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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: U.S. Open (2024)


The heart of the PGA Tour schedule continues as the Tour heads to North Carolina for the third Major of the season in the 124th U.S. Open!


Annually falling on the third Sunday in June and colliding with Father’s Day, what better way to kick back and relax (unless you’re hopefully sweating an outright) than tuning into golf’s toughest challenge.


Pinehurst No. 2 will once again play host to the highly anticipated U.S. Open, seeing its return for the first time since the 2014 playing.


The U.S. Open is arguably my favorite weekend of the season as a fan of the sport with the threat of golfers exploding on every shot. The turmoil and chaos that can ensue here is what makes the U.S. Open, the toughest challenge in the sport.


Pinehurst No. 2 is also arguably my favorite host of this event as it gives us a different look than strictly a massively long course with tight fairways and long rough. Instead, Pinehurst challenges golfers with hardpan, unpredictable runouts into natural hazards that run parallel to each fairway. 


The Field

The U.S. Open holds the strongest field in the world of golf.


Opposed to The Masters which is a limited field and the PGA Championship which reserves spots for PGA Tour professionals, the U.S. Open features a field of 156 players including past champions cut off at ten years. On top of that, the U.S. Open requires golfers not otherwise qualified, to do so via regional qualifying. 


Of the 156 golfers within this field, each of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) top-60 will be in attendance this week.


The most notable absence (at this time) is Adam Scott who currently ranks No. 61 in the OWGR and failed to qualify after losing a playoff to Cam Davis. Scott will be the first alternate but his longest active streak of consecutive majors played (91) is in jeopardy.


Tiger Woods will also be making his first appearance since The Masters this week.


Wyndham Clark is the defending champion after he propelled himself into stardom at Los Angeles Country Club a season ago.


Martin Kaymer will also tee it up this week, winning the last edition of the U.S. Open to be held here in 2014. Kaymer won that event by eight strokes, finishing at eight-under as runner-ups Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton crossed the finish line at one-under.


Other former U.S. Open Champions in this week’s field include Matt Fitzpatrick (2022,) Jon Rahm (2021,) Bryson DeChambeau (2020,) Gary Woodland (2019,) Brooks Koepka (2017 & 2018,) Dustin Johnson (2016,) Jordan Spieth (2015,) Kaymer (2014,) Justin Rose (2013,) Webb Simpson (2012,) Woods (2000, 2002 & 2008) and Rory McIlroy (2011.)


The Course

Pinehurst No. 2 is one of the most historically significant golf courses on the American scene. Its rich history dates back to the 1800’s.


Pinehurst No. 2 has hosted the U.S. Open three times prior (2014, 2005 and 1999.) It has also hosted one PGA Championship (1936,) one U.S. Women’s Open (2014,) three U.S. Amateurs (2019, 2008 & 1962,) one U.S. Senior Open (1994) and the 1961 Ryder Cup. 


It was also the first course to host a Men’s and Women’s U.S. Open.


Now, Pinehurst No. 2 is a rare public course gem that somehow continues to walk the tight-line between playable for the 20-handicappers and incredibly challenging for the best golfers in the world.


This course is the crowning jewel of Donald Ross’ extensive career. It serves as his most famous and recognized accomplishment.


Pinehurst No. 2 plays as a par-70 at 7,543 yards and is not long for the sake of being long like many of the other U.S. Open hosts.


The biggest line of defense and true to Ross’ design are the greens that are turtle shell shaped, offering endless runoffs and making them extremely difficult to hold.


The runoffs off these greens lead to tightly mowed yet difficult areas and will force golfers to play from tight lies. 


The course too offers just two par-fives and beyond that, it is stretched to its limits. 


There are a few chances for golfers to catch their breath, namely the short part-four No. 2 and No. 13 holes that both measure under 400-yards. Depending on the tee placement, these holes will be driveable. However, these are arguably the two toughest greens on the course and going for the green can place a golfer out of position.


Beyond those two par-fours, the rest of the par-fours fall in line with what we are accustomed to for a U.S. Open. Eight of them measure beyond 450-yards and three stretch beyond 500-yards. Two of them are converted par-fives for the non-tournament routing.


Off-the-tee, ball placement is key. Pinehurst No. 2 hangs its hat on being “bomb and gouge” proof due to firm conditions that lead to unpredictable runouts into lateral sand and wiregrass hazards. 


Control off-the-tee combined with average driving distance into long approach shots is the key to attacking this course.


Again, the turtle-shell shaped greens make those long irons that much more difficult to hold the greens. Each green possesses an exact landing spot needed to hold them. Any non exact iron shot will result in the ball running off. 


North Carolina has hardly seen a drop of rain recently as well. This will have the course dry and playing to its maximum difficulty with firm and fast conditions. 


Simply put, on nearly every single shot on this golf course, golfers will need to know where they can and cannot place their ball. 


In the end, any score under par by Sunday should be applauded. If we look back at the 2014 playing of the U.S. Open here, just three golfers finished the week under par. 


The Weather

As has been the trend recently in North Carolina, this week will be dry for the U.S. Open. Sunday currently holds the highest chance of precipitation at just 20-percent. The rest of the days call for just a ten-percent chance. Temperatures will be warm as well, ranging from 89-degrees on Thursday before peaking at 94-degrees on Saturday and falling to 91-degrees on Sunday. Winds too will not exceed eight miles-per-hour this week, as Sunday calls for the highest winds. In all, it’ll be a hot and dry week, something we’re not accustomed to on the PGA Tour this season. Expect extremely firm and fast conditions.


Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: T2G)

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP) / Proximity to the hole from 175-plus Yards

  • Strokes Gained: Around the Green (SG: ATG)

  • Scrambling

  • Bogey Avoidance

  • Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermuda (SG: PUTT Bermuda)

  • Total Driving

  • Par 4 Average Scoring

  • Par 3 Average Scoring

  • Three-Putt Avoidance


DFS Suggestions

$10,000+

We’ll kick this off the only way I know how to, and that’s with Xander Schauffele ($11,500.) Schauffele comes in as the third most expensive golfer, but offers a value compared to Scottie Scheffler ($13,000) and Rory McIlroy ($12,100.) There is essentially no argument that Schauffele is currently the second best golfer in the world to Scottie and is the most well-rounded golfer in the world. He is currently first on Tour in scrambling, second in all of SG: T2G, bogey avoidance, par four average scoring and three-putt avoidance, fifth in total driving, sixth in SG: APP, eighth in par-three average scoring, 26th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 28th in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards and 35th in SG: ATG. Schauffele won the PGA Championship and followed that up with a T8th at the Memorial Tournament last week. Prior to that, if we throw out the rain-shortened AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, his worst finish on the season was a T25th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. In other words, in 13 72-hole events, he has placed top 25 in all of them. He also has placed top ten in ten of them and top five in six. So, he has placed top ten in 77-percent of events he’s played this season and top five in 46-percent of them. Simply put, he’ll be in contention on Sunday. I’m playing three units on Schauffele at +1200 this week. Also consider Rory McIlroy ($12,100.) McIlroy is currently second on Tour in total driving, fourth in SG: T2G, 13th in par-four average scoring, 14th in bogey avoidance, 17th in scrambling, 24th in SG: APP, 29th in par-three average scoring, 33rd in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards, 62nd in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 66th in SG: ATG and 113th in three-putt avoidance. He too is in some insane form. He finished T15th last week at the Memorial. Prior to that he won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the Wells Fargo Championship, placed T12th at the PGA Championship and T4th at the RBC Canadian Open. In events that are so demanding and so low scoring, McIlroy thrives. He has the ability to get hotter than anyone on the course and chase them down. Also consider Brooks Koepka ($10,000.) Koepka will undoubtedly hold a large ownership figure this week based on name value and price point alone. In his last three outings on the LIV Golf Tour, Koepka won LIV Singapore and placed ninth at both Adelaide and Houston. Major Brooks as he’s fondly known as, is always one to show up when it matters the most. He’s a two time U.S. Open champion and a three time PGA Championship winner for a reason. He’s also ninth on LIV in fairway hit percentage, fourth in birdies, 14th in scrambling, fourth in Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%,) 30th in putting average and 15th in average driving distance. 


$9,000-$9,900

With just five golfers in this price range, I’m only going to suggest two opposed to my typical three for majors. There isn’t a ton I love here but a guy I’m all over this week is Ludvig Aberg ($9,600.) Aberg just feels like he was made for the U.S. Open. He’s both long and accurate off-the-tee, has great iron play and putts rather well without making a ton of mistakes. He is currently second on Tour in par-three average scoring, third in total driving, sixth in par four average scoring, seventh in both scrambling and bogey avoidance, 12th in SG: T2G, 15th in SG: APP, 43rd in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards, 82nd in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 89th in SG: ATG and 103rd in three-putt avoidance. Aberg missed the cut at the PGA Championship but bounced back with a T5th last week at the Memorial Tournament. Prior to his missed cut he placed T10th at the RBC Heritage, second at The Masters, T14th at the Valero Texas Open, eighth at THE PLAYERS Championship, T25th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T19th at The Genesis Invitational, second at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and T9th at the Farmers Insurance Open. I’m playing two units on Aberg at +2200 this week. Also consider Collin Morikawa ($9,400.) My only knocks to Morikawa this week is the putter and his ownership is going to be through the roof. If Morikawa could putt, he would have taken down Scheffler last week at Muirfield. He is currently eighth on Tour in both par-three average scoring and three-putt avoidance, tenth in SG: ATG, 11th in SG: T2G, 13th in par-four average scoring, 22nd in bogey avoidance, 23rd in scrambling, 41st in total driving and 51st in SG: APP. His downfalls come in the form of a 126th placement in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards and 151st in SG: PUTT Bermuda. Again, he would have won last week if he could have made a putt when it mattered and the same could have been said for the PGA Championship. However, his recent run-of-form can’t be denied. Over his last three events he placed second at the Memorial Tournament, fourth at the Charles Schwab Challenge and T4th at the PGA Championship. He also placed ninth at the RBC Heritage and T3rd at the Masters.


$8,000-$8,900

We’re finally entering some price ranges with some disparity. First up we have one of my tournament favorites, Hideki Matsuyama ($8,000.) Matsuyama had a stretch of events not that long ago where he won The Genesis Invitational, placed T12th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, went T6th at THE PLAYERS Championship and finished T7th at the Valero Texas Open. He didn’t have the best showing at the two earlier majors (Masters and PGA Championship) and withdrew from the Wells Fargo Championship citing injury. However, he’s fresh off a T8th at last week’s Memorial Tournament so I believe he is fine. He is also first on Tour in SG: ATG, third in SG: T2G, sixth in scrambling, 13th in bogey avoidance, 19th in SG: APP, 30th in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards, 34th in par-four average scoring, 41st in par-three average scoring and 85th in total driving. Of course, his downfalls come on the greens as he ranks 124th in three-putt avoidance and 150th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. However, when Matsuyama is on, the putter is not needed as he throws darts at the hole. I’m also playing a unit on him at +5500. Also consider Justin Thomas ($8,900.) Thomas is finally rounding into form. Within his last four tournaments, he has placed T5th at the RBC Heritage and T8th at the PGA Championship. He also placed T21st at the Wells Fargo Championship and T33rd at the Memorial Tournament. On the season he has also placed T12th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T6th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and T3rd at The American Express. Thomas is currently fifth on Tour in SG: APP, sixth in SG: T2G, 12th in SG: ATG, 33rd in bogey avoidance, 35th in total driving, 51st in three-putt avoidance, 54th in par-three average scoring, 56th in par-four average scoring, 59th in scrambling, 106th in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards and 125th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. He did gain strokes putting recently at the RBC Heritage, to the tune of 0.667 strokes-per-round. I’m also playing a unit on him at +4500. Also consider Tony Finau ($8,100.) Finau too has been in some great form as of late. He placed T8th last week at the Memorial Tournament. Prior to that he placed T17th at the Charles Schwab Challenge, T18th at the PGA Championship, T12th at the RBC Heritage and T2nd at the Texas Children’s Houston Open. Finau is currently fourth on Tour in SG: APP, tenth in SG: T2G, 25th in total driving, 26th in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards, 31st in SG: ATG, 56th in par-four average scoring, 88th in bogey avoidance and 96th in par-three average scoring. Of course, he has some downfalls. Those come in the form of 140th placement in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 145th in scrambling and 146th in three-putt avoidance. The recent run of form and elite tee-to-green and approach play should help carry him this week. 


$7,000-$7,900

This is a price range filled with so many great options in my opinion. The first of which is Sahith Theegala ($7,600.) Theegala is currently 18th on Tour in par-three average scoring, 19th in total driving, 22nd in SG: APP, 23rd in SG: T2G, 33rd in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 42nd in par-four average scoring, 47th in bogey avoidance, 57th in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards, 66th in scrambling, 112th in three-putt avoidance and 131st in SG: ATG. A lot of what makes Theegala who he is is the magic he is able to produce around the greens, a lot of which can’t be placed in a statistical figure. Although he missed the cut at the RBC Canadian Open, Theegala placed T12th last week at the Memorial Tournament and placed T12th at the PGA Championship. He also placed second at the RBC Heritage, T9th at THE PLAYERS Championship, T6th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and fifth at the WM Phoenix Open on the season. Also consider Tyrrell Hatton ($7,800.) What is Hatton good at? He’s a strong iron player with a great around-the-green game and is one of the best scramblers in the world. He is also a very strong putter. Currently on the LIV Golf Tour he is third in putting average and tenth in scrambling. He can get a bit errant off the tee which is of some concern this week but he does have plus distance and is one of the world’s best in scrambling to get back-on-track. He also placed fifth recently on LIV in Singapore, fourth in Miami, 14th in Adelaide and 18th last week in Houston. I love playing LIV guys in DFS at majors due to the massive discount we not only get in pricing, but also in ownership. Also consider Sam Burns ($7,200.) Burns is currently 11th on Tour in total driving, 13th in par-four average scoring, 15th in three-putt avoidance, 24th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 24th in SG: T2G, 40th in bogey avoidance, 60th in SG: APP, 96th in par-three average scoring, 97th in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards, 99th in SG: ATG and 100th in scrambling. In other words, he’s top 100 in each of the 11 statistical categories I took into consideration this week. Burns is rather volatile on the golf course. When he’s one, he’s really on, but when he’s off, he’s really off. His recent run of form suggests he may be on as he placed T15th last week at the Memorial. He also placed T10th at the RBC Canadian Open and T13th at the Wells Fargo Championship. He also placed T10th at The Genesis Invitational, T3rd at the WM Phoenix Open, tenth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and T6th at The American Express on the season. This is a guy who can shoot up leaderboards on any given round. I don’t believe he has what it takes to win, but he has a real shot at a top ten or top 15 and in this price range, that would go a long way. 


$6,000-$6,900

We get some gifts this week in this price range. The first being Si Woo Kim ($6,800.) What does Kim do arguably better than anyone else? Make the cut. I know he missed the cut at the PGA Championship but outside of that, made the cut in his 15 other events he’s played this season. Within those 15 made cuts, he also has ten top 25’s. He placed T15th last week at the Memorial. That’s the extent of this breakdown here. We simply need our guys in this price range to make the cut to get us a six-for-six lineup heading into the weekend. It help’s Kim’s case that although this course is long, it’s more of a positional course opposed to a bomber’s paradise. He is currently fourth on Tour in SG: T2G, ninth in SG: APP, 12th in bogey avoidance, 13th in par-four average scoring, 24th in SG: ATG, 32nd in three-putt avoidance, 41st in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards, 52nd in total driving and 54th in par-three average scoring. His downfall comes on the greens as he ranks 164th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. However, he has ten top 25’s on the season while losing strokes putting on nearly every round. In the event a few putts fall in his favor, he’ll skyrocket up leaderboards and could, in turn, turn out to be a gem in this price range. Following the same trend and argument in playing kim is Alex Noren ($6,900.) Like Kim, Noren is another guy who constantly makes the cut. Again, I know he missed the cut at the RBC Canadian Open, but outside of that, has made the cut in each of his other 13 events this season. Noren also has ten top-25 finishes on the season including two top tens and a top five. He placed T22nd last week at the Memorial. He also placed T12th at the PGA Championship, T24th at the Wells Fargo Championship, third at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson, T23rd at the Corales Puntacana Championship, T14th at the Valero Texas Open, T11th at the Texas Children’s Houston Open, T19th at THE PLAYERS Championship and T9th at the Cognizant Classic. Noren is currently third on Tour in all three of scrambling, bogey avoidance and par-four average scoring, eighth in SG: ATG, 13th in SG: T2G, 19th in three-putt avoidance, 39th in SG: APP, 41st in par-three average scoring, 50th in SG: PUTT Bermuda and 95th in total driving. His downfall comes with his long irons as he ranks 159th in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards. Again, we’re simply looking for Noren to make the cut. Also consider Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($6,200.) I absolutely love Bezuidenhout this week. He’s fresh off a fourth place finish last week at the Memorial. He also placed T17th at the Charles Schwab Challenge, T16th at the Wells Fargo Championship, T28th at the RBC Heritage, T25th at the Valero Texas Open, T9th at the Valspar Championship and T13th at THE PLAYERS Championship. He is currently third on Tour in par four average scoring, fifth in three-putt avoidance, 18th in bogey avoidance, 19th in scrambling, 22nd in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards, 27th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 30th in SG: APP, 56th in SG: T2G, 59th in SG: ATG and 87th in par-three average scoring. His downfall is his driving. He ranks 171st in total driving and that is due to his lack of distance off the tee. He isn’t widely accurate either. However, the rest of his game is elite here. I’m also playing an outright on him at +18000 for a unit. I can’t help myself so here is one more suggestion in this price range, Adrian Meronk ($6,300.) Meronk is fresh off a second place finish last week in Houston on the LIV Tour. He also placed tenth in Singapore, 17th in Miami, 15th in Honk Kong, sixth in Jeddah and ninth in Las Vegas this season. He is also 11th on LIV in putting average, 12th in average driving distance, 15th in GIR%, 19th in scrambling and 9th in birdies. Again, some great value for a great golfer just because he’s on LIV.


$5,900-

David Puig ($5,900) is finally finding some form. He finished third last week in Houston on the LIV Golf Tour. He is also sixth on LIV in average driving distance, 14th in putting average, 28th in scrambling and 11th in birdies. As a member of the Asian Tour he placed second at the International Series Macau to John Catlin in a playoff. He also made the cut at the US Open last year. Also consider Greyon Sigg ($5,800.) Sigg is currently fourth on Tour in bogey avoidance, eighth in par-three average scoring, ninth in scrambling, 12th in SG: APP, 28th in SG: T2G, 42nd in par-four average scoring, 69th in SG: ATG, 89th in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards, 115th in total driving, 117th in three-putt avoidance and 128th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. Sigg is not in the best of form, missing consecutive cuts coming into this week but prior to that placed T13th at the Myrtle Beach Classic and T9th at the Corales Puntacana Championship. Again, he just needs to see these cuts past the cut line and I believe Sigg to have the game to do just that. Also consider Mac Meissner ($5,800.) Meissner is currently 18th on Tour in SG: ATG, 27th in proximity to the hole from 175-plus yards, 29th in SG: T2G, 41st in par-three average scoring, 56th in par-four average scoring, 60th in bogey avoidance, 64th in scrambling, 69th in SG: APP, 77th in three-putt avoidance, 87th in SG: PUTT Bermuda and 117th in total driving. Not a bad resume for someone in this price range. He’s made the cut in three straight events coming into this week including a T5th at the Charles Schwab Challenge and a T13th at the Myrtle Beach Classic. He also placed T10th at the Valero Texas Open on the season. 


Betting Card

  • Xander Schauffele (+1200) - 3u

  • Ludvig Aberg (+2200) - 2u

  • Justin Thomas (+4500) - 1u

  • Hideki Matsuyama (+5500) - 1u

  • Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+18000) - 1u

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