The venue changes annually, but the challenge always remains constant. As the USGA sets up for this week’s U.S. Open at Pennsylvania’s historic Oakmont, you can be sure that we will witness four of the most physically and mentally taxing rounds players will face all year.
Jeff Shain, writer for PGATOUR.com, offers some compelling insights into this year’s venue:
Oakmont Country Club, 7,254 yards, par 70. With a well-honed standing as America’s toughest test, Oakmont serves as the U.S. Open stage for a record ninth time and almost always identifies golf royalty. Built 112 years ago out of farmland just east of Pittsburgh, Oakmont is the only course ever built by Henry C. Fownes and unforgiving by design. The Pittsburgh industrialist and his son, William, believed a poor shot should be penalized and found a membership who shared that vision. Even today, the Oakmont membership’s average handicap is 11.2. Six of the Open’s eight previous champions are in the World Golf Hall of Fame, as are winners from two PGA Championships, a U.S. Women’s Open and a U.S. Amateur held at the club. Here’s a look at some players to keep an eye on during the second major of the season.
Jason Day - With the way he is currently playing, it doesn’t look like there is a tournament he can’t win. Currently the number one player in the world, and he has more than established himself in this role.
Rory McIlroy - Already a U.S. Open winner, and looks to be returning to form after winning the Irish Open a couple weeks ago.
Justin Rose - Played well the last time the U.S. Open was held at Oakmont (2007), and the last year and a half has seen him consistently perform on golf’s biggest stages.
Jordan Spieth - Has been an interesting season so far for Spieth. A win a few weeks ago in Texas, and disappointing runner up finish at Augusta, all while seeming to struggle to maintain a level of consistency. His scrambling strengths will certainly be an advantage at Oakmont.
Bubba Watson - Doesn’t traditionally play U.S. Open courses well, but he did manage a T5 finish at Oakmont in 2007. The fact that he has recently been playing some of the best golf of his career allows for the argument that this could be a big week for Bubba.
Adam Scott - Has only one major championship crown (2013 Masters), but plays these championships well. Would not be the least bit surprised to see him claim the title this week. Consistently puts himself in the mix at big events.
Branden Grace - Last year’s U.S Open at Chambers Bay served as a sort of “coming out” party for Branden as it relates to his career on U.S. soil. He has since won (RBC Heritage) and continues to establish himself as a threat in each and every event he plays.
Matt Kuchar - Next to Jason Day, Kuchar is currently one of the hottest players on the planet. In his last six events, he has finished outside the top-10 only once.
Dustin Johnson - Solid play last week at the St. Jude Classic. If he can get out of his own way, he could claim this title, and possibly a few more U.S. Opens in the years to come.
Phil Mickelson - Has been playing very well this season, and coming off a T2 finish last week. Will be a crowd favourite this week as he seeks to complete the career grand slam.
Zach Johnson - Doesn’t hit the ball a mile, but is an accurate ball striker, which is exactly what you need at any U.S. Open, but especially Oakmont.
Jim Furyk - Coming off an extended layoff due to injury. Jim has ties to the Pittsburgh area, almost claimed the title in 2007 at this venue, is a U.S. Open champion (2003), and has contended multiple times.
And now for a look at my DraftKings lineups for the week, where $1,000,000 is up for grabs!
While there are almost always surprises on U.S. Open leaderboards, the opposite is also true. Courses are set up to ensure that the best rise to the top. Jason Day and Rory McIlroy both lead my teams for this week, while Matt Kuchar has been drafted twice. Kuchar has simply been playing too well to believe that he won’t make a run. At $8,500 he is a steal, allowing me to afford to take him twice. Toms & Smith may come as a bit of a surprise on Team B. In taking both McIlroy & Mickelson, I was running out of funds and needed to take some valuable low picks. I like Toms & Smith, for Toms played well at this U.S. Open venue in 2007, while Smith finished two shots back at last year’s championship at Chambers Bay.
Jason Day - $12,100
Branden Grace - $8,700
Matt Kuchar - $8,500
Graeme McDowell - $7,100
Bill Haas - $6,900
Charley Hoffman - $6,700
Rory McIlroy - $12,000
Phil Mickelson - $9,300
Matt Kuchar - $8,500
Zach Johnson - $7,800
David Toms - $6,300
Cameron Smith - $6,100
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family.
Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.