Expert Picks for U.S. Open Championship
The second major of the season -- the US Open -- is here, expanding the fantasy audience to a group as large as it may get this season. The casual fan base for professional golf mirrors that fascination with this particular tourney as more people tune in to watch golf this week than any other week this season (barring a miracle return to dominance for Tiger, events we will not witness this week with Woods' withdrawal), and more of those people will enjoy the entertainment of fantasy golf. The challenge of a league during a major event is as grueling as any faced during the roto campaign, but at the US Open the list of virtual competitors swells, marking this week as the greatest test of the fantasy golf season.
More often than not, we are also faced with a course rarely seen in the PGA Tour rotation. The USGA, proud owners and operators of the US Open, rotates this illustrious event through various host venues without any specific schedule or destination, often giving fantasy owners the challenge of pondering a field with little relevant experience on that particular course. This season we are blessed as the US Open returns to the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. While it has been 14 years since the USGA brought the major to these links, Congressional also serves as an annual host for the PGA Tour's AT&T National. As such, we have history on our side with recent leaderboards produced on these same links to review and consider, giving the experienced and educated fantasy owner an edge on the competition.
We note the links of Congressional consistently rank among the best in the nation. Originally opened in 1924, this course has endured three reconstruction efforts, including two over recent years (1989 and 2006) under the famed guidance of Rees Jones, producing one of the longest (7,250 yards from the championship tees) and most difficult tests the professionals will face this season. The par-5 ninth, listed at 636 yards, is considered one of the most demanding holes in US Open history. Strategic bunkers are found throughout the grounds. Water is sparse, but will come into play at the turn as well as the famed 18th hole, one of the longest par-4 offering the US Open has ever seen (523 yards). Recent US Open champions include Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk, Michael Campbell, Geoff Ogilvy, Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, and Graeme McDowell.
Lee Westwood - World Ranking: #57
Luke Donald - World Ranking: #82
Matt Kuchar - World Ranking: #15
Phil Mickelson - World Ranking: #24
Martin Kaymer - World Ranking: #56
Steve Stricker - World Ranking: #78
Jim Furyk - World Ranking: #79
Sergio Garcia - World Ranking: #5
Ian Poulter - World Ranking: #84
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