I would like to say the 2015 playing of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay is one of the most anticipated in recent history. But truthfully, every U.S. Open in the past few years have had their major storylines.
As far as uniqueness though, Chambers Bay could stand alone.
Located in the Pacific Northwest along Puget Sound, an ocean inlet, this world-class piece of golf architecture is located only 30-some miles from bustling metropolis of Seattle, just outside Tacoma, Washington– yet it seems isolated and serene.
The course is the most aesthetically-unique facility to ever host a U.S. Open. With complex fairway and greenside bunkering, severe dune slopes, undulating green surfaces and hundreds of different routing options, all coupled with an ocean bordering links style of play, the course belongs in England. It truly does.
Each of the teeing areas has an array of teeing locations. Some tee boxes can variate by 100-yards, giving the USGA a tremendous amount of options off the tee.
That, along with some tee boxes sitting on slopes, the USGA controversy will continue to heat up. It’s like a variety buffet!
There will be more storylines to this week’s golf course than simply “the first links course to host a U.S. Open.” It’s going to have a wild amount of options.
Because this golf course is so vastly different than anything else seen during a U.S. Open, a few things will separate players from the field.
- Game Versatility (ability to hit it high then low, right then left, etc)
- Course Knowledge (very few have this)
Chambers Bay Info, Facts & Tidbits
- Owned by Pierce County, it’s the first course in the Northwest to host a U.S. Open
- It hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur won by Peter Uihlein
- For history on the area of Chambers Bay, read this insight from their website:
The area first found use as a rock quarry stemming as far back as the Steilacoom Indian Tribe and the first European settlers in 1832. Over the years the Chambers Creek Properties area has been used as a location for a paper mill, a major industrial center, multiple lumber companies, a railroad center, a sand and gravel mine, a bus barn, a regional wastewater treatment plant, a preservation and recreational area, and today, as a world class 18-hole championship golf course.
- Watch this awesome hole-by-hole tutorial FoxSports is publishing with famed golf course architect Gil Hanse
- Here’s another great video from Fox Sports
- There is a group contingent on getting Fred Couples into his hometown U.S. Open
- The 5th green offers one of the most unique set-ups and players could be seen chipping shots from off the green during play
- Since the undulations are so sharp, greens are expected to roll at a 9-10 on the Stimp compared to a typical 12-13 of a U.S. Open
Watch this video by Chambers Bay Golf:
Click here for a link to the entire 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay field.
All of the TV Times can be viewed here via FoxSports.
Last 5 Champs
- 2014: Martin Kaymer at Pinehurst No. 2 (Recap here)
- 2013: Justin Rose at Merion (Recap here)
- 2012: Webb Simpson at Olympic (Recap here)
- 2011: Rory McIlroy’s First Major at Congressional
- 2010: Graeme McDowell Seizes Pebble Beach
This Week’s Picks– The U.S. Open Preview
FIVE From the Fairway (that’s right, 5!)
Remember from above:
- Game Versatility (ability to hit it high then low, right then left, etc)
- Course Knowledge (few have)
He absolutely has to be on the short list of contenders and hopefuls for the 2015 U.S. Open. His obvious length is a clear factor when playing a course that measures in at some 7,800 yards and plays to a par of 71. Look at this from the Memorial a few weeks back:
— TaylorMade Golf (@TaylorMadeGolf) June 7, 2015
He’s been knocking on the door for a major championship for a good 6 years now. His near misses at Pebble Beach in 2010, Whistling Straits at the PGA, Pinehurst last year and the 2011 British Open.
Eight top-10s in majors including some strong form and a good finish last year make DJ one of this year’s “Chambers Bay Dawgs.”
As far as the criteria above, Dustin has a versatile and nimble game despite his raw power. He’s played well on a multitude of different courses, lending himself to imaginitive play. His putting isn’t tremendous, but for a player with that resume, does it have to be?
The man cannot be omitted from a major championship preview, so I won’t ramble long, but only to give you a few morsels of insight.
He’s the number 1 player in the world. His length is elite in the field. Majors are his focus. He’s won two of the last three majors.
Not much more I can say about him. But honestly, like everyone else, I like him this week and will disregard any of his weak starts and finishes in the past couple of weeks.
The 44th ranked player in the world is Francesco Molinari. Molinari is almost a player I feel I could’ve considered as a sleeper, but I didn’t. I think he’s fully capable of donning the cloak of ‘competitor’ in a major championship.
Sure, his golf swing looks stiff, unathletic and the antithesis to ‘versatile,’ but I will say, the guy is consistent. His resume continues to build upon itself slowly, but surely piling– like a waiter at an Italian restaurant piling parmersan cheese onto spaghetti (I really stretched there trying to tie in his Italian citizenship, didn’t I?).
Anyways, I like the elder Molinari for a few reasons this week:
- T23 last year at Pinehurst
- A new, unique, different golf course and Molinari’s game held up well
- T4th on Tour in 3-putt avoidance, with only 9 all season
- The large greens at Chambers Bay could lead to 3-putts galore for the players. Molinari will not be among those to succumb
- A T3 finish at the Memorial, after holding the lead late Sunday
- Strong recent play, as the Memorial featured a world-class field two weeks ago in Ohio
I’ll be fielding Molinari for the week, I think he’ll sneak another top-25 finish, maybe higher.
Ahh, screw it. Molinari for his first career top-8 in a major– there, I said it. (He has a T9 and a T10 in two majors, the 2012 Open and 2009 PGA, respectively). This will be contention for Molinari.
His presence will be a predominant force on any and all U.S. Open previews– and why shouldn’t it be? Aside from being the Masters champion and world #2, there are a lot of reasons to swoon over his chances this week.
Spieth is the quickest learner on the PGA Tour. As evidenced by his ability to play well in events on courses he’s never seen and the fact that it took him only a year to figure out Augusta and trounce the field, his intuitiveness will aid him in big ways this week. I think he’ll be able to figure out Chambers Bay as fast as anyone out there, despite the fact that he’s already played it.
That’s right, he’s already played the course.
He was in the field at the 2010 U.S. Amateur won by Peter Uihlein. Granted he struggled and missed the cut as a 17-year old, others who failed to make match play were Brooks Koepka, Russell Henley, Bud Cauley, Daniel Berger and Derek Ernst.
His struggles should mean nothing. But what has significance is the fact that the world #2 has competitive experience on a course none of his peers do.
Remember, he’s a fast learner.
Factor that in with his only 1.49% of his greens being 3-putts in over 1000 total holes (ranking him 3rd on the PGA Tour) and his overall strength on the greens, he’s a guy to like a lot this week.
(Note: It was hard to find content on the 2010 U.S. Amateur, so here, this broken link should at least suffice: http://golfweek.com/news/2010/aug/24/spieth-falls-short-match-play-us-am/. He bucks that title and plays his way into Grand Slam general discussion this week).
He’s a hometown favorite, “the local face of the U.S. Open.” So how does he feel about playing the U.S. Open at home?
“It would be incredible, there is no other way to describe it,” said Moore. “Not only close to where I’m from, but truly where I’m from, you couldn’t write it up any better.”
There’s always the chance that players competing this close to home put too much pressure on themselves to perform, but Moore is the consummate professional. He won’t allow it to deter him. Or at least I don’t believe so.
Moore’s play has been good in streaks this year, racking up some good finishes alongside his win late in 2014 at the CIMB. He was a T12 at the Masters and has had U.S. Open success in the past (limited, a T10 in 2009).
Dillon Friday on Moore in November 2014 after his win:
Moore will turn 32 next month. He’s well in his prime. There’s no better time than now to have the breakout season that so many have predicted since his amateur days of success.
Off to a good start.
He won’t win, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the storyline play on into Saturday and be a talking point of the FoxSports crew. The hometown hero and a good finish in the U.S. Open could put his name on the major championship radar.
One From the Rough (Sleeper)
Fleetwood, the 52nd-ranked player in the world today, isn’t a player known too much on this side of the pond. But I’ll tell you what, this 24-year old can play–and he has a track record to prove it.
A storied amatuer career concluded with a slew of elite victories throughout Europe. Fleetwood turned pro in 2010 and has added 4 professional victories to his name, most notably, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2010.
He’s never played in a U.S. Open, but when looking for an even playing field, where better than a place that Mike Davis believes has leveled the playing field better than any U.S. Open track in history? Fleetwood is coming off 4 top-25 finishes in the past few months of competitive golf including a late-run at the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play, qualifying for the final 8.
Tommy’s coming out party will be the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and his shaggy hair will be on full-display.
Watch some of Tommy here…
The Man with the Trophy
He was really close to playing well at the Masters in April– really close.
A few misses here, a few misses there and a snapped club left Stenson well back of Jordan, but with a solid T19 finish. Nothing incredible to report since. A formidable top-20 at the PLAYERS and limited play with sickness make this a tough pick, but I can’t go back on the guy I picked back in April to win!
My quote at the time of writing:
Hard to convince me there are any better ball-strikers right now than Henrik Stenson. He rips the monkey off his back.
I like Henrik for a few reasons this week. He’s 2nd on the PGA Tour in GIR, 7th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and combines both of those as a top-15 overall putter, gaining .535 strokes with the flatstick. That’s a potent combination.
If the winds start cooking at Puget Sound, I suspect Henrik’s penetrating ball flight will serve him well on the links layout.
He was a T4 at Pinehurst, has four other top-30 U.S. Open finishes in the past 5 years and has a streak of 20 consecutive cuts made.
The glaring hole on his resume is the lack of a major championship. It’s a course which offers no true advantage. If Henrik can keep his edge, yet keep his cool about himself, I really like his chances to win. In fact, I’m going to pick him.
Where’s that monkey?
Henrik can be singing this all evening on Sunday…
Thank you for reading, COMMENT below!
My Successes This Year
I’m hoping to keep the good vibes going, as this year’s been a good one for me. I’ve forecasted a few good ones and although I know bragging isn’t necessarily good, but hey, I’ve struck out so much this year, let me enjoy the good ones!
- Brooks Koepka’s win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (Read Preview here)
- Brandt Snedeker’s win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am (Read Preview here)
- Near miss (2nd) with Stenson at Bay Hill (Read Preview here)
- J.B. Holmes win at the Wells Fargo Championship (Read the Preview Here)