2020 U.S.Open Preview
Welcome to the second week of the 2020-2021 PGA Tour Season! This week is the first of six majors scheduled to be played within the next year as a part of a 50-event super PGA Tour Season. The following blog post is a preview of what to expect at this week’s U.S. Open.
Winged Foot Golf Club (Mamaroneck, New York) Par 70 7,477 yards
Past Events Held
1929 U.S. Open
1940 U.S Amateur
1959 U.S. Open
1974 U.S Open
1984 U.S. Open
1997 PGA Championship
2004 U.S. Amateur
2006 U.S. Open
Winged Foot is one of the harder courses that host the U.S Open just ask Tiger Woods who called it one of the hardest golf courses he has ever played in his storied career. Recently Winged Foot went through a restoration lead by Gil Hanse meaning the golf course is much different than it was in 2006. The rough at Winged Foot is some of the thickest rough you’ll ever see for a major championship and it will be a major storyline this week. If you do not hit the fairway this week you will be in for a struggle. It’s all about setting yourself up and hitting it into the right spots at Winged Foot, especially with its unorthodox greens. There are no easy holes or stretches at Winged Foot either, especially with a brutal finishing stretch of five straight par-4s all above 425 yards. Also, it will be curious to see how the USGA does the setup for this week.
Holes to Watch?
Like I just mentioned above a closing stretch of five straight tough par-4s is what you will need to be looking out for all week and especially on Sunday in determining a champion.
How will golf’s best golfers do against one of golf’s biggest tests this week?
Just like the PGA Championship, there will be no fans in attendance this week to watch the action go down, and just like the PGA Championship will see how it affects certain golfers come Sunday afternoon.
The rough will be a big story this week all you need to know about it is that if you hit into the rough you better pray your golfer can find their ball and draw a good lie at the same time otherwise they’ll be in for a hard time.
No Brooks Koepka
Koepka withdrew from the U.S. Open this week due to injury concerns to his knee and hip. The way Koepka has been dominating majors the past two and a half years it will be strange not seeing him towards the top of the leaderboard on Sunday afternoon.
Can Dustin Johnson Stay Hot?
Johnson has been incredible the past four weeks with two wins and a FedEx Cup. Will his hot streak continue and win just his second major championship to start off the new season on a good note?
For the first time since his collapse back on the 72nd hole in 2006 Mickelson returns to Winged Foot looking once again for his first U.S. Open to complete the career grand slam.
Does Gary Woodland repeat?
Woodland is here this week to defend his breakthrough U.S. Open title last year at Pebble Beach. Winged Foot is most certainly going to be harder to navigate.
Sleepers for this week
Hovland is a tremendous ball-striker which is crucial for success this week. Hovland, who made the Tour Championship has seven finishes of T-23 or better in 11 events since the restart in June. If his putter and short game get hot Hovland will be a factor come Sunday afternoon.
English had a great year making the Tour Championship and has been in great form as of late. English also had made his last four U.S Open cuts as well. What better way than to cap off great playing by getting your first-ever major championship top 10?
Despite this golf course being a bit too long for a guy like Kisner, I can never count out his putter getting hot for him to be around the first three pages of the leaderboard.
Wolff almost won the PGA Championship in his first-ever major as well. If he had just made a few more putts on the back nine. His ball-striking and his famous swing do all the talking for his game. If the putter warms up he could once again be a factor on the back nine on a major Sunday.
Ancer’s game is perfect for Winged Foot and last year going toe to toe with Tiger Woods at the Presidents Cup proves that he can handle a big stage like Winged Foot.
The 21-year-old is looking to have a good result at a major championship and played well at a U.S. Open course/setup at Olympia Fields with a T3 at the BMW Championship.
The pride and joy of Japanese golf Matsuyama, has not won a tournament in over three years but is a fantastic ball-striker and like Niemann played well at Olympia Fields signaling his game is ready for Winged Foot.
Golfers I don’t like this week
DeChambeau’s strategy will be interesting to watch this week taking on a U.S Open setup with his power. However, bad form as of late including struggling at Olympia Fields as well as Winged Foot being too tough to overpower makes me stay away from DeChambeau this week.
The defending champion coming in has not played particularly well the past couple of months and Winged Foot isn’t exactly a golf course to find your game all of a sudden.
Day did not have a good FedEx Cup Playoffs including a finish of 64th at the BMW Championship. Winged Foot will be a grind and I’m not sure a week to week golfer like Day can do well this week.
It is as simple as pie Fowler has not shown me enough to where I can say he is a favorite to win this week. Only one top 10 in the calendar year of 2020 and adding in a new swing since the restart has resulted in poor play and as a result, I do not expect Fowler to be a factor this week.
It would be one of golf’s greatest stories if Mickelson won this week to complete the career grand slam. Unfortunately, things have changed since 2006 and Mickelson is now 50 years old and simply not good enough to overpower Winged Foot once again. I fear Mickelson time has passed to finally win a U.S. Open but never say never.
A shocker right for me to put Woods into this category for those who read my golf posts? Unfortunately, U.S Opens have not been kind to Woods in his latest comeback and Woods has struggled since the restart with his game including putting and driving. Which are two things needed this week to even make the cut, let alone be in contention? Despite not having much success in his past two starts at Winged Foot, I do think Woods will make the cut and be around for the weekend but I can only see a T25 finish this week for the goat but he could always prove me wrong.
10 Paul Casey
Casey is one of the few golfers with course experience this week with a 15th place finish back at the 2006 U.S. Open. An excellent ball-striker who finished runner up last month at the PGA Championship expect Casey to once again be on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday.
9 Webb Simpson
Simpson has cooled off since the hot start back in June but his game always suits U.S Opens hitting fairway after fairway. All Simpson needs this week to contend is for his putter to once again catch on fire.
8 Tommy Fleetwood
Fleetwood always seems to contend in huge tournaments especially with the U.S Open. Fleetwood is usually a good driver of the golf ball which will be needed to win this week and a T3 at the Portugal Masters tells me Fleetwood has shaken off the rust and is ready to breakout.
7 Rory Mcllroy
The newest father on the PGA Tour has not played well as much as he like too since the restart. During a lot of his rounds he goes on hot stretches then makes a big mistake to kill his momentum. Mcllroy will need to clean that up in order to play well this week as a big mistake could cost you the tournament. But on the bright side he did play well at the BMW Championship and is a good driver of the golf ball so expect him to play a part come Sunday afternoon.
6 Daniel Berger
Berger is one of the hottest golfers in the world with seven top 10s in his last 11 starts. Yet nobody seems to talk about him breaking through and winning a big event. If his recent play keeps up this week do not be shocked to see Berger win his first major come Sunday afternoon.
5 John Rahm
Rahm won a thriller at the BWM Championship with an amazing weekend and is playing some of the best golf of his career. However, Rahm is lower on this list because of his emotions as he tends to get very frustrated on the golf course. Rahm has gotten very better at controlling it but it will be something to watch for this week with how frustrating a U.S Open setup can make a golfer.
4 Justin Thomas
Thomas had quite the 2019-2020 season with three victories but he had a disappointing PGA Championship last month. His caddie Jimmie Johnson returns this week so that will be a boost for his chances. But during the FedEx Cup Playoffs inconsistent putting cost him a chance at taking home 15 million and being a FedEx Cup champion and if he wants to win this week he’s going to have to clean that up.
3 Collin Morikawa
May I say more of how much Morikawa is not afraid of the spotlight? Morikawa beat the best in the world last month at the PGA Championship in only his second career major he’s a star in the making. Let me tell you we have seen golfers go on hot major stretches before and Morikawa is no different. Winged Foot sets up well for his game is one of the top iron players on the PGA Tour and if that putter gets hot as it did on Sunday at TPC Harding Park watch out for Morikawa making another major moment.
2 Xander Schauffele
Schauffele is a man who no obvious weakness in his game. Did you know he has three top-ten finishes of T-5 T-6 T-3 and the best part you ask? Schauffele has only played in three U.S. Opens which is incredible! Why shouldn’t he break through and get his first career major this week after finishing T2 at the Tour Championship and would have won had it been a normal format? Do not forget he is one of the best scramblers on the PGA Tour, which will be big this week with Wing Foot’s thick rough.
1 Dustin Johnson
Johnson is the world number one and the hottest golfer in the world and 15 million dollars richer. You can say enough with Koepka not playing this week Johnson is the obvious favorite this week with his past U.S. Open history. Johnson has never played Winged Foot before but his game always suits U.S Opens and coming into this week he’s got the confidence and game to win again and win major number two. However, like always the biggest question mark with Johnson is putting and if the flat stick can come through on Sundays. Don’t forget Johnson blew a 54 hole lead last month at the PGA Championship.
Just missed the Power Rankings cut but can play well
Winner Xander Schauffele
When you finish in the top ten in all three of your U.S Open starts you’re bound to break through eventually and I believe it is Schauffele’s time to shine. Johnson has been hot this past month but his putter is hard to trust and Schauffele did have a lower 72 hole score than him at the Tour Championship and has been one of the more consistent golfers on the PGA Tour. I’m putting my money on Schauffele this week to put on an exhibit on how to conquer Winged Foot. The question is are you going too? However, picking Johnson is also a good pick as well.
It is a U.S Open after all and high scores will be happening a lot this week so I’ll go with a winning score of even-par this week. I know it very well could be higher depending on the setup and the conditions but I do not expect anyone to hit red figures by the end of Sunday when we have a champion.