Welcome in Lineup Logic! It’s a big week in golf, and we’ve got you covered. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock Hills for the first time since 2004 and it’s shaping up to be another interesting major, with every single one of the top 60 golfers from in the world slated to compete come this Thursday. Some notable storylines to get you thinking:
- Phil Mickelson’s next attempt at the career grand slam (and an interesting history here, to say the least) PLUS a birthday narrative?
- Tiger’s next “post comeback” major start – Is he ready to do what we’re all waiting for him to do?
- Defending U.S. Open Champ Brooks Koepka is fully back and has exceeded post-injury expectations since his return – Can he keep it going?
The Course: Shinnecock Hills, 7,445 yards, par 70: Quite a bit to get into here. I am going to keep it as brief as possible – Tune into “The Sweet Spot” podcast (Lineup Logic DFS) for the extended version, where we’ll take a deep dive into the course and the entire field. For starters, Shinnecock is one of the oldest courses in the United States. It’s been around since 1891 and has hosted the U.S. Open four times so far. The course emulates a Scottish links-style course. Sweeping hills, very fast greens, deep fescue rough, and wind is anything but uncommon. Luckily (for now), the weather is looking pretty decent for this weekend and wind appears to be somewhat tame. This isn’t saying much though – the last time the U.S. Open was here it was the overnight winds that make things tricky. Long story short, wind will makes things difficult in more than one way and rain would most likely soften up the course and cause some lower scores.
It’s difficult to state just how important hitting fairways is going to be this week. The fescue rough, which more or less lines the fairways at Shinnecock, can be at times impossible to hit out of. With that said, it is rumored that the fairways have been widened quite a bit since the last time the U.S. Open was held here. Additionally, the course is quite a bit longer than in 2004. Almost 500 yards longer. So a couple of variables here – longer course, wider fairways? I’ll take the long ball. Not so fast! Windy course, tight fairways, trouble everywhere? I’ll take the short knocking accuracy guy. This is something that will surely be critical in who has success this week. Another fun fact: All three winners of the “modern” U.S. Opens that were held at Shinnecock Hills were over 35 years old. Food for thought.
Here’s a breakdown of how some of this week’s field has fared in the U.S. Open over the past 5 years. Remember – different courses, different conditions. But one thing always holds true for this tournament – the USGA is in charge, and they do their best to make things as difficult as possible for the competitors. Course, type of greens, and total yardage are all noted (this week’s greens are Poa!):
And for the deep divers out there – here’s some stats I’ll be taking a look at this week: Strokes gained off the tee, fairways gained, strokes gained approach, strokes gained scrambling, and strokes gained par 4. There are a few more stats that stand out to me here, so you may want to tune into the podcast before Thursday morning. And last but not least – the Shinnecock Hills scorecard for this week:
Taking all of this into consideration – I’m going to throw out some of my favorites and host of The Sweet Spot, Mike Alexander’s (aka @Roto_Wan) picks for the week. We’re going to give our early favorites by DFS pricing tiers – “Stud”, “Mid range”, and “Value”:
“Studs” – First look favorites:
@donaldremington: Justin Rose ($9,900 DraftKings, $12,200 FanDuel)
Justin Rose has been impressing all season. His DK price is definitely more enticing than FD, so it’s possible he could get a little chalky over there. But it’s well deserved, making 15 cuts in 15 starts on the season, including TEN TOP-10 FINISHES! I don’t think I need to say more, but I will. He’s won 3 times, including two weeks ago at the Fort Worth Invitational in Texas and a couple times in the Fall. He has been a ball striking maniac and has been as consistent as they come. He won the U.S. Open in 2013 at Merion, and I am hoping people see his MC’s in his last two U.S. Opens. When talking tee to green, par 4 scoring, and putting – he’s a step above a large majority of this field. Book it!
@Roto_Wan: Jon Rahm ($9,500 DraftKings, $11,800 FanDuel)
Jon Rahm is definitely deserving of this pricing tier, but could go over looked in this field with so many big names to draw attention elsewhere. He’s got the long ball and we know he’s capable of winning big events. His wind play is stellar and you don’t see him playing himself out of events very often. He’s made 13 cuts in 14 starts and has 6 top-10’s on the season, in addition to 3 wins. Great price, great course fit.
“Mid-Range” – First look favorites:
@donaldremington: Tommy Fleetwood ($8,100 DraftKings, $10,400 FanDuel)
Tommy Fleetwood. A guy I’ve been pulling for all season, and I’m starting to think this may just be what I’ve been waiting for. He’s got the distance and is pretty highly regarded as a consistently accurate ball striker, that definitely has shown he can play on courses of this sort. He’s another guy that’s awaiting the big breakthrough, and his price is excellent. He’s made 18 cuts in 19 starts and has finished in the top-10 8 times this season. If he can string four rounds together and avoid any sort of big mistake – he’ll be just fine. A serious candidate to take this one down as I see it now.
@Roto_Wan: Henrik Stenson ($8,800 Draftkings, $11,300 FanDuel)
Consistency is not to be overstated. Henrik is as close to a machine on the golf course and you can get. He’s known for his ability to play on links courses and is known to play great in the wind. He’s made 12 cuts in 13 starts on the season and has 6 top-10’s. We all know he can win here, and that price is very, very enticing.
“Value” – First look favorites:
@donaldremington: Jimmy Walker ($7,300 DraftKings, $9,800 FanDuel)
Walker hasn’t finished outside of the top-20 in his past 5 starts, and that’s including a T20 at the Masters and a T2 at the PLAYERS. Prior to the past two years, he’s had some real success at the U.S. Open. He’s made 10 cuts in 14 starts, hasn’t missed a cut since February, and has 4 top-10 finishes on the season. He’s far above average in terms of scoring on par 4’s and has a short game that seemingly keeps getting better and better. If he can keep the ball in the fairway, he’ll be right in the mix come Sunday.
@Roto_Wan: Ian Poulter ($7,300 DraftKings, $9,500 FanDuel)
He hasn’t played in the U.S. Open the past two years – so here’s his chance to stick it to the USGA once and for all! He’s clearly coming back into form over the past year and has shown it by way of making cuts and even closing tournaments out in some instances. He’s an Englishman, so he’s no stranger to the links style course and the wind. He’s coming off an 8th place finish at the Italian Open and has 4 top-10’s and a win this season. Not too shabby for $7,300.
That’s all for now. Be sure to tune into the Lineup Logic “Sweet Spot” podcast coming at you tomorrow where we’ll give an in depth look at Shinnecock and the insanely talented field competing this week. Thanks for reading and good luck this week!
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