The second major of the year rolls in to San Francisco this week for the 117th US Open Championship, which is being played at the magnificent Olympic Club.
On May 6 1860, 23 charter members founded the San Francisco Olympic Club, turning their informal gymnastics training sessions, held in the backyard of Arthur and Charles Christian Nahl into a lasting institution. The by-laws stated that the purpose of the Club was “to strengthen and improve the body by gymnastic exercises.”
In 1918 the Club gained control of the Lakeside Golf Club, which was designed by Wilfred Reid and by 1922 the Club purchased more land to replace the original golf course where they added another 18-hole course and during that process built a new clubhouse.
The Lakeside clubhouse was designed by famed architect Arthur Brown, Jr. (who also designed the San Francisco City Hall) the courses and clubhouse opened for play in 1925. Willie Watson designed and Superintendent Sam Whiting constructed the first Ocean (Pacific Links) and Lake Courses in 1924. Due to storms during the winter of 1925/1926, the second Lake Course (today’s) and Ocean course were designed by Sam Whiting and opened in 1927.
In 1955 the Club hosted its first U.S. Open. Robert Trent Jones, the USGA golf course architect arrived prior to the US Open to prepare the Lake Course, which included lengthening and altering par on several holes and adding a fairway bunker to the 6th hole.
Lakeside went through several major renovations to modernize and upgrade the facilities. A new 9-hole par 3 Cliffs Course overlooking the Pacific Ocean was added in 1994. The Ocean Course went through a few renovations but a new fresh course designed by Tom Wieskopf, opened in 2000. The Club completed the latest Lake Course renovation in 2009 which featured the creation of a new 8th hole and bent-grass surfaces on all the putting greens.
My tips to win:
This is probably one of the hardest US Opens in years to pick a stand out player and with Tiger 7/1 coming back into form after his win at the Memorial you cannot discount him. Olympic is a tough track and you need to keep the ball in play and be able to chip and putt well, there for I feel this could be the time for Luke Donald 12/1 to step forward and win his first Major. Luke is in great form winning on both sides of the Atlantic, defending his PGA title at Wentworth and taking the Transitions Championship earlier in the year, add to that three other Top 10 finishes and a twelfth place finish at Memorial, Luke will be there right in the thick of it come Sunday.
What a season I’s been for Jason Dufner 28/1, two wins and just narrowly missing out on two in a row at Colonial, Jason is in super form and proves that the shot that cost him the PGA title last year to Keegan Bradley, was a bad shot and not a melt down and with six other Top 25 finishes this season, I think Jason may put the PGA title bogey to rest.
I was going to go with Rickie Fowler 33/1, but after the pressure of playing with Tiger got to him in the last round at the Memorial I think I am going to go with Matt Kuchar 30/1. Matt has been in great form this year making the Top 25 in nine of his twelve events played and with winning the Players Championship along the way he’s showing he’s ready to take that final step up the ladder to win a major championship.
My each-way tips:
Hunter Mahan 35/1 started this season like a sprinter coming out of the blocks, only missing the Top 25 once in his first eight tournaments, although winning the WGC Match Play Championship and Houston Open along the way. Hunter has only played in four events since the Master but a Top 20 finish at the Memorial shows he is getting back to his best.
What do you do when you have the world at your feet after winning back-to-back Open Championships and a PGA title? Well Padraig Harrington 70/1 decided it was time for a swing change! Four years down the line and I think Padraig may have a chance of adding to his major haul, albeit for a number of missed short putts at this years’ Masters and his eighth place finish could have seen him right in the thick of it and I think that is exactly where Padraig will be come Sunday at The Olympic Club.
This week’s outside bet is Branden Grace 150/1 I must admit I nearly choked when I saw these odds and will be putting a few quid on him myself before I put this guide up. I know Branden hasn’t played that much in the US but he has won three times this year on two different continents, he also finished in the Top 20 in his last three tournaments on the European tour and made the Top 25 at Memorial.
For updated betting odds during the tournament go to planetgolfreview.com