Jeff’s Hardcore Core- U.S Open

Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson June 11, 2018 20:18

Jeff’s Hardcore Core- U.S Open

I am probably not the only one who is happy that the FedEx St Jude has come and gone. The tournament itself is the unfortunate reciepient of its place on the schedule falling the week before the U.S Open, which is sad because the St Jude Children’s Hospital is a phenomenal charity.  The field was weak and I end up questioning the better players who are in the field next weeks focus and motivation. I made the decision to fade the top priced guys, which worked with everybody, but Dustin Johnson, who was clearly focused and there to win, which is always difficult to predict with him. Without him in your lineups, you were not going to win a GPP. The highlights were few with Chris Kirk (T6), Reavie (T6), Poston (T18), and Lowry (T30). The lowlights were plenty with the biggest being Tony Finau brutally missing two putts to miss the cut on Friday, along with Ben An, Aphibarnrat, Kevin Tway, and Kevin Chappell just plain sucking. I also had a lot of exposure to Uihlein and he made the cut, but T43 is not going to get the job done. Overall, a week to forget about and as I said in my column a tournament and course I have never really liked the last several years or had much success with. I am glad we reduced our bankroll last week and very happy to turn the page to the second major of the year.  On a positive note, The U.S Open is a tournament I have had tremendous success with the last four years and am hoping for a continuation of that success!

The U.S Open, the big dance, “the toughest test in golf”, is finally here. This years host is Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York. Last year Zach and I were able to attend the event at Erin Hills, which was an awesome experience. We also have sights on possibly getting out to Pebble Beach for next year’s edition.I have watched so many video clips of Shinnecock that I feel like I have actually played it multiple times.

For a full description of the course be sure to check out Adam’s First Tee column, but I will touch on some things that I am factoring into my decision making. This will be the fifth time Shinnecock will host the U.S Open with the most recent being 2004, when Retief Goosen came out victorious. The big storyline coming out of that year as far as the course was concerned was the width of the fairways, which were on average 26 feet wide. Funny, because that was a cause of controversy last year at Erin Hills were the average fairway width was 60 yards, quite a difference. What we found from actually being in attendance at Erin Hills last year was that, yes the rough was extremely daunting, like it usually is at U.S. Opens, but because the fairways were so incredibly wide, literally nobody missed them. Thankfully we will not being seeing fairways that are wider than airport runways this year, but we also won’t be seeing tightrope wires either. In 2012 Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw helped makeover Shinnecock and one of the things that was changed was the width of the fairways, which are now on average 41 yards. For comparison, the average PGA Tour fairway is about 30-35 yards, Oakmont (US Open 2016) played between 28-32 yards and like I said Erin Hills was 60. The important thing for us is that we should go back to normal U.S Open style golf where the nasty rough comes into play and we cannot just select bombers without any regard to accuracy. With that being said, they have stretched Shinnecock out to 7,445 yards, so the long hitters will certainly have an advantage.

The course itself is a links style course much like those we see in England and Scottland for The Open Championship, but have also seen stateside recently like Chambers Bay and Whistling Straits. One interesting note is that like with the courses overseas, it is often impossible to determine which way the wind is coming from and how it will change throughout an individual round. This is because of the criss-cross set-up of the course were few holes run parallel to one another.

We have heard some positive feedback from numerous players who have already ventured to Shinnecock for practice. Here is a quote from Phil Mickelson: “I think that this year’s U.S. Open is the greatest setup going in that I have seen in my 25-whatever years of playing the U.S. Open,”I think that it will reward the best player as opposed to having luck be a big element on some of the bounces in the fairway, bounces around the green, how it comes out of the rough. Skill is going to be the primary factor this week. It’s just a, it’s a tremendous setup that I’ve seen.”

Speaking of who has snuck in some practice at the course, I have read that Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler have been there, as well as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Rory McIlroy has been there a couple of weeks now and has played it many times, as well as other surrounding courses. I would not be surprised if there have been a lot of players who have dropped in for a sneak peak, especially the bigger names who have the ability to hop their private jet at a moments notice and drop by.

In case you have not heard, there is a million dollars up for grabs for having the best lineup out of a mere 205,800 other entries on Draftkings. This years edition is a $20 buy-in and most likely will fill. Per usual, the contest is ridiculously top heavy with the winner taking home the $1M and runner-up winning the most disappointing $150,000 they will ever win. I truly wish one of these years DK would increase the size of the contest and have the payouts be a little more even for 2nd through 10th. I mean 1st and 10th could literally be separated by a handful of points, yet be separated in prize money by $993,000. That is a bit silly.

There are two different aspects that we need to focus on heading into the U.S Open. The first is just the selection of which players we want for our core and we will certainly dive deep into that like usual.  The other, being what type of strategy and game theory are we going to incorporate. I would bet that the vast majority of players out there, especially playing in the milly-maker have no idea what game theory even means, much less have any sort of strategy heading into the event. I know that Team FGI is well versed in why and how to incorporate a strategy each and every week and that is why there are so many FGI logos atop leaderboards week in and week out in GPPs. The first part of strategy that I want to address is aggregate ownership and what number we should be targeting.

Jeff’s Strategy & Hardcore Core- The U.S Open

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Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson June 11, 2018 20:18

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