2017 US Open Preview

The par four 11th hole at Erin Hills, a daily fee golf course in Erin, Wisconsin.  Erin Hills was designed by Hurdzan/Fry and Ron Whitten and built by Landscapes Unlimited, LLC, and has been choosen to host the 2011 US Amateur Chanpionship and the 2017 US Open Championship.  Photo by Paul Hundley; taken in September, 2013.

Where: Erin Hills Golf Course. Erin, Wisconsin.

When: June 15- June 18

Defending Champion: Dustin Johnson

Course Layout: 36-36= 72. 7741 yards. This course making its US Open debut will be a test for the players and will be one of the longest US open courses in its history. Water won’t be a huge problem here, but heavy fescue and bunkers will have players struggling if they can’t keep their drives in the fairway.

Featured Holes: #2- It is the shortest par four on the golf course at just under 360 yards from the back tees and a hole that the players will have a great opportunity to make birdie after a long par 5 to lead off their round. #9- One thing that this course does is change distance very well. After a bunch of longer holes, here is a wedge par three of just under 160 yards downhill. When earlier players had to bomb it, this hole requires finesse. #18- The longest hole to end the round, that is cruel. A hole that measures 663 yards, it is a true 3-shot par 5.

TV Coverage: Thursday, June 15 and Friday, June 16: 11:00AM-6:00PM (FS1) 6:00PM-9:00PM (FOX). Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18: 11:00AM-8:00PM (FOX).

Sleeper of the Week: Steve Stricker. Correct, he doesn’t hit the ball a ton, and he’s 50 years old. However, Steve Stricker qualified for this tournament in the qualifying series, had a top 10 finish in the Dean and Deluca Invitational a couple of weeks ago, and is playing in his hometown state of Wisconsin. He won’t fall flat this week, and at 150/1 odds, he’s worth looking at.

Weather Conditions: The course should be very playable for these guys this week, with mild winds. The temperature will be in the mid 80s to start the tournament, but drop as the weekend goes to low to mid 70s on Sunday. Thunderstorms are anticipated on Friday, with rain throughout the night as well softening up the course. Other than that and a potential passing shower on Sunday, it looks to stay dry in Erin.

Power Rankings

5. Sergio Garcia- After not winning a major, he finally came through at the Masters this past April. Could it be two in a row? Sergio has been playing great golf lately, finishing in the top 14 in 4 of his last 7 tournaments.

4. Jon Rahm- Another Spaniard who has been playing outstanding golf. Rahm came very close to winning the Dean and Deluca a couple of weeks ago, and continues to contend week in and week out. Anticipate the same this week.

3. Jordan Spieth- You just can’t bet against this guy. Uncharacteristically, he has missed three cuts this season. On the other hand, he has a win, a T2 and two third place finishes this season, and its just the beginning of June.

2. Dustin Johnson- Two reasons why he isn’t #1. A. He missed the cut badly in his last tournament at the Memorial. B. It’s really hard to defend a major. The last person to do that was Padraig Harrington winning the 2007 and 2008 British Open. It hasn’t been done in the US Open since Curtis Strange in 1988 and 1989.

If I had to pick a winner it would be…Rickie Fowler. It really is a gut feeling. Rickie is playing some of his best golf and consistently contends in the bigger tournaments. He already has five top-5 finishes in majors including a second place finish in the 2014 US Open. If he continues to putt like he’s been putting, Fowler could finally get that first major on his resume.




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