The United States Open at Oakmont Country Club. If you’re not familiar with golf, Oakmont may mean nothing to you. As an avid golfer, it strikes fear into me and I have never played the course. Oakmont will once again prove to be the toughest test in all of golf. The 2007 United States Open was played at Oakmont and winner Angel Cabrera finished at FIVE OVER PAR. Compare that to the last two United States Opens where in 2014 at Pinehurst, Martin Kaymer won at nine under par and last year at Chambers Bay, Jordan Spieth won at five under par. When you see Oakmont on TV you will see no water and barely any trees. What you will see is rough that swallows golf balls and greens that are slicker than ice. We can’t forget about the 210 bunkers. They are placed perfectly in the areas where players will be trying to land their tee shots. To win here you have to hit fairways often and make clutch putts. One errant tee shot could be disastrous. But it is the United States Open. Seeing the best golfers in the world struggle is fun to watch. Here are my top five players for this week. There are some big names yes, that’s because to me there are only about 20 guys of the 156 that have a realistic chance of winning.
- Jordan Spieth- Defending United States Open Champion is one of the best putters in the world. After his collapse at the Masters, many thought it would take him a long time to rebound. It took only 3 weeks, where he won the Dean and Deluca Invitational. I can’t stress enough how tough these greens will be. Spieth will have a chance to pick up some strokes on the field with his putting alone.
- Hideki Matsuyama- To win the United States Open you have to be an excellent ball striker. Matsuyama is just that. When looking at players that could excel on a tough course I simply look at their track record in Major Championships. Matsuyama has quietly made 10 of his last 11 cuts in Majors. If his putter can get hot this week he could win this thing.
- Jason Day- Day has made 13 straight cuts at Major Championships and 3 straight United States Open top 10s. He has already won three times this year, one of which was the Players Championship. Day is a complete package. He is long, straight and can putt. The World #1 should be in contention on the weekend.
- Dustin Johnson- Johnson is getting the reputation that he can’t close out the big one. In the past, Johnson has been leading or in contention in Major Championships but always finds a way not to win, like last year 3 putting the 72nd hole to lose by 1 shot to Jordan Spieth. In my eyes to be in those situations you have to be playing good golf. He has won 9 times on the PGA Tour so winning isn’t something he is scared of. He will eventually finish it off and win a Major Championship. Johnson is in great form right now heading into this tough course.
- Rory McIlroy- McIlroy is as gifted as it comes in golf. He can hit any shot in any situation. He is only 27 and has 20 professional wins, including 4 Major Championships. Big time players come through on big stages. The United States Open is one of those stages.
Bubble Guys- Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott and Justin Rose