Before reading, please do check out our first weekly write up for Golf Monthly Magazine – its a different look at Rose and his US Open win…
After quite a few weeks on tough, short tracks where emphasis was high on accuracy, we now move to Maryland on the long 7,500 yard course at Congressional Country Club. Many of you will remember the US Open being held here in 2011 where Rory Mcilroy stormed to his maiden major victory. Rain played a big part that week, with the greens and fairways being a lot softer as a result, which allowed the Irishman to win by 8 shots on -16!
Now the weather this week is again expected to be poor, with thunder and rain predicted for all 4 days. (Congressional Weather Forecast) So this will mean soft greens which will also mean low scores. The only people to really suffer from the weather will be the shorter hitters, so they will have to make it up on the greens!
With the US Open being held here 2 years ago, there is a vast array of material explaining what Congressional is all about. One chart we really liked the look of is this (Courtesy of Daily Mail):
Consistent iron play and GIR statistics will all be needed this week, but most importantly will be putting. With the greens so large, 3 putting will be seen right through the field. So for this reason, the statistics that we have looked very closely at are proximity to hole, 3-putt avoidance and putting from 5-10’ (There will be a LOT of these length putts this week). But with the weather this week, you really have to look at distance off the tee as well.
Jason Day (16/1 Various)
When you actually look at the ‘top’ golfers in the field this week, Jason Day really does stand out. Rose and Mahan are likely to be drained after a tough couple of weeks and nobody knows really how Snedeker is feeling. Adam Scott would be the one worry, but you can argue Day is actually in better form. Jason was 3rd at the Masters and 2nd two weeks ago at Merion and has only finished outside the top 50 once all year, back in February. He has no missed cuts to his name and five top 10 finishes. But it’s his taste for majors that we really like, with Congressional being a major track. The Aussie has recorded four top 3 major finishes in three years, one of which was here at Congressional in 2011, where he finished 2nd behind Mcilroy. It is quite amazing how he only has 1 PGA Tour title to his name, which was all the way back in 2010. But you really have to fancy him to get title number 2 this week, especially as he finished 8th last year in this tournament. Now his statistics are perhaps not as good as our other picks, but with players of his calibre on a course he likes, that should not be a problem. In 2012 at Congressional, he did rank T3 in driving distance, 2nd in GIR and averaged 1.8 putts per green. A nice statistic we do like, is he ranks 10th in carry distance this year, which will be needed on the soft fairways. But with no real ‘big’ names here other than Rose, Snedeker and Scott, Day really will fancy his chances this week.
Fredrick Jacobson (66/1 Ladbrokes)
Now Freddie is a real favourite of ours and has yet to register a win this year despite playing really consistently. We’ve highlighted putting as a key area this week, and the Swede is one of the first names we think of when it comes to ability on the greens. And his statistics will back us up. 12th in 3-putt avoidance and 29th in putting 5-10’ is very impressive. But it’s the whole package that we like with him, Jacobson finished 14th when the US Open was held here whilst he registered a 2nd place back in 2008. And after not playing here last year, he will be looking to continue that trend. He ranks 11th in proximity to the hole as well, so pair that with his putting and it makes for a very tasty combination. People with good scoring average have tended to do well here over the years, and he ranks 8th in that category as well. Freddie finished off with a bogey-free 68 at the Travellers last week, so he’s in good touch and will be raring to go.
Graham DeLaet (40/1 Various)
With 2013 being effectively Graham’s third year on the PGA Tour (after injury blighted most of 2011) you really have to think this is the year for him to get his first win on tour. All the signs are there having not missed a cut for nearly 3 months now whilst registering two top 10’s. Last week he went so close, being in the final pairing on day 4 but eventually missed out on the play-off by 1 shot! But this will definitely spur him on for this week, and with the statistics he possesses, he could go one better. The Canadian ranks 11th in proximity to hole, 16th scoring average, 1st in GIR and 46th in putts 5-10’. And he really can strike a ball, ranking 9th in driving distance on the PGA Tour this year. Here’s a few more, 2nd total driving, 1st ball striking, 5th total birdies, 3rd par 5 performance and 7th carry distance. He’s in the form of his life and did make the cut here last year, so he has experience around Congressional. He will get a win soon, so hopefully it is here!
Ryan Palmer (50/1 Various)
Just like the previous two picks, you will have seen a lot of Palmer on our site this year. And more often than not, has got us a return. His consistency this year has to be a rewarded with a victory soon and why not here. His last 3 finishes at Congressional have been 15th, 21st (US Open) and 22nd. Other than a missed cut at Merion, Palmer has finished 4th, 14th, 33rd and 5th in his last four starts which you will struggle to find any better. So the course form and current form combined really does give off positive signals. As for his statistics, they do reflect the kind of form he is in. 12th scoring average, 10th driving distance, 51st proximity to hole, 22nd 3-putt avoidance, 35th strokes-gained putting, 33rd GIR and 6th in total birdies. We keep saying it, but just like the rest, Palmer really does have to bag a win soon and it could be here. 50/1 is great value as well!
Chez Reavie (150/1 Coral)
It’s always a prestigious spot being DownThe18th’s outsider for the week, and Chez has just edged out Canada’s David Hearn this time around, purely because of his experience around Congressional. But statistically you will not get any better than Reavie at the kind of odds he finds himself at. He ranks 19th in 3-putt avoidance, 5th proximity to hole, 35th scoring average and 28th ball striking. One worry could be his distance off the tee (280 yards average) but he makes up for that in accuracy, where he ranks 4th! And as we mentioned, his form is more than respectable, 45th (US Open), 48th in ’09, 40th in ’08 and then 15th last year. Definitely someone who has the ability to do well this week.