Golf

John Duggan's US Open tips, preview


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American Jordan Spieth is the headline selection for the US Open, golf's third major of the year, which starts at Pebble Beach in California tomorrow. 

Spieth has the X factor, and that element of his game and personality remains.

The Texan was a brilliant winner of the Masters in 2015, before claiming the US Open at Chambers Bay months later.

A collapse ensued at the Masters the following year, but Spieth recovered to win the Open Championship at Birkdale in 2017, battling the conditions and most importantly, himself, to win the claret jug.

To me, that showed he has the mental fortitude to win any major.

Spieth has been out of sorts over the bulk of the last two years, but that ignores the fact he is the greatest competitor in the world right now, even more so than Tiger Woods.

The 25-year-old is able to manufacture an ordinary tee to green game at times into great scoring. He's a brilliant putter and finds a way to get the ball into cup that others cannot.

Spieth also has a good record at Pebble Beach. He's won the regular US PGA Tour event there; the AT & T Pro Am. His recent form is encouraging, with a placing of third at the US PGA Championship, a finish of eighth at the Colonial event and a standing of seventh at the Memorial Tournament.

At 22/1 he represents solid each way value.

Rickie Fowler is the next pick to break his major duck.  

The California native is arguably the best player not to have won a major. It's not for the lack of trying, as Fowler has finished in the top five of majors on eight occasions, a run which included a second place behind Martin Kaymer in the US Open.

Fowler has a win in Phoenix this year and says that he found something in his game at the Memorial Tournament. He's a good wind player and although his Pebble Beach experience is limited compared to the rest of the field, he possesses the all round game to contend.

The next selection is a former winner at Pebble Beach, Brandt Snedeker. 

Snedeker is a brilliant putter and loves the poa annua greens which are the staple at Pebble Beach. He has won the Pro Am twice before and finished in the top ten on the last occasion that the US Open was held there, back in 2010. Snedeker is also in form, shooting a 60 in Canada last week. He has five top 10's in the US Open, so the unique mental test fits his DNA.

And the final choice is Ireland's Shane Lowry. 

The Offaly native was tied for second place at the Canadian Open and should have won the US Open at Oakmont in 2016, but for a final round collapse. Lowry has all but nailed down his tour card for next season, so that should give him freedom. He was in the top ten at the US PGA and has a win already this year in Abu Dhabi. The links nature of the test will suit him and he could give people a run for their money.

This is a very strong field.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have obvious claims, while it would be a fairy tale for Phil Mickelson to win a maiden US Open and complete the career Grand Slam on his 49th birthday. It promises to be a fantastic four days.

John Duggan's virtual €50 bet: 

Jordan Spieth: €8 each way at 22/1

Rickie Fowler: €7 each way at 28/1

Brandt Snedeker: €6 each way at 50/1

Shane Lowry: €4 each way at 66/1

All 1/5 of the odds the first 8 places.

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