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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

2013 US Open Preview

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2013 US Open Preview

The best players in the world descend on Merion East, just outside of Philadelphia, PA for the 2013 US Open. The usual cast of contenders will all be on hand but this will not be your traditional US Open. In recent years the best of the best have struggled just to break par on some of the longest courses, thickest rough and toughest greens. This year little old Merion checks in under 7000 yards -- the shortest in recent memory -- ripe for the taking. Birdies will be there for the taking but it will be by a different type of player than in years past. A premium will be put on ball striking and accuracy off the tee. The playing field will be leveled a bit for some of the shorter hitters. It will be a thinking man's game.

So who are some of the players to watch this week?

Tiger Woods
Umm...yeah, no brainier here. The best player in the world has been just that this season with four victories in seven tournaments. Sure, he struggled a week ago at the Memorial but that was more of a fluke than a cause for concern. It may not be the days of old where it was Tiger vs. the field, 99% of people taking Tiger. He is still the most dynamic player in the world and would surprise no one if he won and won with ease.

Brandt Snedeker
The defending tour champion has been right there in just about every major the past couple of seasons. He is in the top 10 in both driving accuracy and putting, two absolutely critical statistics this weekend. He has a win already this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He appears to be completely healthy again after an off-season rib injury. Like Tiger, Snedecker had a Memorial tournament to forget a week ago but should be right there when it is all said and done on Sunday.

Graeme McDowell
Last year's runner up already has a win this season at the RBC Heritage Classic which was played on a course with very similar characteristics to Merion. He has also won a US Open before (2010 at Pebble Beach). The Northern Ireland native is a fan favorite and a strong pick to contend again this week.

Matt Kuchar
Kuchar arrives at the US Open as the hottest player on tour. He won last week at Memorial making him the only player not named Tiger Woods to have multiple wins on tour this season. He has 6 top 10's this season and 9 top 25's making him one of the most consistent players in the game this year. If you like to ride a hot hand, Kuchar is your guy.

Dustin Johnson
Is this the tournament where he finally breaks through? Johnson is probably the best active player in the world yet to have won a Major Championship. Under typical US Open conditions he would be a strong favorite due to his length. At Merion his accuracy will be tested. He is 2nd on the tour in driving distance but just 180th in accuracy. The statistics point against him but who knows, maybe this is the week?

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