2012 US Open Form Guide
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 US Open | Preview | 11 Jun 2012
The US Open begins on June 14th at the Lake Course at the Olympic Golf Club near San Francisco, the first time the event has been played at this venue since Lee Janzen’s victory in 1998.
iseekgolf.com analyst Bruce Young takes a look at the leading chances and assesses their hopes.
Donald is chasing his first major championship and given his recent form he appears a chance at least to do just that this year. The problem for Donald is that his record in this event is poor. Not one top ten in eight starts which is hard to fathom as his game in many ways should suit such a test. His recent form consists of a win at the BMW PGA Championship and a last round of 68 for 12th at the Memorial suggesting his game is in great shape for what lies ahead. As the world number one he must be one of the leading considerations surely.
McIlory had been disappointing of late with his three consecutive missed cuts leaving an air of uncertainty about just where he is at with things at present. That was of course before a much improved showing in Memphis last week so it might be that the 23 year old has found what he was looking for. He showed last year what he is capable of with his runaway victory at Congressional when his game is right.
Like Donald, Westwood is chasing a first major championship but, unlike Donald, Westwood’s track record in major championships and more especially the US Open is good despite not breaking through as yet. He has been three times inside the top five at the US Open including when 3rd last year at Congressional. Westwood was only average at the BMW PGA Championship but has bounced back with his great win in Sweden last week.
Gave the doubters a lot to think about with his dramatic win at the Memorial. It was not only the win but the manner of it that suggests Woods will play a key role at the US Open. Woods is the quintessential big event player and they don’t come much bigger than this. Importantly Woods’ confidence and self belief is back and he appears an excellent chance to win his 15th major championship.
Kuchar has become one of the game’s most consistent performers in the past two years and although he boasts only one top ten at the US Open – when 6th at Pebble Beach in 2010 – he is such an improved player he could easily better that. Kuchar’s win at the Players Championship was all class and it is his week in, week out form that makes him likely give a another good run for money.
With a major championship now to his name Watson has elevated his status in world golf and a genuine contender in anything in which he plays. Watson has played sparingly since his win at Augusta National. He finished 18th at the Players Championship then the missed the cut at the Memorial and might be cutting it a bit fine if he is to be right for the task ahead.
Rose is playing well. After his runner-up finish at the BMW PGA he was solid enough last week at the Memorial and earlier in the year he won the Cadillac WGC event. His record at the US Open is not good having missed his last three cuts but his game is as good as it ever has been right now and he should improve considerably. Can’t see him winning though.
Mickelson has yet to win his own National title but he has played it as well as anyone during his career. Five runner-up finishes and several other top tens show his capacity to play this style of set-up well and given that the event is played on the style of golf course where he typically plays well he could be a chance. His most recent outing saw him withdraw from the Memorial but provided his batteries are recharged then he has a good chance. He has played well for much of the season.
Mahan gives every indication that a US Open is not beyond him. He has won twice this season on the PGA Tour and finished off his week at the Memorial with a final round of 68 after struggling early.
Dufner is already showing that a major championship is not beyond him. He went oh so close last year at the PGA Championship and has continued to develop as a player in 2012 to the point where he is perhaps the hottest player in the game. Has a poor record at the US Open but he is such an improved player that he might just turn that record around.
Kaymer has put together a series of good finishes in 2012 without really attracting a lot of attention to himself. He did finish 8th at Pebble Beach in 2010 and might just be a bit of a dark horse at longer odds.
Stricker plays the US Open well enough. He hardly misses a cut in the event although he has seldom contended. His form is a little hard to pick at present so while I could see a top ten from him I can’t see him threatening to win.
Johnson is back from injury and his effort at the Memorial was good enough when 19th especially after time away from the game and then continued on with his improvement in Memphis last week where he won. Johnson plays the US Open well, not missing a cut in four starts and leading into the final round in 2010 before a final round of 82. He so nearly won the PGA Championship in 2010 also and as now a five time winner of PGA Tour titles he is a good chance it seems. He plays the California seaside courses well having won the Pebble Beach Pro Am twice although this is a very much different set up.
Oosthuizen played brilliantly earlier in the season including when runner-up at The Masters. A major winner when a seven shot victor at the Open Championship, Oosthuizen has no fears of winning at this level. He tied for 9th in this event last year on what was a very different golf course than he will face this week but he must be considered despite his rather out of character effort at the recent Memorial.
Scott has been hot and cold this season although there have been signs of the quality of player he is. His record in this event gives little confidence for his chances. He has yet to record a top ten in ten starts. He is much better than that but will have to prove it before I can be convinced. Scott has however played a lot of holes in practice at Olympic Club in the few weeks leading into the event so is well prepared.
Fowler is playing beautifully at present and his recent win gives him the confidence to take his game to an even higher level. He does not enjoy a good record at the US Open but he is a significantly better player now than he was in previous years. He had a poor last round at the Memorial but while not in my opinion a winning chance he could have a good solid week.
Day was runner-up in this event last year but twelve months on he does not appear to be playing quite as well. He missed the cut at the Memorial but prior to that there were a couple of top tens. He has played sparingly of late due to an ankle injury so it is hard to work out just where he is at with his game right now. On that basis he is probably hard to have.
Simpson missed the cut at the Players and again last week so there is some concern there although earlier in the season he was playing very solidly. Played the event just the once that being in 2011 when 14th. His most recent form is the concern.
Schwartzel is a proven major championship winner (2011 Masters) and already has a top ten at the US Open when 9th in 2011. He played well earlier in the season and reasonably well in recent weeks.
Johnson is in rare form at present, his win and two runner-up finishes in recent weeks an indication of just that. That was of course prior to a surprising missed cut in Memphis but perhaps a week that can be overlooked. Johnson too has won a major but his record at the US Open is poor with a best of 30th in eight starts which is a concern when considering his chances.
Bo Van Pelt
The US Open occasionally throws up a player who is not the obvious choice and if there was one in that category in this year’s event it could be Van Pelt who is in fine form this season. He finished 14th at the US Open last year and he just seems to be getting better. He should be at good odds and I expect him to do well.
Two years ago McDowell won at Pebble Beach and although he has been mixing his form of late he has finished runner-up on two occasions in recent months. There is some synergy between Pebble and Olympic so he could do well. Missed the cut in Memphis last week which is hardly the ideal lead-in but perhaps an outside chance.
Garcia is playing a lot better than he is given credit for at present and it would not surprise if he has a very good week. He finished 3rd in Sweden last week giving further evidence to that statement. Garcia has recorded several top tens at the US Open and while he has yet to win a major championship it would not surprise if he puts together a good tournament. He was 7th last year at Congressional and has a best of 3rd at Pinehurst in 2005. He is playing in Sweden in his lead up to the event and is having a solid tournament.
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