Top 30 from the Final US Tour Moneylist:
Sergio Garcia: Sergio is currently listed at 40-1, which has to be a pretty good price for a man who finished third here last time. As a guy that crushes the ball, is a great ball striker and shouldn’t struggle too much on relatively flat greens at Bethpage, he is one of the best looks in my opinion. Garcia has obviously never won a major, seems to be generally unliked, and is kind of a baby. We know Sergio won’t out-putt the field, but his ball striking could be an even bigger advantage on what should be a more penal US Open layout. The fact that watching Sergio is so damn frustrating means you’re probably on the right path.
Kenny Perry: There was a nice article from GolfDigest about how technology will affect the second time around at the Black. When I think about golfers who technology has aided the most, I think Kenny Perry. Very few golfers could play with a swinging hook before a few years ago when technology made it possible to alter launch angles, ball spin and such. Perry went from a decent Golfer to having his highest finish on the Moneylist in his forties. Can’t say I really like Kenny at the Open.
Anthony Kim: Kim has really struggled to follow up on a strong 2008 season. After finishing second in the season opening Mercedes Benz Championship, Kim apparently left his game on the islands and hasn’t finished better than 20th(Basically one great round at the Masters) in a stroke play event since. Kim clearly has upside in his career, but there are rumors of a lot of partying and I found that guys in their early 20s improved, but often took one step back before taking two forward later on. Kim at 60-1 doesn’t seem crazy either way.
Justin Leonard: Leonard always has had a knack for showing up on courses where you wouldn’t really expect him to have a chance. Maybe that’s just because, as a shorter hitter, you don’t really expect him to do well anywhere nowadays. At 80-1, I can’t say I really like Justin, but I don’t hate him either. This is probably one I just don’t pay attention too.
Robert Allenby: Always the consistent, but unheralded performer Allenby has put together another solid season without getting a win. He has high finishes at difficult tournaments like the Players, Arnold Palmer and Honda Classic, however he hasn’t converted this into a win since 2001. That’s got to be a little bad luck and he is definitely underrated, but for some reason Allenby just isn’t that high up on my list.
Ryuji Imada: Ryuji finishing 13th on the moneylist last year surprised me a lot. He won the ATT Classic, which no longer exists, had some good early season finishes, but didn’t do much after that. He has a few notable top-20s this year, but there is nothing to make me believe he is one of the best 50 players in the US Open field.
Mike Weir: Weir is good, I guess, but I just can’t see him competing at the top of the leaderboard next week.
KJ Choi: Choi seems to have lost his game this season. He has a few high finishes including one at Memorial last week, but also a lot of missed cuts. Another guy I don’t see contending next week.
Ben Curtis: Curtis quietly is one of the most consistent and best US players in Golf. His swing is ugly, he doesn’t hit it a mile, so nothing really sticks out about his game, but he keeps posting good finishes. Of all the Todd Hamilton, Rich Beem, Trevor Immelman, little known major champs I would say Curtis is easily the best. Curtis at 80-1 is a pretty good price for someone who I have as being in the top-15 of the world.
Kevin Sutherland: Kind of the poor man’s Ben Curtis. I’m not as optomistic on Sutherland, though.
Stuart Appleby: You could do worse than Appleby, who’s name has a tendency to pop up on major championship leaderboards every now and then. Appleby is scuffling a bit of late with 3 missed cuts in his last four starts, and probably doesn’t have a huge upside.
Steve Stricker: Stricker is another potentially solid look. He is arguably playing the best golf of his career over the past few months despite having only one win to show for it. Stricker finished t-16 last time around at Bethpage and his putting stroke is almost ideal for what will be slick greens in the Open. At 50-1, only a handful of Golfers ahead of him appear to be better looks.
Chad Campbell: I wouldn’t want to have injury questions and play a US Open layout unless my name was Tiger Woods.
Boo Weekley: Ditto.
Stephen Ames: Ames has quietly put together some solid results this season. He has a handful of top-20s and 2 top tens at some decent events this season. Again, the problem with Ames is he is probably somewhat underrated, but it is hard to say he is the absolute best you could do this week.
Dudley Hart: I have no problem ruling out Dudley in one sentence.
Hunter Mahan:Mahan has elevated himself into the games elite over the past year or so. There have been plenty of flashes of brilliance and has only one once, but he has made 14 of 14 cuts this season. Mahan has a ton of high finishes at quality courses this season and I think the potential to step his game up past one time winner of an after thought tournament. Currently, 50-1 is a pretty tight line, though. Mahan hits a lot of greens(27th on Tour) and hits it far and pretty accurate off the tee, which I like at Bethpage. Certainly one of my favorite golfers and someone to watch, but I don’t think he makes the cut as a pick to win.
Tour Championship Field
Briny Baird: If the US Open was played from tees elevated 250-feet and required you only to hit a pitching wedge in a circle, I’d say Briny had an 80% chance of winning. As it stands, he is probably a solid Jeff Maggert type performance candidate.
Bubba Watson: Bubba is definitely overrated, but is one of my favorite golfers to watch. He hits the ball long, sometimes all over the place, plays anything from high cuts to big sweeping draws and it usually ends in a train wreck. Who doesn’t like that?
Andres Romero: It’s not that I would say Andres is incredibly overrated, because he is young and has room to improve. The problem is, he has gotten way more attention for a win and some high profile high finishes than his actual level of play merits.
Billy Mayfair: Mayfair had a great year last season. Unfortunately his most familiar result this season reads “CUT,” and I don’t see why the US Open would be any different.