Andy: Alright Paulie, I am back looking for vengeance after a narrow defeat in our Masters Draft. My first pick, Dustin Johnson, foiled me and cost me a victory after much maligning from you of my picks. Since I had first pick at the Masters, you get it here. Who ya got?
Paulie: Happy to be back to claim another victory! I’m going against the grain and leaving DJ to you!!! Let’s see if DJ can foil you again.
Pick 1 (Paulie): Jason Day
Day has performed exceptionally well on similar courses. He finished ninth at the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay, fourth at the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst and won the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. With wider fairways, Day should be able to use his length to his advantage. With all of the closely-mown areas around the green, Day will be able to show off his short game expertise. One other thing to consider is that the greens are some of the smoothest greens around, and I expect a lot of putts to be made. If Day can find his putting stroke from last year, he will be holding a trophy come Sunday.
Andy: Wow you gave me the two players I want, I can’t believe it! Deep down I know you did this knowing that I would pick these guys.
Pick 2 (Andy): Jordan Spieth
Love him this week. Lots of uneven lies will magnify the best iron players, and guess who is number one in strokes gained: approach? Spieth.
Pick 3 (Andy): Dustin Johnson
I don’t know what’s not to like about this guy. Fresh off the birth of his second child, DJ should be ready to roll.
Paulie: These would have been my next two picks. Let’s not forget that Spieth is one of the best putters in the world and will cherish putting on some of the smoothest greens outside of Augusta.
Pick 4 (Paulie): Rickie Fowler
I think this may be the week that Rickie becomes a major winner. He showed promise at the Memorial with his strong play highlighted by his accurate driving and great iron play. Fowler finished runner up at the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst. Fowler is in the top 15 in SG Approach and SG Putting. Can he be the 7th straight first time major winner?
Pick 5 (Paulie): Jon Rahm
Rahm’s metrics fit this course perfectly as he is sixth in SG Approach and third in SG Off the Tee. Even though he missed the cut in his last event, I look for him to return to his typical form and finish in the top 10.
Andy: I have nothing bad to say about either of these picks, I think they both have good to great weeks.
Pick 6 (Andy): Rory McIlroy
With the course getting softer with the Monday/Tuesday rains and expected Wednesday rains, I like Rory more and more. My only concern is rust.
Pick 7 (Andy): Justin Rose
A tough course that’s demanding tee to green, and few are better than Rose.
Paulie: Isn’t it amazing how an injury and rust can push McIlroy all the way down to pick 6? He has great course fit but not sure how his body will hold up on this difficult test. I’m a fan of Rose lurking all week but most likely settling into a finish just outside the top 10.
Pick 8 (Paulie): Adam Scott
Adam Scott has put a focus on majors this year by playing the week prior to come in firing. Scott is arguably having one of his best putting years ever, but his overall results haven’t shown that. He admitted that he spent more time on short game, and that took away from time he usually spent on his long game. Scott’s long game returned last week in Memphis, but he faltered with his putter. Look for his whole game to click this week and for him to be on the front page come Sunday.
Pick 9 (Paulie): Sergio Garcia
Sergio just seems to be a good course fit any major since he is such a good ball striker. If he has any semblance of a decent putter this week, he will contend.
Andy: I was stuck between Sergio and Rose, hoped he would fall.
Pick 10 (Andy): Hideki Matsuyama
If Hideki is on, few are better. Plus, a reporter asked every player during their press conference if Hideki could win this week, and they all said yes!
Pick 11 (Andy): Kevin Kisner
Love his form and game has no weaknesses, which is a good recipe for the U.S. Open.
Paulie: Fell right into my trap 🙂 I was hoping you would leave Koepka and Grace for me and grab Matsuyama off my hands! Matsuyama may be great tee to green, but his putter has been down right terrible of late. Putts between 10-20 feet will need to be made in bunches this week, and Hideki struggles from that range. He ranks 169th from 10-15 feet and 209th from 15-20 feet (almost dead last on Tour).
Andy: Stop crushing my dreams with stats!
Pick 12 (Paulie): Brooks Koepka
Little known fact about Koepka: he has finished inside the top 33 in nine straight major starts. Koepka steps up his game for big events. He has admitted lately that he has tried to force a victory. At a course like Erin Hills, if he stays patient he might be in contention come the back nine on Sunday.
Pick 13 (Paulie): Branden Grace
Grace finished fourth at the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and third at the 2015 PGA Championship at nearby Whistling Straits. Even though his stats don’t pop off the charts, I think he is the perfect fit this week as he also plays well in the wind.
Pick 14 (Andy?): Paul Casey
Long and accurate off the tee and also a strong iron player. Casey is also having another quietly great year.
Pick 15: (Andy?) King Louis
Always a popular “sleeper” pick at major championships. His swing is just so good.
Paulie: Do you need to make putts to win a U.S. Open? If that is still the case, then Paul Casey will not win. I love Louis this week as his game fits this course perfectly.
Pick 16 (Paulie): Thomas Pieters
I officially stole Andy’s mancrush!!!!!! How did you let Pieters slide this far down??? Pieters has the deadly combination of distance off the tee and towering yet controlled irons. Similar to Koepka, Pieters has shown that he loves performing on the big stage. Is it time for his coming out party to mainstream America?
Pick 17 (Paulie): Charl Schwartzel
Schwartzel seems to be healthy finally after having issues with his wrist. He is known as one of the best iron players on Tour, and that will be on display this week.
Andy: Finally learned your lesson after two straight Schwartzel fades? Also, don’t know how I feel about you getting my boy Pieters, disappointed that I let that happen.
Pick 18 (Andy?): Lee Westwood
I am enjoying the sparse population on Westwood Island these days, even if he always breaks my heart.
Pick 19 (Andy): Marc Leishman
I really like how his game sets up at Erin Hills, and given his success in other big events (Open Championship & Masters), I like his chances at Erin Hills.
Paulie: What is it with you and Westwood? I’m with @DJPie on this that Leishman will beat Westwood this week but wouldn’t be surprised to see both players finish outside the top 30.
Pick 20 (Paulie): Martin Kaymer
Kaymer loves tracks that have a links feel and allow for creativity around the green. Kaymer’s weakness is chipping, and he has struggled at events that require him to chip out of thick rough. He will have options this week with all of the shaven areas around the greens. Kaymer won majors at similar tracks, Pinehurst and Whistling Straits.
Paulie: Did we really not pick Henrik Stenson in either of the first majors for the top 20?
Andy: Yeah, his form has not been good, but it crossed my mind. Noren continues to be disrespected, and no JT!