The U.S. Open from Erin freakin' Hills, where players will have to “Erin" the side of caution (ha!) to avoid the knee-high fescue Kevin Na has already gone ballistic over in an Instagram video.
This first-time host of the second major of the season plays at just under 7,700 yards. And while it is the second-longest venue, it is a par-72 track—a U.S. Open rarity. Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry, and Ron Whitten used the natural contours of 35 acres of Wisconsin farmland to create this rolling, natural-looking layout.
As the venue has never hosted a professional tournament, all players arrive at Erin Hills with the same lack of experience. Fairways are sloping, fast, and well wider than average, but feature a 4-5'' primary cut and impossible fescue beyond that. Players will get away with a little sloppiness off the tee, but anything beyond that will ensure bogey or worse.
The course features what appear to be firm and fairly undulating greens with closely mown areas (a U.S. Open rarity) and penal bunkers surrounding. Anything less than precision into Erin Hills putting surfaces with leave long, difficult up-and-downs.
Creme De La Creme
Rickie Fowler: $10,500
49 of the top 50 golfers in the world are in the field this week, so plenty of creme! And doubtless the top-priced players will be widely owned. Fowler is cheaper than DJ, Rory, Day, or Spieth and with plenty of upside. Fowler is 13th in strokes gained: approach-the-green, 11th in strokes gained: tee-to-green, and second in total strokes gained. A missed cut at the FedEx St. Jude shouldn't negate the quality of his recent form, and he has done good work at the U.S. Open, finishing second in 2014.