2022 United States Open Championship Preview
The Bonanza at Brookline
Not since the pilgrims descended from the Mayflower some 400 years ago and set foot onto Plymouth Rock has suburban Boston seen such a glorious site: The Country Club, in Brookline, Massachusetts, will play host to the 122nd rendition of our National Championship. Amidst the Celtics NBA Finals fever, the highly controversial LIV Golf frenzy, and maybe the most anticipated debut for the locals, Tom Brady's new underwear release, Marky Mark and his funky bunch will surely be out in full force this week for the year's third major, an event sure to be one for the ages...
This venue has played host to "The Greatest Game Ever Played" where the bastion of the old world boys club bowed to a kid who carried their bags, as well as "The Battle at Brookline" which will be equally remembered for Justin Leonard's heat seeking missile as it will be for one of golf fashion's greatest faux pas in modern memory. And yet, this week could trounce them both.
It is truly incomprehensible to try and envision what it's going to be like when Phil Mickelson steps to the podium in a few days to address the golfing world, after shockingly pulling off (at least temporarily) a coup of the PGA establishment, along with the old Shark, Dustin (*sad face emoji), ex-Captain America, Big Bad Bryson, and more seemingly by the hour, to head out East, and no not to Montauk, but across the pond, and into infamy.
Being the epitome of persona non grata this week, if Phil could nab the one title that has eluded him his whole career, from the slippery slopes of Shinnecock, to the treacherous Oak-lined alleys of Winged Foot, and somehow even be in contention on Sunday would be shocking, and yet in a sick way, admittedly satisfying. I mean, the old dog did dissect Kiawah like the original mad scientist he is last year, never say never...
But back to the true in-form contenders, here's just a few guys who I think have the potential to be lurking come Sunday afternoon, sorted by Draftkings DFS pricing tiers, rapid fire gut instincts only...
9K and Up aka The Alphas
CAM SMITH-the theme of all three top-tier selections is: "It's Time" all primed to win a major sooner rather than later, The Mullet Man himself leads things off already claiming victory in Sawgrass earlier this year. A wizard on and around the greens, if he can just avoid the dreaded double cross off the tee and steer clear of the neolithic fescue formations guarding the short grass, he should be in contention come Sunday.
X-MAN-how due is this guy? Having no noticeable flaws in his game (other than maybe the killer instinct) is a good recipe for success at US Opens where we've seen Xander lurk numerous times before. He knows the "real" win drought is a thing now, and will be looking to shed it in a big, big way.
#TEAMCANTLAY-PC is the guy who I truly have thought would win this tournament for the better part of a year now. After a disappointing showing at Southern Hills, he bounced back at Jack's place, and so I am ready to go full bore once more into the fray with this stone cold bentgrass assassin. He makes the most sense to me on paper based on his all-around game much like Xander, so now he just has to go out and prove it. Simple enough...
Shane THE IRISH BEAR Lowry-certain to have a gallery full of his native blood, this guy has simply been striking the ball too damn well all year to not have a win yet. Since his epic performance at Portrush he's gone close many a times, maybe most notably at Augusta and if not for an absurd rainstorm on 18 in Palm Beach would have the Honda Classic as well. Regardless, he's been on the verge for awhile now and may very well be ready for major number two...
Brooks Koepka-set aside the bleached hair, the Insta-wedding, the bum knee, the LIV rumors, and just remember that WHEN HEALTHY this behemoth is pound-for-pound the most dangerous big game hunter on the planet. Bludgeoning Erin Hills and Bethpage to bits, while using his equally deft touch of hand around the greens at Shinnecock and Bellerive, I think it's time to #BuyBrooksy while the market is low. It may be the last chance you get for a while.
Daniel The HamBergler-watching his near miss to Brooksy at Shinnecock last night from 2018, and seeing his overall solid game this year (another one with a close call at the Honda, and Sawgrass), I expect this tee-to-green expert to be in the mix come Sunday. I just have a feeling he will get a major at some point before he retires to the tennis courts of Jupiter.
FITZY-not just because he could be part of Frank Costello's crew, but based on his recent form (currently leading the RBC Canadian Open), and prior victory here in the USAM, he's gonna be popular no doubt, but you may just have to grab ya giblets and pepper accoydingly.
SAMMY THE BULL and MIGHTY MAX HOMA-I frequently pair these two together as elite ball strikers with high win equity. Based on their recent wins (Burns @ Colonial and Homa @ Wells Fargo, again), and overall two year form, these two meat missiles are a minimum of $1K underpriced, hammer away.
Tommy Fleetwood Mac Daddy-the Sunday 63 at Shinnecock was beyond impressive, as was his performance at Erin Hills, but it's time for a win now. Much like Fitzy and the Irish Bear (new kids book, anyone??), he's been due for a Stateside victory for some time now, and what better place to let the golden brown locks flow than here.
Keegan Bradley-Dark Horse Special, ah ef it, early HUMPDAY HAMMER, @romeothecaddy's fellow Wheatley Hills and St. John's alum (shoutout Matty P) actually hails from these parts and would love nothing better to show off his tee to green chops with the hometown support. He has a PGA from eons ago, but to add this title would really bolster his legacy. The only question is will he still be a part of Phil's Tuesday game?
HV3-final pairing with Brooks at Bethpage, Riviera lurkage, respectable showing at Augusta, wins in Australia and Dubai, this guy is another one extremely due for a win, and has proven he can compete in big boy fields for a while now. He's in the best form he's ever been so at a low 7K price, grab the jimmies and sprinkle generously.
6K aka Sicko Specials (grab the Pepto)
Handsome Victor Perez-he may not need to wait til "The" Open back home across the pond based on his recent form including an epic playoff victory over Ryan Fox in the Dutch Open, and subsequent 3rd at the Porsche. I like Fox as well to lurk here; both are just back in tremendous 3-month form overseas. I'll give the slight edge to Perez based on his success at another tricky track in Austin, but both are great value plays with easy T20 upside.
Our paesano, Francesco Molinari has regained his form, and should be suited to this difficult test of golf, as he was at Carnoustie and Augusta (almost)...
After his sister's victory in the US Women's Open, Min Woo Lee is intriguing to me as a bargain bin special. He fired an all-time front 9 at ANGC this April, and had a respectable showing at the difficult PGA as well. Sibling rivalries are no joke...
And one final shout out to qualifier Keith Greene, this is what golf is all about, please watch.
So whether it's a cinderella story like Francis Ouimet, or a proven piece of champion horseflesh like Brooksy, to borrow a line from Hawthorne, golfers, like families, are rising and falling with the times...
"What's the matter smartass, don't ya know any Shakespeare??" - IYKYK
That's all folks, hope you enjoyed my musings, and as always, BOL!
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