It's always a bit hard to believe when the time comes, but it's true: we've got only two men's golf majors left on the 2023 schedule.
The U.S. Open this week at Los Angeles Country Club will be the first truly relevant (for our purposes) event at LA CC since 1940 when it hosted the Los Angeles Open. That means no real course stats to go off of -- just assumptions from course measurements, grass types, and layout.
How does that impact our lineups this week? What do we need to know about the course? Let's dig in.
You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.
Los Angeles Country Club (North) Course Info & Key Stats
Distance: 7,423 (around 200 yards longer than the average par 70)
Fairway Width: N/A
Average Green Size: N/A
Green Type: Bentgrass
Recent Winning Scores (U.S. Opens): -6, -6, -6, -13, +1
Recent Cut Lines (U.S. Opens): +3, +4, +6, +2, +8
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Total Strokes Gained, Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (emphasis on Driving Distance), Strokes Gained: Around the Green
Los Angeles Country Club's North Course is a really intriguing setup.
First of all, it's long for a par 70, so we're going to see scores that are elevated. That's pretty much a given for U.S. Opens.
The overall length is tough even with a few short holes thrown in, such as the 6th hole: a 330-yard par 4 that isn't as drivable as you may think due to the blind tee shot and trouble around the green (the smallest green on the course).
But the setup itself is interesting. The fairways don't require accuracy for the most part, but the fairways themselves are undulating, so placement will matter. Yet it's not a tree-lined setup by any means, so accuracy isn't what's going to win out (most likely).
The course opens up with a par 5 and then a tough par 4, which will probably get called "par 4.5s" by everyone all week -- and it's fitting.
Of the 18 holes, 10 are at least 10% longer than the median hole at the same par: three of the par 3s average 267 yards (with two of them over 280), six par 4s are at least 480 yards, and there's a 623-yard par 5.
Here's a hole-by-hole snapshot of the course yardage compared to the median hole of the equivalent par.
|Los AngelesCountry Club (Hole)||Par||Yards||vs. Average|
The shorter hitters in the field should be at a disadvantage quite often, and we need to take note of that.
Golfers With Great Course/Event History
This is a first-time course host.
This course did host the 2017 Walker Cup, an amateur competition between the United States and Great Britain/Ireland. Among golfers in this week's field, Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa played in it.
Win Simulations for the U.S. Open
Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their golf betting odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets for the U.S. Open
The sims have this one as a pretty typical major but with a little extra win juice on Scottie Scheffler (+750) and Jon Rahm (+1100). Scheffler is a fair value at +750, and Rahm is the best value of the week, per the model and the win odds. That's pretty intriguing.
A few others that the model typically likes more than the betting odds are showing trace amounts of value, as well: Xander Schauffele (+2000), Tony Finau (+3200), and Tyrrell Hatton (+3400) even after Hatton's odds shortened from 55/1 over the weekend.
Longshots with notable win odds include Wyndham Clark (+8500), Tom Kim (+13000), Russell Henley (+10000), and Mito Pereira (+12000), but as usual with majors, I'm targeting long shots sparingly and focusing primarily on the studs for the outrights. Finishing positions will be more of where I am on these guys -- though partial units are in play.
Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for the U.S. Open
All stats cited below originate at datagolf and reference ranks relative to the field over the past 50 rounds. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.
Best of the Best
Scottie Scheffler (FanDuel Salary: $12,100 | Golf betting odds: +750) - There's not a great argument against Scheffler right now other than the putting stats. He's at -0.17 true strokes gained: putting per round over his past 50 rounds. His putting from 5 to 15 feet isn't particularly great, either, so this is a true knock against him. Other than that, he leads the field (easily) in strokes gained: tee to green over the past 50 rounds. Scheffler's major record is impossible to argue against, too. He has five straight top-25s in majors, three of which were top-10s.
Viktor Hovland ($11,300 | +1700) - One of the more accurate golfers in the field, Hovland also has distance off the tee and is a top-10 ball-striker over the past 50 rounds. His around-the-green play remains average-at-best. However, his overall game has been translating extremely well to majors. He has finished 4th at The Open, 7th at The Masters, and 2nd at the PGA Championship in his past three major starts. While the wedges are still problematic, it's a small part of the game, and we're getting a good discount on his overall game.
Others to Consider:
Brooks Koepka ($11,900 | +1100) - Koepka seems back and a strong option in majors again.
Xander Schauffele ($11,100 | +2000) - Five straight top-20s at majors.
Max Homa ($10,600 | +3000) - Still not thriving at majors but has the local course angle.
Tony Finau ($10,300 | +3700) - Surprisingly accurate for as long as he is off the tee; putter is ice cold.
Tyrrell Hatton ($9,800 | +3400) - Hatton has no shortcomings in his game and is a plus in all four strokes gained categories and is a top-30 performer in each of the categories over the past 50 rounds. He finished top-15 in two of his past three majors and enters in great form: six straight top-25 finishes with good data in every facet.
Rickie Fowler ($9,500 | +5500) - There's a lack of recent major form for Fowler. He missed the cut at the 2023 PGA Championship, his first major since a T23 at the 2022 PGA Championship. He was T53 at the 2021 Open and T8 at the 2021 PGA Championship. But the irons are in form right now, and he has the driver flowing, too.
Others to Consider:
Justin Rose ($9,700 | +4800) - Top-20 in both majors so far this year and irons and putter are going good.
Corey Conners ($9,600 | +6500) - A great tee-to-green game (16th) for a mid-range salary is never bad in a major.
Wyndham Clark ($8,800 | +8500) - The big-hitting Clark could very much be in play as the best value of the week. He gains 13.4 yards per drive on the world-average golfer and is operating with top-15 approach play of the past 50 rounds, too. Throw in top-30 putting stats, and that's a recipe for U.S. Open success. Clark's major history is pretty weak, yet he's golfing his best ever right now, so it's not exactly a fair comparison.
Denny McCarthy ($8,700 | +10000) - Quietly, McCarthy is a plus tee-to-green golfer who is a plus in all three tee-to-green stats. And then, of course, we're looking at one of the best putters on the planet with underlying putting stats that are about as good as it gets (97th-percentile ranks in putting from within 15 feet this season). He was T7 at last year's U.S. Open and T29 at the 2023 PGA, his two most recent majors. He was, most recently, solo second at the Memorial, losing to Hovland in a playoff.
Others to Consider:
Sahith Theegala ($9,000 | +12000) - Three straight made cuts at majors; top-35 irons and distance in the field.
Mito Pereira ($8,600 | +12000) - 18th at the PGA and 43rd at the Masters this year in majors; good ball-striking in them.
Eric Cole ($8,100 | +21000) - T15 at PGA, his second-ever major; strong player fairway through green.