For the third major championship of the men’s golf season, understanding which U.S. Open stats to emphasize is critical, as we return to one of the more historic locations in all of golf. The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts was one of the five charter USGA courses, and although not in recent years, TCC has a tremendous major championship history behind it.
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Key US Open Stats to Consider
Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee (SG: OTT) will likely be the most significant metric this week at Brookline. However, unlike many other U.S. Open tracks that favor long hitters, like Winged Foot or Bethpage Black, driving distance will be less of a factor at TCC, at least in relation to Driving Accuracy off the tee. Accuracy should be very significant.
Given the rocky, hazard-filled course layout, we should expect to see a number of long drivers of the golf ball taking far less aggressive stances in the tee box. Many of the longer hitters in the field may elect to lay up on a smooth patch of fairway, while relying on their long irons on approach.
The Country Club is a Par-70 and a comparatively shorter U.S. Open track that will depend on shot-making ability on the several long Par-4s, most of which are 450 yards or greater. Bogey Avoidance will also be an essential attribute to finding success at TCC as well. Although course restoration specialist Gil Hanse was said to have slightly increased the green size, TCC remains a course with some of the smallest greens this season, most of which are surrounded by thick rough.
These smaller greens will also emphasize the importance of being able to hit greens-in-regulation (GIR), especially on the lengthy Par-4s where it can be very difficult to save Par from the rough.
Collin Morikawa: a study of recent vs. major championship form
Collin Morikawa, the 25-year-old two-time major championship winner, certainly needs no introduction. But his price to win the U.S. Open this week suggests that maybe the golf world needs a reminder.
Despite his subpar form in recent weeks (55th at PGA, 40th at Colonial and a missed cut at Memorial), we are still talking about one of the best ball strikers on the planet.
Despite the majority of prior U.S. Open sites tending to favor long distance hitters, TCC is a way better set up for Collin with much more of an emphasis on both his accuracy off-the-tee (SG: OTT), and on approach (SG: APP). Morikawa’s versatile skill set makes for a great contender at TCC.
In eight of his 10 major starts, Morikawa has gained strokes off the tee – in both driving Distance & driving Accuracy – while also doing the same on approach. While many don’t trust him on the greens, he’s actually gained strokes with the flat stick in seven of those ten starts.
In spite of his current form, Morikawa may be able to use his tremendous ball striking precision to evade the many hazards at TCC, and to keep out of the green-side rough. For a deeper dive on how Morikawa fits key U.S. Open stats this week, check out John Haslbauer’s Player Spotlight as part of his U.S. Open preview.
Strokes Gained: Off The Tee
|#1||Rory Mcilroy (0.8)||Rory Mcilroy (0.9)|
|#2||Keith Mitchell (0.8)||Corey Conners (0.7)|
|#3||Corey Conners (0.7)||Keith Mitchell (0.7)|
|#4||Cam Champ (0.7)||Matt Fitzpatrick (0.6)|
|#5||Matt Fitzpatrick (0.6)||Justin Thomas (0.5)|
|#6||Justin Thomas (0.6)||Chris Kirk (0.5)|
|#7||Chris Kirk (0.6)||Cam Champ (0.5)|
|#8||Tony Finau (0.6)||Hayden Buckley (0.5)|
|#9||Sebastian Munoz (0.5)||Tony Finau (0.4)|
|#10||Emiliano Grillo (0.5)||Jhonattan Vegas (0.4)|
Strokes Gained: Approach
|Golfer||SG:APP (L36)||SG:APP (L50)|
|#1||Scottie Scheffler (0.9)||Shane Lowry (0.9)|
|#2||Cam Smith (0.9)||Cam Smith (0.9)|
|#3||Justin Thomas (0.8)||Justin Thomas (0.8)|
|#4||Shane Lowry (0.7)||Sam Burns (0.8)|
|#5||Sam Burns (0.7)||Scottie Scheffler (0.7)|
|#6||Harold Varner III (0.7)||Harold Varner III (0.7)|
|#7||Tony Finau (0.7)||Tony Finau (0.6)|
|#8||Jhonattan Vegas (0.6)||Luke Donald (0.6)|
|#9||Rory Mcilroy (0.5)||Corey Conners (0.5)|
|#10||Matt Fitzpatrick (0.5)||Jhonattan Vegas (0.5)|
Par-4 Scoring: 450-500 Yards
|Rank||P4: 450-500 (L36)||P4: 450-500 (L50)|
|#1||Shane Lowry (0.19)||Cam Young (0.17)|
|#2||Rory Mcilroy (0.17)||Justin Thomas (0.16)|
|#3||Cam Young (0.17)||Shane Lowry (0.15)|
|#4||Sebastian Munoz (0.15)||Rory Mcilroy (0.14)|
|#5||Justin Thomas (0.15)||Gary Woodland (0.13)|
|#6||Max Homa (0.14)||Sebastian Munoz (0.13)|
|#7||Gary Woodland (0.14)||Sungjae Im (0.13)|
|#8||Jon Rahm (0.13)||Jon Rahm (0.12)|
|#9||Billy Horschel (0.13)||Billy Horschel (0.12)|
|#10||Aaron Wise (0.12)||Viktor Hovland (0.1)|
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