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US Open - Preview & Predictions

As June represents the off-peak golfing season in the Middle East we have now approached the most exciting period on golfís biggest stage in terms of major championships and large scale tour events on the US and European Tours.†Today signifies the start of the second Major of the year in what is usually regarded the hardest golfing examination of them all Ė the US Open.

However this year the host venue is Erin Hills and will be staging its first ever US Open in Wisconsin. The golf course is a public course and opened in 2006 and contains no water hazards and no out of bounds Ė just rugged natural terrain, high rough and well placed bunkering surrounding smaller than usual bent grass greens. The course is also a Par 72 unlike previous US Opens that are usually played on Par 70 golf courses. In fact this is the first US Open venue since 1992 (Pebble Beach GC) to take place on a Par 72 golf course.

The USGA are under pressure to deliver this year after the poor playing conditions at Chambers Bay in 2015 and the way they handled the rules infringement in 2016 when Dustin Johnson didnít know his score for the majority of his final round as it was under investigation from the officials. Thankfully the one shot penalty didnít have an impact on the final result.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson goes into the week as the favorite as you would expect with his impressive form early in the year. Letís hope this week heís rented a bungalow after his injury sustained the day before the Masters in April. Outside of this there is a whole bunch of players that could take the title this week. Former champion Rory returns from injury this week but questions will be asked about his preparation leading into the week. Jason Day hasnít captured his form from 12 months ago after coming back from an injury at the start of the year. However his game should be suited to the Erin Hills layout. Jordan Spieth can be never ruled out having won this event in 2015. Will Sergio be ready to go again after his first major breakthrough at Augusta? Justin Rose is a previous winner of the event in 2013 and comes into the event after a narrow loss to Sergio in the Masters. Other players of mention are Ricky Fowler, Open Champion Henrik Stenson, Jon Rahm and Adam Scott.

We're a competitive bunch at the Royal Golf Club and many of us have predicted winners below. Feel free to send us your suggestions via our Social Media posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Stephen Havrilla - Sergio Garcia
Philip Waine - Jordan Spieth
Adam Dutson - Rory Mcilroy
William Evans - Rafa Cabrera-Bello
Chloe Beacon - Dustin Johnson
Ben Stimson - Henrik Stenson
Kelly Stapleton - Justin Rose
Nikki Hunter - Jason Day
Juan Fuentes - Jon Rahm
Zander Potgieter - Louis Oosthuizen
Jerome Ackermann - Ricky Fowler
Paul Gindra - Charl Schwartzel

I personally went for Jordan due to his major championship record and his ability to deliver on the big stage. He has a solid game and a lethal putting touch that maybe the difference on this difficult golf course. In terms of the winning score - I think the number will be slightly lower than previous years due to the two additional Par 5ís, wider than usual fairways and a drivable Par 4. However miss these fairways and you are in brutal fescue rough. Iíll pitch at a winning score of -7.

Please also note that the US Open will be played in Hickories Members Lounge & Cafť T with the US Open Members' event taking place this Saturday 17th June. The viewing times in the US donít help us in the Middle East but live coverage will start from 8pm on all four days with the highlights played throughout the day at more convenient times from Friday to Monday.

With the proposed debut set-up of Erin Hills and the amount of quality players in contention this should be a fascinating 2017 US Open.

GO JORDAN!!!

Philip Waine
Director of Golf
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