2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Breakdown

2017 FIFA Confederations Cup- written by Christian Dobosiewicz

 

International football is nothing to scoff at. Just ask the millions of professional footballers, children, and enthusiasts around the world who have dreamt of hoisting the FIFA World Cup while donning the colors of their nation. Now, within a year of the grandest sporting spectacle in the world, a special edition of international football graces our televisions, computers, phones, radios and eyesight should you be lucky enough to attend a match in Russia. The FIFA Confederations Cup, going on it’s 10th edition, will be an historic one as debutants seek to claim another international trophy. Smaller nations will be competing on a much bigger stage, and Brazil won’t be champions of yet another international competition. Here we dive into the prologue to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, with 8 teams vying for the cup. It should be fun to get a taste of what’s to come next summer. But how will teams fare in this tournament? I break it all down below.

2017-Confed-Cup-Logo (4)

 

Russia

 

How they got there: Russia was made the official host of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which qualifies them to automatically host this summer’s Confederations Cup.

Strength: As hosts Russia will have the advantage of playing on home soil and should be comfortable during the matches. Historically, they are not weak, though they have been underwhelming in recent tournaments, with a favorable group, don’t be shocked should they reach the knockout stage.

Weakness: Because they are hosts for this coming World Cup, they have not had to qualify for it via playing matches. This means they have not played a competitive match in a year, with their last one being a disappointing 3-0 thrashing at the hands of the Welsh in France last summer.

Key Player: Igor Akinfeev: The man known for his loyalty to his club, joining CSKA Moscow at just four years old. Akinfeev is an experienced goalkeeper, with 98 caps for the national team. He is someone the Russians may be thankful for when the clash with experienced goal scorers such as Ronaldo and Chicharito.

Hope: On paper Russia is far from the best team in this tournament, but as they say, football is unpredictable. After all, in 9 editions of this tournament, 3 of the champions have been the hosts.

 

Predicted Finish: Group Stage

 

Germany

 

How they got there: Germany qualified on the boot of Mario Gotze in the 117th minute of the 2014 FIFA World Cup final. As winners of that tournament, they gained entry into the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Strength: They are Germany. Perennial powerhouse of international football, the Germans captured their 4th World Cup in 2014 and have been to the semifinals in every major tournament since Joachim Low has taken over as manager in 2006. Their style of play is fast and cold blooded, fueled by the fire of young up and coming stars.

Weakness: With all the firepower that the youth can bring to the national tournaments, there is always a sign of inexperience. With the oldest player being only 29 years old (Sandro Wagner) and the most capped player having 30 (Julian Draxler) the Germans are not relying on experience, which will hurt them as the tournament progresses.

Key Player: Joshua Kimmich: With the retirement of German and Bayern Munich legend Phillip Lahm. There is an empty spot at right back for Die Mannschaft, that’s where Kimmich comes in. The 22 year old defender has had flashes of brilliance (Check his bicycle kick finish vs Denmark) and this could be the tournament he makes a breakthrough for his national side.

Hope: Reigning world champions and one of the best national teams all time, there’s no real reason to completely count them out. Another trophy is not out of reach for these Germans.

 

Predicted Finish: Third Place

 

Australia

 

How they got there: The Socceroos ousted the South Koreans in extra time of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup final to reach this tournament. This is their first time recreating the Asian zone, while previously representing the Oceania football conference.

Strength: The Australians are in good form in competitive matches, undefeated in World Cup qualifying and winners of their last two. The Socceroos are heating up at the right time. With an experienced midfield and even more experienced strikers, the Australians are not new to the international stage.

Weakness: Even with the loads of experience, the side is not that strong in terms of individual talent. Not to mention the defense is not yet proven, they have kept 3 clean sheets this qualifying campaign but have not played a team ranked higher than 50 in the world.

Key Player: Tim Cahill: I know, I know, he’s old, really old. But Tim Cahill still produces for the national team. He may not play as many minutes as he comes off the bench more often than not, but the leading goalscorer in Australian history continues to add to his tally. With 9 goals in the 2018 World Cup Qualifying campaign, he’s proven he’s still got it. If you need a goal scorer to break the deadlock, Cahill is not a bad option to have.

Hope: Australia have done surprisingly well in the 3 Confederations Cups they have been in, with their best finish as runners up in 1999, there could be a repeat of that magic.

 

Predicted Finish: Group stage

 

ChileChile-Alexis-Sanchez-Arsenal-562309

 

How they got there: Chile qualified for their first Confederations Cup when they won their first international tournament in team history. They defeated Argentina on penalties in the 2015 Copa America final and cemented their place as one of the best international teams in the world.

Strength: Their individual talent is among the best in the tournament. With a roster headlined by the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Bravo, and Gary Medel, Chile does not lack talent or experience. A consistent and lethal attack led by Sanchez will have defenses on their heels all game, and should they leave too much space there is the imminent threat of a screamer from Arturo Vidal. After putting 7 goals passed Mexico in last year’s Copa America, expect the goals to come often and in spectacular fashion.

Weakness: Although I mentioned Claudio Bravo amongst the strengths of Chile, he may also be one of their weaknesses. The 34 year old goalkeeper has seen better days as of late. His move to Manchester City has been a bit of a downgrade, keeping only 5 clean sheets in 22 premier league appearances while conceding 26 goals. The match that sticks out in my mind was this season’s Champions League group stage match against former club Barcelona, where Bravo contributed to his team’s 0-4 loss by getting sent off for using his hands outside of the box.

Key Player: Alexis Sanchez: Unsurprisingly, I’ve selected Sanchez for this role as key player for the Chileans this tournament. As the joint-highest goalscorer in Chilean history (37) and second most capped player (110), the expectations are high. With 5 goals and 5 assists each in his last three international tournaments, and the game winning penalty against Argentina which sent Chile to this tournament, Sanchez will be looking to produce more magic for the ambitious Chileans.

Hope: Chile has won the last two international tournaments they have been apart of. After winning back to back Copa Americas, the Chileans have gotten a taste of what it’s like to reach international glory and will only be hungry for more. With talent across the pitch, my expectations are high for this team.

 

Predicted Finish: Champions

 

Mexico

 

How they got there: Mexico reached this summer’s Confederations Cup after a play off against USA. Though they were the winners of the previous two Gold Cups, the play off was necessary to determine which nation would represent the CONCACAF. Mexico won the play off by a score of 3-2 at the Rose Bowl on October 10th, 2015.

Strength: The Mexican national team has loads of experience at this tournament. With 6 appearances prior to this year’s edition, New Zealand and Australia are among the next highest in regards to appearances with 3. The Mexicans also have some star power of their own. Their defense is led by 20-year international Rafael Marquez, with the famous Chicharito up top and a solid Guillermo Ochoa between the sticks. Not to mention the Porto man Hector Herrera, who has had himself a solid three years for both club and country in the midfield. Mexico will be confident going into the tournament.

Weakness: With the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup also a part of this summer’s international football festivities, it has been well documented that this Mexican team is not at full strength. They have most of their regular starters, however they are lacking in depth, as they wanted to save some quality players for the Gold Cup later in July. Although this tournament is a small one and a lot of depth may not be needed, don’t expect the Mexicans to be using substitutions so freely this tournament.

Key Player: Giovani dos Santos: dos Santos has an eye for finding the goal and has showed as much in the MLS the last few years. His spectacular goals are highlights week in and week out across American televisions and I wouldn’t doubt he can light it up again this summer. Along with his goals, dos Santos is a winner. He has won a u17 World Cup, an Olympic football tournament, and 3 Gold Cups with the Mexican national team. That lust for victory may spread to the rest of his team as well.

Hope: Mexico is the only national team in this tournament who has won it before, which never hurts morale. Their opening group match against Portugal will dictate the rest of their tournament. Win, and confidence will be at a new high, lose, and they just might start to doubt themselves, especially with the malicious Chilean attack looming in Group B.

 

Predicted Finish: Fourth Place

 

New Zealand

 

How they got there: New Zealand earned the honor of representing the Oceania Football Confederation in this summer’s Confederations Cup after defeating Papua New Guinea 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 120 minute bout. This will be their 4th Confederations Cup and the All Whites will be looking to get passed the group stage for the first time in their history.

Strength: There’s not much to say about this national team in terms of strength when comparing them to the rest of the champions they will be playing. The OFC itself is a much lower tier of international football, as they are not even guaranteed a spot at the World Cup. However, New Zealand has the strength of the underdog. No one expects them to perform well, yet the players will be ambitious to make a name for themselves and their country against huge footballing nations like Portugal and Mexico.

Weakness: New Zealand lacks talent. It will be hard to keep up with teams who have much more skill and are better tactically. Although ambition and heart can carry a team for short bursts, some true talent will be needed to compete with the absolute best. History also fails to reside with the All Whites. In the 9 matches they have played at the Confederations Cup, they have only mustered a single draw as their best result.

Key Player: Chris Wood: The 25 year old has 49 caps for his international side, which is an impressive figure considering the highest capped player on the squad is a 35 year old Shane Shmeltz with only 55 caps. Wood has scored 19 goals for the All Whites in his career and represented them at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Wood found a lot of success this past season with Leeds United in the English Championship, where he was named to the Championship team of the season, and Leeds United player of the year.

Hope: Football underdogs will look for inspiration in the 2015/16 Leicester City team who won the Premier League against 5000/1 odds and the Euro 2016 Iceland squad who shocked millions in France as they defeated England 2-1 in the Round of 16. New Zealand will not be any different than those underdogs. They will have to claw their way through to get results and maybe, with a bit of luck, they could create history.

 

Predicted Finish: Group Stage

 

Portugalcristiano ronaldo

 

How they got there: Portugal was considered one of the greatest footballing countries to never win an international trophy. That is until last summer’s Euro Cup in France. After captain Cristiano Ronaldo was subbed off with an injury in the 25th minute, the Portuguese all held their breathe as Eder’s wonder strike against the French gave Portugal glory for the first time in history.

Strength: Portugal boasts a side full of young talent who has proven themselves at the international level (Raphael Guerreiro and Bernardo Silva). The side also contains seasoned veterans like Pepe, Ricardo Quaresma, and of course Cristiano Ronaldo. Coach Fernando Santos proved his tactical prowess at last summer’s Euros as Portugal defended their way to the championship. Santos’ knowledge of his players strengths can help them thrive this summer.

Weakness: The Portuguese midfield seems weaker than it usually is. With Renato Sanches playing at the u21 Euros this summer, the midfield will be needing another spark should they want to win. With veteran Joao Moutinho in the waning years of his international career, Portugal will look to the likes of Andre Gomes, who has had a disappointing season with Barcelona but has showed promise in the past. If the midfield can’t control possession, Portugal could be looking at an early exit.

Key Player: Cristiano Ronaldo: The Portuguese have been living and dying by the Real Madrid superstar for the last 8 years. If he is scoring goals there is nothing that can slow him down, but there have been moments on the international stage where he has been shut down. Some may argue Portugal doesn’t need the aging winger as they managed to beat France without him. However, he has scored 11 goals in 5 World Cup Qualifying matches and has just won his 3rd Champions League in 4 years. Although his future in Madrid is under heavy speculation, one thing is true for the all time Portuguese goal scorer. While he is on the pitch wearing the crest of Portugal, he will be going for goal relentlessly and not many will be able to stop him.

Hope: Portugal were heavy underdogs when they beat France last summer and succeeded even without Ronaldo. This summer they are among the favorites to win and with Ronaldo in great form, he could carry them to a 2nd championship in as many years.

 

Predicted Finish: Runners Up

 

Cameroon

 

How they got there: Cameroon became the last of 8 nations to qualify for this tournament when they won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations 2-1 over Egypt thanks to Vincent Aboubakar’s 88th minute finish. This will be their 3rd appearance at the Confederations Cup and their first since 2003.

Strength: Cameroon is not heavily favored in the competition, especially being in a group with Germany and Chile. Although they do have some quality strengths. They have a strong group of young talent that was underestimated in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and went above and beyond to reach this Confederations Cup. The Indomitable Lions will look to the strength of their attack, which consists of young players such as Aboubakar and Christian Bassogog to inspire their play.

Weakness: As with the Australians and New Zealanders, Cameroon does not boast much natural talent. Within the past few years they have lost legends such as Samuel Eto’o and Alexandre Song to retirement. The team has also had it’s struggles on the World stage, where in 2014 they were knocked out in the group stage after 3 defeats. Although Cameroon was underestimated in the Africa Cup of Nations, it is not likely that teams will take them lightly. After all, it is a global competition and that is where the stars shine brightest.

Key Player: Christian Bassogog: Bassogog is still just a 21 year old footballer. He is not well known by bigger teams in club football, but now he is certainly known around Africa. His brilliance and creativity shocked the continent as he was a star player for Cameroon on the way to their Africa Cup of Nations victory. Should he play just as well for Cameroon in this tournament, he could find himself playing at a big club before the summer is over. Who knows, he may even be holding the Confederations Cup trophy before that.

Hope: In their previous appearance Cameroon went all the way to the final, only to lose to Thierry Henry’s golden goal in extra time. History is also against them as an African team has never won the Confederations Cup. It would take a huge stroke of luck for Cameroon to break the streak with this young squad, but it is football. You never know what may happen.

 

Predicted Finish: Group Stage

 

 

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2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills Golf Preview

The World’s toughest golf championship is upon us again. This year, the tournament usopenheads to the midwest at Erin Hills in Erin Wisconsin. Designed by Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry, and Ron Whitten in 2006, this will be the first time this course will be hosting a major golf tournament, let alone a U.S. Open. Traditionally, the U.S. Open is one of, if not the toughest golf tournaments of the year. And personally, I believe Erin Hills won’t stray from that tradition by any means. With the given conditions and the sheer length of the course itself, Erin Hills won’t be an easy assessment of golf.

 

The Course

Erin Hills (1)

Stretching to nearly 7,800 yards, the par- 72 course definitely feels like a tease to what appears to be a big ballpark. This course has a similar feeling to a links style course due to the open sites, significant lack of tree lines, and excruciating rough that will surely test the players. But in fact, this is no links course. Target golf will still be a huge influence this week. After looking at the layout, style of the grass and hazards this to me looks like a combination of Shinnecock and Whistling Straits (Avid golf fans will be able to agree or disagree).  Many different reporters however have been trying to compare this course to Chamber’s Bay, the site of the 2015 U.S. Open. I think that comparison is a stretch to say the least. Due to the given conditions this week, Erin Hills will prove to be much softer conditions with potential rain within the next few days. Chamber’s Bay proved to be a very dry course that displayed that driving the ball in the middle of the fairway didn’t necessarily mean that’s where you would be playing from. Also the lack of rough there, doesn’t compare to the ridiculous amounts of rough that Erin Hills has to offer. The one comparison that I have seen between the courses is the tricky lines and angles that each course tests off of the tee. The undulations in the course, and the carries on several of the holes will certainly test both the consistency and the creativity of each player.

Fairways, Fairways, Fairways. That will be the theme of this week. The first cut of rough will provide a challenging test of strength and focus. But then comes, the fescue that sits among either side of the first cut. Finding your tee shot, or even second shot for that matter, in the fescue will definitely bring big numbers into play. Several of the players, like Kevin Na and Lee Westwood, have already expressed their complaints about the unfairness of the rough. I do agree that there should be some mercy given to the players by rewarding good shots, and penalizing bad ones. But this is the U.S. Open. Nobody said this was going to be easy. And what several players have failed to realize is, Erin Hills is actually providing some of the widest fairways that the U.S. Open has typically offered. Although the bunkers, and hazards on this course are deadly and somewhat shorten the fairways width, the majority of fairways are widened to almost 50-60 yards. Not to mention the 5-10 yards of first cut rough that they will get on each side as well. Yeah. Plenty of room. If the best golfers in the world can’t hit the ball in the fairway given that width, then they are in the wrong profession.

This course will certainly favor longer players since the USGA has already discussed that they can stretch this course all the way to 8,000 yards. However, length will not be the only factor for success. Accuracy and control will be far more necessary to be sitting high on the leaderboard come Sunday. And I don’t just mean accuracy off the tee box due to the rough. The bunkers and hazards on this course will be almost as troubling as the fescue, which will require players to be accurate and smart with their approach shots as well. But as always, this is the U.S. Open, and this championship always tests every aspect of the game. Scrambling and putting will be the difference come sunday afternoon.

 

Players, Power Rankings and Picks

 

As I have already expressed, a combination of driving abilities, both distance and accuracy, and scrambling will be the key components to putting together a solid round in this tournament. The U.S. Open is also the strongest mental test in golf, which certainly breeds an advantage for experienced players. However, this is the first time that this course has hosted a professional tournament, meaning this is the first time all the players are seeing this course at this level. So speaking in terms in course experience, everyone is on the same playing field, which will be exciting to watch. Although five out of the last seven U.S. Open champions were respectively first time major champions at that time, the names on that list provided no surprises.

 

Pebble Beach 2010- Graeme McDowell

Congressional 2011- Rory Mcilroy

Olympic Club 2012- Webb Simpson

Merion 2013- Justin Rose

Pinehurst No. 2 2014- Martin Kaymer (won 2010 PGA Championship)

Chamber’s Bay 2015- Jordan Spieth (won 2015 Master’s)

Oakmont 2016- Dustin Johnson

 

Something to look for this week will be a player who is able to avoid the rough and place there drives in scoring positions, but is also able to scramble out of trouble and remain mentally strong. The statistics that I believe to be most important that will reflect good play this week are driving distance, fairway percentage, scrambling, and strokes gained putting. Looking at this year’s tour statistics, previous play in majors and previous U.S. Open’s, and of course, some opinion, here’s my top 10 power rankings list for this week at Erin Hills:

 

   1.    Dustin Johnsondustin-johnson-farmers-insurance-open-2016-sunday

 

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Obvious number one pick? Maybe. Maybe not. Obviously on the list? Absolutely. One of the most consistent players on tour each year since his debut, and also the defending champion always puts Dustin in the conversation. The way he was playing prior to the Master’s, before taking himself out due to injury, and also how he has been playing upon return from injury, he is red hot and due for another win. Ranking 1st in driving distance, and having decent numbers in regards to scrambling and strokes gained putting (41st and 57th respectively on tour), DJ’s main focus this week needs to be keeping the ball in play off the tee. If he can avoid the fescue, he will no doubt be in the hunt on Sunday.

 

  1.   Jason Dayjason-day-bmw-championship_3352282

Another consistent player in regards to major championships. Jason was considered Mr. Runner-Up in major championships, especially U.S. Opens, prior to his major breakout victory back in 2015 at Whistling Straits. Day is steady across the board in regards to the statistics. I believe he is due as well for another major win as long as he stays out of trouble with the hazards and fescue by the green. Day is a pretty safe pick for a top-10 finish if he can get off to a good start, since he has a tendency to fall just short down the stretch.

 

  1.   Jordan Spiethjordan-spieth-no-18-round-2-masters-2015

Putting Jordan at number three might be generous since he hasn’t quite played the kind of golf we saw from him back in 2015. However, a winner this year on tour nonetheless, I think Jordan deserves the respect in every major he plays in (at least for the next few years). If he plays well, he is the perfect combination of length and accuracy that is necessary for a course like this. The problem for him so far this year has been his accuracy off the tee and scrambling around the green where he normally excels. He is solid from 100-150 yards in which can prove to be useful if he finds himself in trouble off the tee. However, he will need to avoid the tricks around the greens. Then again, he’s a two-time major champion at the age of 23 and could prove to be built for this course.

 

  1.   Jon Rahm062416-Jon-Rahm-Quicken-Loans-Round-2

Possibly another pick that may be a little too high on the list, but he has been having one hell of a year. Currently ranked 4th in the FedEx Cup rankings with a win at the Farmer’s Insurance Open, and seven top 10 finishes, it would be hard to leave him off the list. This may only be his 4th major start, but so far he is 3 for 3 in cuts made in majors he has played. Rahm is also relatively high up in regards to statistics ranking 13th in driving distance, and 19th in scrambling. However, his biggest faulter is his lower fairway percentage which could prove to be an issue. I do believe he has the confidence and skill to be successful this week. It may be early for him to win a major, but crazier things have happened.

 

  1.   Rickie FowlerDeutsche Bank Championship - Final Round

People are still waiting to finally see Rickie break out and win a major (myself included). He has all the assets to be one of the greats, but he obviously has had trouble getting the job done. He is sometimes a mere shot or two away from being a multiple major winner. This course suits Rickie well. He has been well rounded this year in regards to stats, and certainly has the experience under his belt. He is long off the tee, accurate, and has really improved on scrambling the past couple of years. Not to mention he ranks 7th in strokes gained putting. Statistically speaking, he is the favorite. But is it his time? Rickie’s biggest problem has always been avoiding that one hole where he puts up a monster number. If he can keep the ball in play this week, and take his medicine where he needs to, he can win. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.

 

  1.   Paul CaseyUnknown

Another golfer that wouldn’t surprise anyone with a victory this week. Another major-less golfer with the tools and record that would argue otherwise. Casey isn’t particularly long off the tee compared to others, but can still put his ball out there. He statistically is playing well this year with a few top 10 finishes, but is still looking for a stand out performance. If he can get his putter going this week and take advantage of some of the easier holes, he may find himself in contention. I wouldn’t pick him to win above a lot of players that are well suited with this course, but I think he’ll be high on the leaderboard come Sunday’s end.

 

  1.   Hideki Matsuyamamatsuyama-hideki-usnews-getty-ftr_1vtkebrdhzh2s1i6h14gexgkvr

Two wins and four top 10’s so far this year speaks for itself. Hideki is another one of those younger players where it’s not a matter of if rather than a matter of when. Ranked number 4 in the world, Matsuyama can find himself in the winner’s circle if he is able to keep the ball in play and also get the putter going. Erin Hills doesn’t exactly match the type of courses where Matsuyama has had some success, but his consistency and ability to stay away from trouble may just be enough to keep him alive. He has had some strong finishes in majors but has yet to really show a breakout performance. He certainly has all the tools to pull out a win.

 

  1.   Justin ThomasJustin-Thomas-CIMB-2016

The only thing holding Justin Thomas back is his experience on tour and in majors. That being said, in the six majors that Thomas has played in, he is 6 for 6 when it comes to making cuts. He is the definition of a fearless young gun. And with the way he is playing now, he would be higher on the list if it weren’t for more deserving players above him. Justin’s fairway percentage is low which can be an issue, and his scrambling isn’t great this year either. Justin’s wins that came earlier in the year were on courses that don’t require driving accuracy to be successful. But Justin’s length and ball striking ability could be the difference maker if he gets to the weekend.

 

  1.   Jason DufnerDuf-Daddy

Fresh off his victory two weeks ago at The Memorial, Jason Dufner had to be among this list. Dufner’s first and only major win came at The PGA Championship at Oak Hill back in 2013. But Erin Hills doesn’t have too much to compare to Oak Hill. Dufner’s biggest asset this week is his ability to stay in tournaments and make the cut. He’s not the longest player, but certainly doesn’t hit it short either. His fairway percentage is pretty high along with good scrambling and strokes gained putting. He knows when to be aggressive and take advantage of opportunities. What he lacks in athleticism and stand out ability, he will certainly make up for in experience. That could be the difference down the stretch if he is up against a younger player.

 

  1.   Shane Lowryimage

Shane makes the top-10 on the list due to his previous success in the U.S. Open. He is consistently on the leaderboard come father’s day every year. Although he hasn’t made a lot of noise this year, he is definitely considered a top golfer in this tournament. He is steady across the board in statistics, and only really waivers in scrambling, which we saw to be his kryptonite in the U.S. Open at Chamber’s Bay. Will people consider him to be a top pick this week? Maybe not. But somehow Lowry finds his way up the leaderboard when it really counts.

 

Notables to just miss the list:

 

  Rory Mcilroy

The only reason Rory isn’t on the list is the lack of golf he has been able to play this year, and his health. Coming off a rib injury, his health is obviously in question, which could eventually be a factor coming down the stretch on sunday. However, this golf course suits Rory, and so do the conditions. Rory thrives in wet and soft conditions, which is why he certainly can win this week. Rory would be the favorite if it weren’t for unfortunate circumstances. In my opinion, I think Rory will either win, or be a no show due to his health.

 

  Justin Rose

Great Ball Striker. Veteran. And coming off a runner up finish at the Master’s. Rose can have some success due to the necessity to keep it in the fairway this week. Rose is as consistent as they come. However, the length of this course may just be out of reach for Rose. Statistically he is ranked rather high in driving distance, but Rose seems to get things together on smaller courses. Definitely can be a contender.

 

  Sergio Garcia

Master’s 2017 champion. Finally has got his first major out of the way after over 70 tries. This course doesn’t suit Sergio as well as it may suit others. But who knows. Sergio may go on a slew of major victories now that he has one.

 

  Adam Scott

Hits it a long way but can struggle keeping it in play at times. Adam Scott is a contention player though. He grinds it out when he needs to. If he can scramble well and get the putter hot, Scott can be a contender.

 

Other notables: Daniel Berger, Martin Kaymer, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Branden Grace

 

TakeawaysUSopentrophy2013

This is the first major tournament in sometime where both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson won’t be playing (pending if Phil can somehow make it after his daughter’s graduation). But other than that, this tournament should be very entertaining with most of the top guys back and healthy. Typically, even par is a good score in the U.S. Open, and I still believe that to be true this week. But to win, players will need to take advantage of opportunities and minimize mistakes. The winning score seems like it will be around -8. With 156 players in the field, it’s obviously tough to say who will be the winner. Nonetheless, it should be entertaining. Thoughts?