By Tyler Ruby on June 10, 2014
15 years after Payne Stewart's memorable win at the U.S. Open, the tournament returns to Pinehurst No. 2 for the first time. The U.S. Open is truly a test of a golfer's character, patience and skill as the fast, narrow fairways are lined with thick, luscious rough. Some players on the PGA Tour have the games to succeed at the U.S. Open, and some just don't. Who should you avoid in this year's U.S. Open?
Ever since Keegan Bradley's PGA Championship win in 2011, he has been a trendy pick to win a number of majors due to his long drives and intense personality. But outside of the PGA Championship, he hasn't had a ton of success in majors, especially the U.S. Open. In two starts, he finished T-68 and missed the cut. He ranks 100th on tour in driving accuracy, and at Pinehurst, that may prove to be costly.
I think that we've all been waiting for Luke Donald to finally break through and win his first major, but the U.S. Open will not be it. Yes, he possesses one of the best games from 150 yards and in, but it's his driving accuracy and distance that will be his downfall this year. Playing at 7,565 yards, Pinehurst will be too long for Donald to make any sort of run.
While his putting and driving statistics say that he may have a chance to compete, I wouldn't bank on it. After becoming one of the best players in the world over the past two years, injuries and poor form have really taken their toll on Brandt Snedeker. He only has one top-10 this year, and he has missed the cut three times. Avoid him at all costs.
The only thing Dustin Johnson has going for him is his length off the tee. It gives him an advantage over almost everyone who is in the tournament. The problem for Johnson is that he can get wild with his tee shots, and the rough at Pinehurst will be diabolical. This, coupled with the fact that his short game almost always falls short around the green, could make it a rough weekend for Johnson.
Bubba Watson is riding high. The Masters winner is enjoying one of the best years of his career, but the odds are against him winning his second major. Only a handful of players have ever won the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year, the last coming in 2002 by Tiger Woods. Watson's game, however, just doesn't suit the course. He can get away with wild drives at Augusta, but not in the U.S. Open.
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