My 2013 US Open picks are not going to look like the conventional odds board selections popping up in Las Vegas or the offshore betting houses. This year is a unique opportunity for non-favorites because there are no “horses for courses”running in this tournament, as Merion has not hosted a major championship since 1981.
Let’s cull the herd by looking at last week’s big name debacles at Memorial and start with Phil Mickelson. What bugs me is that he didn’t play for the second straight year (dropped out in 2012) and hasn’t played since The Players Championship where he missed the cut. Memorial is a great tune up because it’s hard and the best players in the world compete. Phil is playing this week at FedEx St. Jude because he always plays the week before a major, but TPC Southwind is a horrible tune-up venue. Phil is inconsistent from week to week and he’s very difficult to predict. What’s clear is that he doesn’t play enough and now he’s rusty. Sorry not happening this year, Lefty.
Tiger Woods‘ 3rd round 79 was mystifying but these things happen for a reason and I believe his hot streak with the putter is over. The flat stick is clearly his Achilles heel when he’s off and his superb ball striking and four wins in 2013 have the odds makers falling all over him at 4/1. Call Steve Stricker for another putting lesson because it’s not happening this year.
Rory McIlroy‘s first round 78 was no surprise. Rory is plagued by inconsistency and is still distracted to a point where he’s too focused on firing agents and lining up endorsements to play consistently well. No focus – not happening in 2013, Mr. McIlroy.
The smart money is on two main contenders and two dark horses. Merion will require excellent accuracy off the tee and superb wedge/iron play from 125-150 yards. The course is set up at only 6,996 yards and drivers will remain in the bag. The exceptions are the three monstrous par-3s at #3 (256 yards), #9 (236 yards), and #17 (246 yards).
Contender #1 is Brandt Snedeker. Okay, I’ll throw out his second round 80 at Memorial 🙂 but I love that he’s third on tour in GIR from 125-150 yards and putts lights out. He’s hungry, has contended in the last two majors, and is ready. He gets a little quick with his putting stroke under pressure and will have to settle that down.
Contender #2 is Graeme McDowell. I love the win at RBC Heritage because the Harbour Town Golf Links is short and tight requiring a similar mindset to the pending US Open setup. Also, look who he defeated at RBC; Webb Simpson – defending U.S. Open champ. These guys love the short tracks. I like G-Mac’s ability to putt under pressure, as well as his ranking in driving accuracy (1st) and scrambling (1st).
Your 2013 US Open Picks:
Champion: Graeme McDowell. Finished 2nd last year, has the game, the guts, and the stats to make it happen.
Runner Up: Brandt Snedeker. Gets closer than ever but loses Monday in an 18-hole playoff.
Third: Jim Furyk. Cagey veteran knows how to play the Open and doesn’t get flustered. Very patient player.
Dark Horse #1: Kevin Chappel. 2nd at Memorial and T-10 in last year’s US Open. Up and coming. Love his odds at 200/1.
Dark Horse #2: Michael Thompson at 150/1 looks like a real value play. Finished 2nd in the Open last year, finished 8th at Memorial this year, and looks like he focuses well this time of year.
Enjoy the spectacle and happy Father’s Day!