Our country’s great major is getting ready to kick off in the Pacific Northwest and with Chambers Bay not being your traditional U.S. Open course, many people aren’t really sure what to expect. When you get the world’s greatest golfers in one place, competing for the highest stakes at a course that not many of them are familiar with, anything can happen. With that being said, here are my bold predictions for this weekend up in University Place, Washington.
Justin Rose will win the U.S. Open.
Justin Rose will be the golfer who tames Chambers Bay to win the 2015 U.S. Open. I’m not just going out on a limb on this pick, if you’ve watch J. Rose at all this season, it’s not hard to see why I’m going with him as my favorite.
The Englishman currently ranks 11th on the FedEx Cup standings and is 5th on the Official World Golf Ranking. Rose already has a win this season coming at the Zurich Classic and has two runner-up finishes, with his most recent coming at the Memorial Tournament where he lost in a playoff to David Lingmerth. He is in the prime of his career and is very familiar with the U.S. Open. Justin got his first major win at Merion in 2013 and has two other top-10 finishes at this tournament. He also tied for second at the Masters earlier this year, proving that he can still contend at majors.
Not only is Rose peaking at the perfect time for this major, he has a great attitude entering Chambers Bay. While others are busy complaining about Mike Davis and the USGA’s set up, Rose is embracing it.
"“It’s not your traditional US Open course,” said Rose. “People are going to love it or hate it and I am going to love it. There has been a bit of negativity around the venue but we haven’t bought into that. Other players have been whingeing. They will be starting on Thursday trying to fill themselves with positive thoughts but who knows how much of that negativity creeps in when you hit the odd bad shot? There must be a danger of that coming out very quickly.”"
“I tried to really tell myself that this year for me is going to be about April to September, when the big tournaments come around, and that’s when I want to play well.” -Justin Rose
A positive attitude can certainly work wonders for a golfer, but when you’ve got the man who designed the course on your side, that changes everything. Rose spent Monday walking Chambers Bay with Robert Trent Jones Jr. and the golf course architect was impressed with what he saw. “I watched a shot-maker play. He was piecing it together, bit by bit, analysing and breaking down my puzzles,” the Chambers Bay designer said. “He was quick to figure out where to play and where not to play – he used the slopes well.”
At 18-1, Justin isn’t a bad pick to take a chance on this weekend. He carries everything you need in order to win at Chambers Bay and has plenty of confidence entering the U.S. Open.
Rickie Fowler will have another top-5 finish.
Jun 16, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Rickie Fowler addresses the media in a press conference during practice rounds on Tuesday at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
That’s right, the man who placed top 5 in all four majors last year will add another one to his resume this week. Fowler is still looking for his breakthrough major and will definitely be a contender this weekend at Chambers Bay. I’m sure you’ve heard it plenty of times this week, but this U.S. Open has an eerily similar feel to a British Open with this links style course and Fowler has plenty of experience on such courses.
"“I really feel comfortable on this golf course. I love playing links golf,” Fowler said. “I’ve played well in the British Open overseas. And being that I have played well in the U.S. Open, I feel like putting the two together with the links style and the U.S. Open setup could turn out to be a great week.”"
After shutting up the haters at THE PLAYERS Championship in May, Fowler is hoping he can follow in Martin Kaymer‘s footsteps last year. Kaymer won THE PLAYERS in 2014 and then followed that up with a U.S. Open win at Pinehurst.
"“Obviously Martin had a pretty awesome performance last year in the U.S. Open. He didn’t really give us a chance to go catch him,” Fowler said. “So with seeing that done, yeah, I’d love to go do the same as he did last year."
While THE PLAYERS isn’t an official major championship, Fowler still proved his can hang with the best in the world. He also had one of the greatest finishes in the 34-year history of the tournament, proving he has the nerves to close out tournaments when pressure is really on the line. Winning isn’t out of the realm of possibilities for Fowler this weekend, but I think he comes up just short of victory. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.
Brooks Koepka will finish in the top 10.
Jun 13, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Brooks Koepka reacts after a birdie putt on the 18th hole during the third round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Brooks Koepka is my dark horse pick for the week and with his recent performances, he’s almost working himself out of the dark horse category. Currently 18th in the FedEx Cup standings, Koepka is coming off a T-3 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic this past weekend. He has four top-10 finishes this season, including his first win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
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Chambers Bay measures at nearly 7,800 yards, so you’re going to need some distance if you want to be able to contend. Ranking 10th in driving distance, Brooks is one of the longest hitters on TOUR, averaging 304 yards a drive and has an average clubhead speed of 122 MPH. Not only can he get it done with the driver, but he ranks 8th in strokes gained putting, which is a necessity for the greens at Chambers Bay. Not to mention he placed T-4 at the U.S. Open last year. At 60-1 to win the whole thing, he could be a nice payday, so if you’re looking for a dark horse this week, Brooks Koepka is your guy.