17 June 2015

2015 U.S. Open Preview

Eight years ago, Chambers Bay had not even opened yet. But now, the former gravel quarry is the host site of the 115th United States Open Championship. The views of Puget Sound may stunning but that does not mean by any stretch that the action will come easy for the players. This is the longest U.S. Open, and the first one over 7,900 yards, it may play like the Open Championship and it has got holes  (one and 18) that will alternate their par by the day. It another words, it will get interesting in University Place this weekend.

Martin Kaymer ran away from the field at Pinehurst in the U.S. Open last year, but what will be in store this year? Here is my 2015 U.S. Open preview.

1. Will this turn into the Rory vs. Jordan show?
Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are the top two players in the world right now and as such, they are the two favorites this week at Chambers Bay. Spieth, of course, is coming off a brilliant performance in the Masters while McIlroy has won twice in his last three PGA Tour tournaments (although he has missed the cut in his last two tournament appearances). Therefore, nobody should be surprised if the tournament champion is one of these two. If you had to pick between the two of them, I would go with McIlroy because of the length of the course, making it favorable to an excellent driver like McIlroy.

2. How will the course conditions come into play?
Check this out:

And this is after USGA executive director Mike Davis said that they put down a great amount of water on the course this week already. The region has been dry this year and it is clearly showing on the course. Without much in terms of rain expected the rest of the week, the firm surface is going to end up being a hindrance for many players in this tournament.  

3. Is this Phil Mickelson's last chance to win the U.S. Open?
Mickelson's misfortune at the U.S. Open is well-known at this point but while he has finished second in this tournament as recently as 2013, his play since then has largely been on the decline since then. He only has one win in the last two years (2013 Open Championship at Muirfield). He did look at the St. Jude Classic this past weekend in finishing third but I am one to think that his time to win the U.S. Open has passed.

4. What to expect from Tiger Woods?
I was pleasantly surprised with how well Woods played at the Masters two months back considering I was expecting him to be a disaster. But since then, he has been a mess with underwhelming performances at The Players and then the Memorial. Frankly it is hard to see Tiger being a serious contender for the win.

5. Who will win?
We are driving a little into the unknown this weekend at Chambers Bay so in some aspects, it makes this a relatively tough pick. But one player that I think will take to this course well, well enough to be my pick to win, is Justin Rose. The 2013 U.S. Open champion has been playing very well of late as he finished second at Augusta, winning in New Orleans and finishing second at the Memorial. He knows how to win, he is one of the best ball-strikers on tour right now and he has got experience on the links courses that this course will likely perform like. Rose is my guy this week.

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