2015 US Open
Published: 09:47 11/06/2014
The US Open returns to the historic Pinehurst No 2 course situated in North Carolina. This Par 70 course measures a healthy 7,562 yards, but will look very different to the last time it held the US Open in Michael Campbell's triumphant year of 2005. This competition has become known for penal rough, but in an effort to return the course to the way the course was designed, the rough has mostly been completely cut away. We are left with a course with slightly larger fairways than normal, and in place of the rough is natural wasteland, pine needles, sand and wire grass. It will be interesting to see some of the players decisions if they drive into the wastelands, as calculated risks are going to have to be made. Players might get a lucky break, terrible luck or have a shot which if not hit perfect will make these players look like amateurs. It will be no surprise to see the odd shot come out in some weird trajectories and angles. Greens have always been hard to hit around here, as the greens generally slope away causing the ball to trickle of into trouble.
So whilst there is a bias to a player who has length and high iron shots to the green, it will still be a player who can accurately hit the fairways and has a great scrambling game who will prevail. A little imagination from the wasteland area will help matters as well as a patient demeanour.
Unfortunately the weather forecast looks fairly horrendous so far this week. Thunderstorms and heavy rain is forecast. Which is a shame as it could change the dynamics of the course from being almost links like, to suiting the bombers if the fairways get saturated and holding, and the greens are easier to find.
We landed the E/W part of the bet on Luiten last week, and were a little unlucky for him not to win. It's a hard call to pick the winner this week, but the following three players are of interest.
If the fairways do get a good dose of water, Rory McIlroy will be quietly pleased. It will suit his long game and will help his sometimes fragile putting stroke. After a win at Wentworth, he must be back to somewhere near full confidence. I will be having a chunky bet if the rain arrives.
Jordan Spieth impresses the more you see him play. He's a long, accurate driver of the ball and is a fine scrambler who also can be quite nerveless when making those tricky five footers for par, and there will be plenty to make for everyone this week. The only negative is that he can get a little jumpy at the sharp end of competitions, but hopefully the experience of contending on the final day at the Masters and a Players will hopefully help him.
For my last bet, it may be worth having a little saver on Ernie Ells to be placed in the top top market. He's now been placed in the top ten market ten times and this major suits his game as good as any nowadays. I always feel he's under a little pressure if any competition becomes a birdie fest, but an attritional US Open will help him compete where Par on most holes will be a good score. Who knows if all of the stars are lined up in order, he may even make a run at the title.
It's going to be a fascinating week.
Rory McIlroy - 12/1 Coral
Jordan Spieth EW - 30/1 Coral
Ernie Ells, Top Ten Market - 14/1 Stan James