I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been looking forward to the U.S. Open coming back to Torrey Pines for quite some time. The South Course presents a great test and should yield a top-flight champion.
If you’re looking to build a perfect golfer for this U.S. Open, you going to want: length off the tee, preferably with a fade (outstanding accuracy not required); above-average iron play with a high apex; above-average short game (given that everyone will miss a lot of greens); and a decent track record putting on poa annua greens.
With that in mind, here are a few players to target in your fantasy leagues this week:
Tony Finau $8,900
Finau has finished in the top 30 in 13 of his past 20 major starts, including in nine of his past 13. At the Farmers Insurance Open, held annually at Torrey Pines, he has finished 24th or better in all seven of his starts and placed in the top six four times. This isn’t a surprise, as Torrey Pines is arguably the best course fit for Finau on the PGA Tour. He:
- Hits the ball long off the tee, with a fade as his preferred shot shape
- Hits his irons high and is ranked 14th on approach
- Has a strong, upright swing that allows him to hit out of rough better than most
- Is ranked fifth around the green
Finau’s well-documented weakness is putting, but on poa annua that will be muted; he has tended to putt better on poa than on Bermuda.
Charley Hoffman $7,200
Hoffman checks a lot of boxes for this U.S. Open. He is second in the field on approach, 18th in proximity from 150+ yards, 21st in driving distance, and 24th off the tee. He has made his last 11 cuts and finished in the top 18 in eight of those. Over the same span, he has gained four strokes or more ball-striking (Strokes Gained: Off the Tee plus SG: Approach) in all but one tournament. Hoffman also putts best on poa annua—not surprising considering he is a San Diego native. At the Farmers, he has made seven of his past nine cuts and placed ninth in his most recent appearance. Finally, he has been a consistent performer at majors, making 14 of his past 15 cuts and finishing in the top 30 nine times.
Schauffele, another San Diego native, has been one of the best major championship players over the past few years. He has finished in the top 20 in 11 of his 16 career major starts and placed sixth or better in all four of his U.S. Open appearances. Schauffele’s game is predicated on grinding out pars and making good mental choices to maximize his chances. That’s why he thrives on the biggest, most difficult stages. He is also above average in pretty much every metric—a big reason he has finished in the top 30 in 29 of his past 34 events. Earlier this year, he was runner-up at Torrey; let’s see if he can do one better.
Matsuyama has also been a top performer in major championships. He has finished 40th or better in 27 of his past 32 major starts and 21stt or better in six of his past eight U.S. Opens. When par is valuable, Matsuyama tends to do well. Torrey Pines is a good course fit for him, as he hits the ball high, can work it both ways, and is an elite iron player. Plus, he has a massive putting split between Bermuda (135th) and poa annua (39th). Now that Matsuyama has a Masters under his belt, the pressure is off, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him capture another major trophy.