Although delayed three months and lacking spectators, the U.S. Open at Winged Foot is a welcome return for the major golf fan and gambler alike.
About the Course
For those unfamiliar, Winged Foot – located in Mamaroneck, New York – is an A.W. Tillinghast design that opened for play in 1923. It is a most severe test of golf that your author has had the privilege of playing a half dozen times.
Winged Foot has undergone a substantial tree removal since it last hosted the U.S. Open, when Geoff Ogilvy snuck by Colin Montgomerie, Phil Mickelson, and Jim Furyk in 2006. The course has also been modified and lengthened by architect Gil Hanse to 7,417 yards.
To compensate for the tree removal, the rough will be less graduated than it was in 2006, at a lush 3 1/2 to 5-plus inches. As such, when combined with the classic Tillinghast greens that allow for misses short and straight but not right or left, accuracy will be at an utmost premium. Even if the course is softened by rain – keeping more drives in the fairways and more balls on the greens – par will
likely be an excellent score.
Here's a look at the top-20 according to odds posted at SPREADS.CA
Although 7,400 yards in length and a par 70, Winged Foot will not favor the bombers. That’s not to say favorite Dustin Johnson (9:1) cannot win. He can take out an iron or five wood on most holes and keep the course in front of him. With that said, Winged Foot is a venue of gentle right-to-left and straight holes (with the notable exceptions of the 2, 8, and 17) and DJ likes to fade the ball. Either way, Bryson DeChambeau is not going to overpower this classic site with 340-yard plus drives.
Given the layout, the possibility exists – as in 2006 – that a longshot will win the 2020 U.S. Open.
Normally, driving accuracy is not indicative of success on the PGA Tour. The top 20 is littered with relative unknowns, with the exception of 2003 U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk (201:1), who factored in the last Winged Foot U.S. Open; 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson (29:1); and 2019 U.S. Open 3rd place finisher Chez Reavie (176:1).
These three are a good starting point for those playing the longshots. There is one other name to consider. Jim Herman (501:1) is tenth on the tour in driving accuracy and has been in relatively good form of late, winning the Wyndham Championship in mid-August (followed by a missed cut at The Northern Trust and a T40 at the BMW Championship). A t 501:1, he merits a long look. With premium on accuracy off the tee, these four represent excellent value.
-- written by Hot Rodz
Headline Photo Credit: US Open