Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jordan Spieth
- How's the U.S. Open weather looking? Does Justin Thomas, coming off a wrist injury, sound confident? Should you expect a hole-in-one? Who are good down-the-board guys to make the cut?
- Jason Sobel covers it all -- and much more -- from Pebble Beach.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — I’ve already written a fairly decent amount of preview content from here at the 119th U.S. Open this week (you can find all of it on our handy cheat sheet). And while I still stand by ranking Jordan Spieth at No. 1 in my rundown of the entire field — and poor Noah Norton at No. 156 — things can change a bit in a matter of a few days.
That’s not to say I’ve reversed field on any opinions, only that specific pictures start becoming clearer after watching a few practice rounds and speaking with competitors.
So consider this a little Wednesday clean-up project, pulling some weeds and moving some loose branches out of the way before the proverbial storm hits.
If you think of my aforementioned 1-156 ranking as a fluid list, where players can move up and down like the top 25 in an NCAA poll, then I’d like to move Kevin Kisner out of my “others receiving votes” category and into the top 20.
The course suits him perfectly, a notion that I believed would be offset by his dislike for poa annua greens, but I’m now thinking the former will heavily outweigh the latter. Even if he doesn’t hole a ton of putts, I think Kisner’s ball-striking will be good enough to keep him in the mix.
Scottie Scheffler is another guy I’d like a mulligan on. Peeling back the curtain, when I make my ranking, I sort players into groups, then slot them into places. The last thing I do is put the number next to their names. I thought I’d wind up having the Web.com Tour star higher than 57th. In any case, I could see him pushing for a top-20 result this week.
One of my favorite props for the week: Betting “yes” for a hole-in-one can be had from -135 to -150 at most books. On Tuesday alone, there were at least two aces (that I know of) on the short seventh hole (Kevin O’Connell and Julian Etulain).
Hell, if you can get a hole-in-one prop for specific holes, I’d bet for one No. 7 at even-money. Think about it: The world’s best players will have about 460 attempts with a short wedge over four rounds. Somebody’s gonna jar it.
Bubba Watson has missed the cut in four of his last five U.S. Open starts. He’s +130 to miss the cut. You do the math.