Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: U.S. Open
It's finally here. After a lengthy wait since the Masters and some up-and-down fields ever since, we're getting closer and closer to the U.S. Open.
The major moves to Erin Hills Golf Course in Wisconsin, and information on it is somewhat scarce -- at least in the sense that we can't dig back and see how golfers fared statistically to find correlations to finishing position.
Still, it's the U.S. Open, and that means it's going to be difficult. Here's what we know about Erin Hills.
Course and Tournament Overview
Erin Hills is a long, long, long par 72. It's going to play 7,693 yards on the scorecard. That'll make it the second-longest course on tour this year behind just Torrey Pines (7,698 yards), host of the Farmers Insurance Open. It might play longer or shorter a bit depending on tee and hole locations, and yes, it can actually get longer, as Erin Hills can play longer than 7,800 yards.
We also know it's going to be tough. The course hosting the U.S. Open has graded out as the toughest course on tour 14 times in the past 17 seasons if measured by average score relative to par. The "easiest" the U.S. Open has played since 2000 was the sixth-toughest course on tour in that given year.
Two of them ranked sixth, actually. The easiest of the 18 courses (including both Chambers Bay courses in 2015) played 1.993 strokes over par (2011 Congressional). Just. Yikes.
Making matters worse? The field comprises more than 150 players, but only the top 60 and ties make it through the cut. Getting all eight golfers on your FanDuel lineup through the cut is an optimistic approach to say the least.
Recent Tournament History
We need to take all of this with a grain of salt because it's a different course, but Dustin Johnson (-4) won the U.S. Open last year in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. Shane Lowry was -7 after three rounds (owning a four-stroke lead through 54 holes over Johnson and Andrew Landry). Lowry wound up tied for second at -1 with Jim Furyk and Scott Piercy.
Sergio Garcia and Branden Grace tied for fifth at even par.
Jordan Spieth (-5) won in 2015 at Chambers Bay, breaking a 54-round tie with Johnson, Grace, and Jason Day at -4. Johnson wound up T2 with Louis Oosthuizen (-4). Grace tied for fourth with Adam Scott and Cameron Smith. Day dropped to T9 with Lowry and Rory McIlroy (even).
With the lack of course history at Erin Hills, seeing which golfers fared well at other U.S. Opens isn't a terrible idea, but it won't tell you everything.
Certain stats, such as strokes gained: tee to green, birdie or better percentage, and putting efficiency will always be worth monitoring, but these are some of the most important stats to look for when rostering golfers at Erin Hills.
|Key Stats for the U.S. Open at Erin Hills Golf Club|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Greens in Regulation|
|Strokes Gained: Putting|
|Par 5 Scoring|
With how long this course is, we need to consider driving distance or at least knocking down guys who can't generate long drives. Plus, the fairways are wider than usual for a U.S. Open, so distance more than accuracy is the focus. In the same breath, the fairways do have some bunkers to avoid, meaning we can't ignore accuracy entirely.
For that reason, strokes gained: off the tee could be the best driving stat to dig into for this iteration of the U.S. Open.
It sounds as though this course will favor ball-strikers, and you can just embrace ball striking itself, but strokes gained: off the tee and (especially) greens in regulation correlate well with the stat, historically.
The greens are built to make approach shots tricky, so we need to weight scrambling ability even though there isn't much rough around the greens, and the greens themselves (A4 bentgrass) should hover north of 12 on the stimpmeter. Putting is difficult to trust week to week, but we want to favor strong putters if possible.
The par 72 also makes par 5 scoring worth weighting while narrowing down your player pool for the week.
Course History Studs
Well, this will be a bit of a different approach here than usual, as there hasn't ever been a pro tournament on this course.
However, Erin Hills hosted the 2011 Amateur Championship, and 11 golfers who played in that, according to GolfBettingSystem.com, are in the U.S. Open field this week.
|Golfers in 2011 U.S. Amateur Open at Erin Hills||bet365 Odds||FanDuel Salary||DraftKings Salary|
|Byeong Hun An||80/1||$6,800||$6,800|
Spieth comes into the U.S. Open having missed three of his past six cuts (excluding the Zurich format) but has made 51 of 60 cuts with 45 top 25s, 29 top 10s, 8 wins, 6 runner-ups, and 4 third-place finishes since 2015. One of those wins was the 2015 U.S. Open.
Justin Thomas is a good par 5 scorer and long off the tee. Peter Uihlein has finished 25th or better in all three of his events on tour entering the St. Jude Classic, and Russell Henley can gain strokes off the tee (44th on tour this season) and priced reasonably this week.