US Open – Sweet Success For Dustin In North Carolina?
US Open 2014
Rory McIlroy heads the betting for this year’s US Open but can he emulate his first major win in 2011?
The second of the season’s Majors, the U.S. Open is played at a different venue each year, but is known for its high scoring as the courses chosen are generally amongst the toughest on the PGA Tour.
Between 1927 and 2009, only one European won the US Open, but Graeme McDowell’s success in 2010 was followed by that of Rory McIlroy in 2011 and Justin Rose last year.
The number two course at Pinehurst, North Carolina has hosted a Ryder Cup, a PGA Championship and two US Opens. It’s a tough par-70 that has undergone considerable renovation this year, the most startling change being the complete absence of rough, which has been replaced by sandy waste areas.
That may make the course a little easier, although it will still be a severe test of a golfer’s all-round game. The promise of thunderstorms on all four days will also make things tricky.
In The Bunker
Rory McIlroy’s off-course problems have not hindered his climb back up the rankings and he showed at Wentworth, that when he plays his best golf, few can live with him. The problem is that in most of his recent tournaments, he has thrown in one bad round to ruin his chances, a trend that dates back to the Honda Classic in February.
He was at it again in his last outing at Memorial, shooting a second round 78, and that unfortunate habit makes him an unappealing 10/1 antepost favourite this week.
Seven of the last eight winners of the US Open were picking up their first Major and this year could be Dustin Johnson’s turn.
He’s been hit and miss since his mini-break after the Masters, but there have been signs that he is finding form at the right time in recent weeks, including a blistering 65 on the first day at Colonial and three solid rounds at the St Jude Classic last week. Back him at 30/1 for his breakthrough win.
Sergio Garcia’s Major tribulations are well-documented, but at 34, he still has plenty of time to pick up that first Major, and this could be the year. The Spaniard has been in excellent form throughout, winning the Qatar Masters and bagging four top ten finishes in six PGA Tour events.
It’s also worth noting that his best ever US Open performance came on the last occasion the event was held at Pinehurst, back in 2005, when he finished third. Back Sergio at 33/1 to finally get his hands on a Major.
Finally, you should think about adding Jimmy Walker to your shortlist. He lacks Major experience, but the current Fed Ex Cup points leader already has three tour titles and top tens at the Masters and Players Championship to his name this season. The course will suit him perfectly and he’s excellent value at 50/1