Previews and pre-event analysis from Golf Betting System's PGA Tour and European Tour coverage
To read Steve Bamford's US Open Tips for 2014 click here. Follow Steve on twitter: @bamfordgolf
The U.S. Open is traditionally the hardest golf tournament on the planet, with the organising United States Golf Association (USGA) famous for their mantra of 'defending Par.' Since Rory McIlroy won the 2011 US Open at a rain softened Congressional with a championship record winning total of -16/268, the USGA have become even more intent on ensuring that their Major won't be 'embarrassed' again. 2014 sees the US Open visit a traditional home; the Donald Ross designed Pinehurst Number 2 Course in North Carolina; which hosts the 114th running of the United States Open Championship.
Tournament Facts & Scheduling
The US Open is always the second Major Championship of the golf season and is played in mid-June; indeed the final round is always played on Father's Day. The tournament travels around the country each year, with Chambers Bay in Washington State hosting the 2015 edition and Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania scheduled to host the 2016 championship. Pinehurst Number 2 has been used as the host course in both 1999 and 2005, when Payne Stewart and New Zealander Michael Campbell triumphed. Only Stewart in his epic dual with Phil Mickelson, has ever broken Par in a US Open here with a -1/279 score.
US Open Course Details
Pinehurst Number 2. Designer: Donald Ross 1907; Coore and Crenshaw renovation Course Type: Technical Par: 70 Length: 7,562 yards Bunkers: 111 Fairways: Tifway Bermudagrass Rough: Tifway Bermudagrass Greens: 6,390 sq.ft average featuring Penn G2 Bentgrass Stimpmeter: 14ft; US Open Scoring Avg 2012: 73.84 Ranked 1 of 49 courses for difficulty on the 2012 PGA Tour 2013: 74.55 Ranked 1 of 43 courses in 2013 for difficulty.
Previous Champions 2013: Justin Rose; 2012: Webb Simpson; 2011: Rory McIlroy; 2010: Graeme McDowell 2009: Lucas Glover; 2008: Tiger Woods; 2007: Angel Cabrera.
Winners Scores - Post 2009 2013: +1/281; 2012: +1/281; 2011: -16/268; 2010: -E/284; 2009: -5/279.
Winners Prices 2013: Rose - 28/1 2012: Simpson - 80/1 2011: McIlroy - 22/1 2010: McDowell - 80/1 2009: Glover - 225/1
Pre-Tournament Key Summary
The US Open has seen a mix of short and long price winners in the post Woods domination era. Lucas Glover shocked the entire golfing world when he dominated at Bethpage Black in 2009. Yes, the South Carolinian was on the favourable side of weather hit tournament, but he showed bottle to capture, what was only his second main Tour title. Since that shock result in New York, G-Mac and Webb Simpson have both captured the title at value 80/1 prices, with Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose being well backed before delivering their first Major Championship triumphs.
You have to give the USGA credit as they love to set different challenges and Pinehurst will certainly be different from US Opens. A true Carolina classical golf course with no turf rough will be a sight to behold and it will be fascinating to see how the course plays. The recent renovations which have been the brain child of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have focussed on removing over 25 acres of turf. Instead of the 4' rough that surrounded every hole back in 2005, the course has gone back to it's Donald Ross routes, with every hole featuring natural fescue, clumps of natural grasses, sprawling waste areas and extended bunkering. To all intense and purposes the course now looks like a land bound links set-up.
More intrigue has been added by widening of fairways and an overall lengthening of the course from the 7,214 yards we saw back in 2005, to 7,562 yards; which is the longest Par 70 in US Open (and Major Championship) history. This increase in overall course length would suggest that longer hitters will be at an advantage, but they will need to have a razor sharp short game to boot.
Below we track the results of Golf Betting System PGA Tour tipster Steve Bamford who has been producing weekly tips since 2009. You can also follow him on Twitter @bamfordgolf.