game and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw another run from Jim this week. Really good value odds he has also as he has 6 top 5 finishes at the US Open.

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Hunter Mahan

I was so surprised at the odds of Mahan I put a small wager on him getting a place myself. Mahan has the perfect game style to get around Merion in a low score and for me is great value.

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Angel Cabrera

Angel loves a major! You don’t see him much during the season then The Masters come around and he is right in there. He also won the US Open in 2007 and came so close at Augusta a few months back so I can’t see how he is such a low price! Very good value here.

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Tim Clark

Another fantastic bit of value right here, Tim Clark has been in really good form as of late and it would not surprise me at all if challenged for a place.

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Matteo Manassero 

You will have seen this kids name a few times on here and I’m really surprised how low his odds are even for a place. Putting and short game are the main tools to victory at Merion and Manassero has those tools in abundance. Great value right here and if he gets a place and you back him its happy days!

So there is my quick rundown and guide to this year’s US Open, Should be a great week at Merion and I hope we all enjoy the tournament and if you back any of my picks hopefully we’ll both get a turn out of it!

Thanks for reading golf fans

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