The last major of the year is played at Oak Hill Country Club in New York. Whilst only playing 7,193 yards, this Par 70 course definitely has teeth and will be chewing and spitting out some of these players if they don’t bring their ‘A’ game. It may play like the US Open at Merion, as this course has similar features i.e deep rough and small undulating greens, in short a real test of the all round game.
This major has had some upset winners in the past, in fact last time it was played at Oak Hill the winner was Shaun Micheel, allegedly last seen washing Tiger’s new car. Other recent winners are a then unheard of Keegan Bradley, Y T Yang and Martin Kaymer. Of course established players like Tiger, Mickelson and McIlroy have won this major, but there is no real hard and fast profile of what kind of player may win this week. So I think I will just be keeping stakes to a minimum this week.
A player to consider who I backed last week at the Bridgestone is Adam Scott. He had a good workout last week and his game appears to be in fine order. Accuracy with driver and irons are the order of the day, and the Australian excels in these two areas. The only problem with Scott is that he is a predominately slow starter and comes to the fore at the later stages of an event. It may even be worth having a watching brief and backing the Aussie in running after the first round if he makes a slow but steady start and his betting odds drift.
New father Hunter Mahan is a great driver of the ball, and will be on the fairway more than most. After playing in the last group in the last two majors it may be his time to make the jump to major winner.
Keegan Bradley has showed real glimmers of form lately and came second last week to Tiger at the Bridgestone. He’s driving well at the moment and if the putter catches fire he could really go well here this week. He plays a lot of recreational golf with Phil Mickelson, and I’m sure his spirits have been boosted by seeing Lefty win the Open, it may be the motivation he needs this week.
Tiger Woods was back to his best at the Bridgestone, and it was like old times with him playing in his own separate event. Like many of his wins this year, they have come at events where he has traditionally done well. I’m not sure this venue truly suits his eye and the price has collapsed to a point where I will reluctantly bypass him.
Other notables to mention are Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson. Phil has played some great golf in both the US and British Open and showed in the latter event that he still has the killer touch when he has a sniff of a win.
Stenson is one of the hottest players on tour, and it would be no surprise if he continues to feature on the leaderboard.