ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

TPC Halftime: Looking Toward the Open

Blogger had some problems Wednesday and Thursday that caused me some problems. For example, I had to repost the Ross duPlessis swing video post after all the tags got messed up. It's also interrupted my posts about "keeping your hands in front of you." I'll get back to them next week.

2011 U.S. Open logo In the meantime, I thought I'd take a quick look at how the TPC is shaping up for this weekend and what, if anything, it tells us about the possible contenders in the U.S. Open next month.

TPC Sawgrass has a lot in common with most Open venues:
  • The course places a premium on accuracy; it's hard to score if you don't hit the fairways.
  • The greens are highly contoured. There aren't many easy putts.
  • With a few exceptions (Bethpage comes to mind) length off the tee isn't all that important. It helps, of course, but generally shorter players have a fair chance.
The players who do well at the TPC this week will make a good case for their chances at Congressional in June. Matteo Manassero's struggles at the TPC tell me he's probably not ready for a U.S. Open. Both his Driving Accuracy and his GIR stats are in the 50-60% range, which won't help him deal with a USGA setup. I'm a bit surprised at that, so I don't consider him a favorite right now. The Open Championship at Royal St George's is probably more in his wheelhouse this year.

So who should we be watching this week?

First off, we have two past champions in the Top 5 right now -- 2009 champion Lucas Glover and 2010 champion Graeme McDowell. Both finally seem to be back on form, and they certainly know how to play and win on a USGA torture track.

Luke Donald has been my choice for most of the year, the main question being his occasionally wild driver. Given that he's the only player without a bogey through two rounds, despite the TPC rough, I think that proves he's accurate enough to handle U.S. Open rough.

David Toms has entered the picture now. I didn't realize that most of his stats were Top 10 on tour, and given that he's won a major before (2001 PGA Championship), I think he has to be taken seriously for Congressional.

Hunter Mahan, Aaron Baddeley, and Nick Watney have all been playing well this year. Can they put four good rounds together at an Open? That's a good question, and I'm not convinced yet. I'll be watching them over the next few weeks.

The same goes for Steve Stricker. The U.S. Open seems tailor-made for him, but his iron play has been questionable this year.

That just leaves J.B. Holmes and Davis Love III in our Top 10. Although they're playing pretty well this week, neither is hitting many fairways (a real bugaboo for both this season) and neither has putted particularly well.

So right now Donald is still my favorite to win at Congressional, although Glover, McDowell, and Toms are back in the conversation. Is any player making an impression on you?

Click the image to read a Golf Channel / Associated Press article about the course setup. Graeme McDowell's foreboding comments sound pretty much like what we hear every year before an Open. ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment