US OPEN 2017: Fantasy Golf Preview

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The US Open is notoriously tough, and it’s no secret that the USGA likes to see players challenged during the second major of the year.

Welcome in Erin Hills. It’s a brand new course as the US Open heads to Wisconsin for the first time – and with a combination of lengthy holes and wrist-breaking fescue, being off-line certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted.

That being said, the first-time venue does have some of the widest fairways in the history of the tournament, but with tough weather conditions forecast we think someone who has pretty decent driving/ approach to green accuracy or scrambling may come out on top this week.

While Kevin Na was critical of how impossible the fescue is to get out of, Rory McIlroy admitted that the wider fairways allow players to be agressive. Rory reckons anyone who can control their ball flight, particular with their irons, will do the best here.

He said “It’s perfect, I think it’s going to be a huge success”

So who should you be in your Fantasy Golf team for the second major of the year? World No.1 Dustin Johnson returns to the tournament where he won his first major title, while 2011 champion Rory McIlroy comes in to the US Open for his first appearance since a second absense this year due to injury. To find out who has been paired with who, look at the tee times here.

We've had a closer look at the most recent results and stats from both high tariff and mid-low tariff players to help you choose your Fantasy Golf team. All you need to do is make sure you change it by midnight on Wednesday 14th June!

Erin Hills

High Tariff Players

Past Champions in the field: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Rory Mcilroy, Graeme McDowell, Webb Simpson, Lucas Glover, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Angel Cabrera

Dustin Johnson: Fantasy Price £15m
The World No.1 is returning to the scene of his first major victory with a lot of confidence. He missed his second cut this year two weeks ago, but in 10 events he’s had three victories, two top 5s, a T6, T12 and T13. He’s ranked 1st for greens in regulation and driving distance, 6th for scoring average and 10th for birdie average – but there is one drawback. We know this course poses a danger for wild drivers, and DJ is ranked 160th for driving accuracy and 188th for sand saves. That being said, he is ranked 1st for GIR from other than the fairway – so would you bet against the best player in the world?

Rory McIlroy: Fantasy Price £15m
Rory hasn’t played for the past three weeks since re-aggrivating the rib injury at The Players that he picked up in South Africa in January. He’s got a brand new set of TaylorMade clubs and a new Spider Tour putter in the bag, and the the 2011 champion was full of praise for the course. The World no.2 has only played six events this year so it’s hard to gauge where he is stats wise, but of those six he hasn’t missed a cut and has had two top 5s and two T7s – so it’s hard to rule him out.

Jordan Spieth: Fantasy Price £15m
The 2015 US Open Champion is hitting form at the right time. He was T13 in his last event at Memorial and narrowly missed out on victory at the Dean & Deluca. He’s already had a victory, four other top 5s and a top 10 in his last 14 events, which also includes three top 13s and three missed cuts. His downfall is his driving accuracy (rank 123rd) but he’s currently 1st in approach to green stats, 2nd in both scoring and birdie average and 4th for greens in regulation – so while it’s a bit of a gamble given the length of the rough he’s also ranked 5th in bogey avoidance so we certainly think this week could provide another major title for Jordan Spieth.

Henrik Stenson: Fantasy Price £15m
It was a pretty slow start to the season for the Open Champion, but things have picked up in the last few weeks. He came close to victory but ended up T3 at the BMW PGA Championship and was T26 at the Nordea Masters, but hasn’t made enough cuts for stats this year. We think Stenson is a bit of a gamble this week, but given that he’s the World No 6 and we’re back on the big stage this week, we’ll leave it up to you to decide if he’s worth the risk.

Jason Day: Fantasy price £15m
Excluding his T5 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, it hadn’t been an easy start to the season for Jason Day. However, he was 2nd at the AT&T Byron Nelson and T15 at the Memorial Tournament, reclaiming his World No.3 spot from Hideki Matsuyama. He’s ranked 4th for approaches between 75-100 yards, 3rd for sand saves, 5th for eagles and 1st for strokes gained around the green. So as long as his long game accuracy turns up this week, Jason Day could be a real challenger.

Rickie Fowler: Fantasy Price £14.5m
He may have missed the cut last week, but Rickie Fowler has been having a pretty decent season and is still targeting his first major title. In his last 10 events he’s had a victory and three other top 5s, and his stats against the rest of the field are impressive. While he’s ranked 13th in strokes gained in those all important approach to the green stats, he’s also 1st in sand saves, 3rd in both scoring average and birdie average, 2nd in strokes gained and 7th in putting. Is it finally time for Rickie? We think it might be.

Sergio GarciaFantasy Price £14.5m 
Garcia's was the arguably best player never to have won a major title before he put on his green jacket at Augusta, and yet two months after his Masters triumph it isn't all that unfeasible that Sergio could win another. He hasn't missed a cut all year, has won twice, and in his last seven tournaments he hasn't finished worse than T30. He's also ranked 1st for scoring average, 2nd for strokes gained off the tee, 3rd for strokes gained tee to green and 7th for greens in regulation.

Justin Rose: Fantasy Price £14.5m
Rose already came agonisingly close to picking up the first major of the year when he was beaten by Sergio Garcia in a play-off at the Masters, but the Olympic Champion could be a real contender here. In his next two tournaments following the Masters he played poorly, but a T12 at the BMW PGA Championship showed him to regain form. He’s a previous US Open champion is ranked 3rd for Green in regulation from 200+ yards and 6th for birdie averages, and given the length of the course those could be a very useful stats.

Hideki Matsuyama: Fantasy Price £14.5m
He’s the 4th ranked for birdie average, 10th for GIR, 10th for strokes gained off the tee and 7th for strokes gained tee to green. If that doesn’t give him confidence that he can win his first major, the fact he’s won 3 tournaments this season and only missed the cut once since August should help. The only drawback is that his last victory was in February, and he hasn’t broken in to the top 10 since.

Justin Thomas: Fantasy Price £14m
He’s already had a 59, won twice in 2017 and although he went off the boil for a couple of weeks, Justin Thomas had a real chance of winning at Memorial – if only he could have holed some putts. It could well be the week for Thomas in Wisconsin, who is ranked 1st for birdie average, 4th for scoring average, 4th for approach to the green and 1st for approaches from 100-125 yards. 

Paul Casey: Fantasy Price £13.5
Another player who is perhaps deserving yet is still to get that elusive major title. However, Casey has had three top 10s in his last five events, in addition to a T12 and T22 – and is clearly got a lot of confidence in his game right now. He’s 3rd in approach to the green stats, 7th in Green in regulation, 13th in tee-to-green and 15th in scoring average. Add that to his 4th rank for bogey avoidance and it nots difficult to see that this could easily be a good week for Paul Casey. 

Alex Noren: Fantasy Price 13m
The World No.8 recently won the BMW PGA Championship, making his 5th European Tour title in under a year. He was also 10th at The Players and T5 at the WGC Dell Match Play, and has played a variety of events on both tours this year. He doesn’t have any stats, but his 10-under-par course record 62 a few weeks ago at Wentworth is probably all you need to know about the calibre of Alex Noren. 

Matt Kuchar: Fantasy Price £13m
With Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia crossing themselves off the ‘best player never to have won a major’ list in the past year, there is a feeling at TG that the same fate surely must be coming for Kuchar soon. He was 4th at the Masters this year, and coming in to the US Open his last three results are T4 – T12- T9, so combined with the fact he’s ranked 10th for Scrambling this year and 22nd for scoring, it might just be the year for Kuchar.

Mid – Low Tariff Players

Charl Schwartzel: Fantasy Price £12.5m
Schwartzel was T3 at the Masters in April and missed out last week by a single shot, so the 2011 Masters Champion has certainly hit a hot streak. He was T7 at the US Open in 2015, and while his page of stats doesn’t make for the most compelling read, he is ranked 10th for sand saves and 9th for strokes gained in putting which may be helpful at Erin Hills.

Jon Rahm: Fantasy Price £12m
The young Spaniard has taken the PGA Tour by storm this year, and despite a missed cut two weeks ago he still leads the rankings in number of top 10s this year with Justin Thomas (7). Although he only turned pro in 2016 (the week after he was leading amateur at last year's US Open), the 22-year-old has already won on the PGA Tour and is the World No.10. He’s a big hitter and is ranked 5th for bothing scoring average and birdie average, but also has good stats when it comes to approach shots. He’s 7th in approach to the green and 15th for GIR, and as someone who likes to be aggressive, Erin Hills could be a great course for Rahm.

Jon Rahm

Kevin Kisner: Fantasy Price £12m
In three attempts Kisner’s best finish at the US Open was T12 in 2015, and he comes in to this event in great form. He won three weeks ago at the DEAN & DELUCA, and was 6th at Memorial before taking last week off. He’s not the longest hitter so could find this course a bit tough, but he’s 12th in driving accuracy, 9th ranked in tee to green and 5th in strokes gained – so if you’re looking for an outside bet either in our Fantasy Game or elsewhere, we’d suggest Kisner as a good shout. 

Francesco Molinari: Fantasy Price £12m
Molinari came incredibly close to victory at the BMW PGA Championship, finishing in second at Wentworth a couple of weeks ago. He had been T6 the week before, and followed it up with a T24 finish at the St Jude Classic last week. The stats are hugely in his favour: He is ranked 2nd for driving accuracy, 5th for scoring average and 10th for birdie average –and what better time is there to get his first victory since the 2016 Italian Open?

Graeme McDowell: Fantasy Price £10m
G-Mac won the US Open in 2010, and he has been incredibly consistent in 2017. It’s a bit of a gamble considering he’s yet to break in to the top 10 this season, but he’s been very close and given that he is 9th in driving accuracy and 8th ranked in putting, the consistency may prove very beneficial at Erin Hills.

Kevin Chappell: Fantasy Price £10m
Chappell won his first (and long-time coming) PGA Tour title at the Valero Texas Open in April, and there wouldn’t be many surprised faces if this was the start of a few more victories for him. He comes in to the second major of the year with a T4 finish at the St Jude Classic, and although he has some fairly uninspiring stats, he is ranked 1st for scrambling from the fringe and that could prove helpful given the greens that run-away in to fescue.

Ross Fisher: Fantasy Price £10m
Ross Fisher is a great bet for his fantasy golf price, especially when you consider he’s had five top 10s (including three top 5s) in his last eight starts. He’s missed one cut in that time, but his last two finishes were T22 at Memorial and T9 at the BMW PGA Championship. 

Pat Perez: Fantasy Price £8.5m
If you’ve had Pat Perez in your Fantasy Golf Team like we have for the past few weeks, you’ll know he’s been a pretty effective low-tariff pick. He hasn’t played in a US Open since 2008,  but has had a good season. He missed his first cut of 2017 a couple of weeks ago, then bounced back with a T19 at Memorial. He came close at both Wells Fargo and the Farmers Insurance open, is ranked 17th for scoring average and 8th for total number of birdies - so he’s a pretty solid fantasy team pick.

Bud Cauley: Fantasy Price £7m
At £7m, you’d be crazy not to have Bud Cauley in your Fantasy team this week. Not only does it mean you have more money for high-tariff players, but he’s on incredibly form. He’s had two T5 and two top 10s in his last six starts. He finished T25 at Memorial two weeks ago, and given that he is ranked 8th in strokes gained from approach to the green, he’s definitely a good bet this week. 

The Course: Guide to Erin Hills