June 15, 2017

Your #USOpen winner for 2017 is?

First, I have confidence that Erin Hills will be much better than Chambers Bay of two years ago, if for no other reason than having real greens. Its particular blind spots may challenge many golfers, but unless the rain there is heavy, it should play "short," despite its stated length, and the wider cuts on some fescue will allow for aggressiveness.

In short, perhaps a bit like nearby Whistling Straits, yet not exactly the same. Even more links-like, perhaps, in some ways.

That said, it DOES have some blind shots, which are very links-like. And, it's going to have a lot of uneven lies.

And, of course, it's a first-time track.

So, how does that factor into picking a winner?

Two stories are a guide.

The first? This, suggesting a top-10 player is the likely winner at a first-time U.S. Open or PGA track. 

The second? This one, suggesting that the blind shots, the sideways lies, etc., will all likely favor a European golfer.

So, European. Top 10.

In order, that's Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, the hot Alex Noren and the hot earlier this year Jon Rahm. Justin Rose is just outside that list at 11, and gets bonus points for being a previous major winner and his second at this year's Masters.

So, that's six against the field. I'll take that as a prop bet right there.

But, which of the six? Rory's still rebounding from the rib injury. Scratch him. Stenson's been not so hot this year, with five missed cuts. Scratch him.

Sergio may be on a post-Masters high, or he may be locked in, per this piece. Let me think.

The final three?

Rose isn't thought of as a bomber, but he has a slight driving length edge over Rahm and a bigger one over Noren. The three play the same on putting average, too.

So, with that in mind, my money is on Justin Rose.

With Sergio locked in enough for second.

And my money, along with that of the Weather Channel, is NOT on Phil Mickelson playing. Sorry, Philly Mick fans, but weather delays only likely Friday and Saturday.

That said, per Golf.com, maybe rain will be bad enough on Saturday to force a Monday finish if Sunday's start is a problem.

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