Jul 14, 2013; Omaha, NE, USA; A general view of the USGA flag at the 16th tee box during the final round of the 2013 U.S. Senior Open at the Omaha Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The second major of the year is just a week away and one golfer will walk away as the United States national champion Sunday afternoon (or perhaps Monday, if we end up having a playoff).
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It’s potentially life changing not only for the golfers participating, but for the fans getting in on the action as well. As you might remember, for The Masters, one million dollars was on the line over at DraftKings.
Well, DraftKings is doing it again for the U.S. Open. The Millionaire Maker is back, one million bucks is on the line for whoever wins it. You got to beat well over 100,000 other folks, but hey, somebody is going to win and it only costs twenty bucks.
So, who knows? Could be you, could be me, could be anyone. Finishing in second place would be pretty nice too as second place gets $100,000, that’s nothing to sneeze at either.
For record keeping sake the fella who won The Masters Millionaire Maker picked Jordan Spieth (the winner), Justin Rose (T-2), Phil Mickelson (T-2), Charley Hoffman (T-9), Kevin Na (T-12), and Russell Henley (21st).
So, if you can pick six golfers at the U.S. Open that finish right around in those areas, hey, you got a pretty good shot at taking home a good chunk of change.
As we did with The Masters, we’ll go over the golfers and make one pick in a designated salary cap area. But, think of this as a U.S. Open DraftKings fantasy preview, overview sort of thing. We’ll just be shooting the breeze talking, going over results, stats, and all that jazz.
It’s tough to really pinpoint a specific course Chambers Bay reminds me of. The obvious inspiration are the links-style course found throughout Europe, but in a lot of ways it also reminds me a bit of Pinehurst No. 2, Whistling Straits, and Oakmont.
In terms of just how long the course is and with the undulating greens and various slopes throughout the course. Just something to keep in mind. Looking over results for tournaments played at those courses may, perhaps, give you an edge over the competition.
Anyway, let’s get this show on the road, we have a lot to go over.
$13,000 to $10,000
The interesting thing about the eight golfers in this price range is the fact that they all come with more baggage than usual.
Rory McIlroy ($13,000) is the most expensive golfer, but his play leading up to the U.S. Open doesn’t exactly exude confidence.
McIlroy is heading to a tough, unknown course in Chambers Bay on the back of two missed cuts at the BMW PGA Championship and Irish Open. If the wind is kicking up at this links-style course, McIlroy may very well miss the cut again.
Obviously, McIlroy could win it but he is a pretty risky pick. McIlroy’s floor is really low; lower than the majority of his peers in this range. I would say only Dustin Johnson ($11,300) has a lower floor than McIlroy.
To me, he really isn’t worth the risk considering the ceiling for everyone is basically the same in this price range. I look at Adam Scott ($10,700) and Henrik Stenson ($10,000) as the safer picks. Their ceilings are just as high, but their respective floors are definitely higher.
Stenson hasn’t missed a cut at a major since the 2011 Masters. Scott hasn’t missed a cut at a major since the 2011 U.S. Open.
It should be noted though that Stenson has played at least one practice round that we know about and came away shaking his head. Scott, meanwhile, just isn’t playing very good golf this season.
I’m mixed with Justin Rose ($11,500). On one hand, Rose is playing some great golf, he is a great putter, and the tougher the course the better he plays. However, Rose has a pretty spotty Open record. Rose really hasn’t been elite on links-style courses.
Jun 7, 2015; Dublin, OH, USA; Jordan Spieth plays the eighteenth hole during the final round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Spieth ($12,600) has the kind of game that can grind it out if conditions are really tough. But, if Chambers Bay just turns into a bombers paradise then that’s a disadvantage to Spieth.
Spieth will have a bit of a boost with his caddie, Michael Greller, considering he is from the area. Greller knows Chambers Bay and if he can give Spieth a rock solid game plan, look out.
Rickie Fowler ($10,800) just pops out at me. I know Fowler missed the cut at The Memorial, but Muirfield Village doesn’t play anything like Chambers Bay. So, I’m willing to overlook that and maybe that was more of fatigue/jetlag.
Fowler played the previous week at Irish Open and finished T-30. A solid finish under some really rough conditions which bodes well for both Opens. So, I like that. Plus, Fowler is still fresh off The PLAYERS championship a month ago.
Last on the list is Phil Mickelson ($10,200) who has sounded optimistic and excited about the challenge Chambers Bay represents.
That’s good for Mickelson, but whether or not Mickelson is long enough and can sink those crucial putts on the green is another story. If he doesn’t perform well, then it really doesn’t matter how optimistic he is. Mickelson is another low floor golfer. To me, I’m just not sure I really want to take the chance and draft him.
As we mentioned above, everyone has more baggage than usual here at this year’s U.S. Open. As part of the game we are playing, If I had to take just one golfer in this area, I think I would take Fowler.
I don’t usually trust Fowler, but he has continued to prove himself time and time again on the big stage. His major run last year was impressive, he finished T-12 at The Masters this year, and he just won The PLAYERS last month. For me, personally, it may be time to start trusting him.
Plus, he has the kind of game where he can go low or he can grind it out depending on how the course is playing and how much the weather is effecting the scores.
Next: The Contenders: $9,900 to $8,000