US Open preview and picks - Merion 2013

It's the US Open - second major of the year and the biggest talking point at the start of the week is arguably about the weather we will have leading into the event. The plan for Merion GC was to have it as fast and firm as possible but weekend rain is putting this into doubt. “I would contend that if you saw Merion firm for four straight days versus soft for four straight days, you may see an 18 - to 20-shot difference in the winning score" - Mike Davis USGA executive director.

Matt Shaffer, the director of course operations for the US Open at Merion had originally targeted the speed of the greens around 13 on the stimp and gave us some insight into the test when he said the following: "The greens are firm," Shaffer says. "I could get a bowling ball dropped from 500 feet to bounce on them. I don't normally even run Stimpmeter readings on my greens. My definition of good green speed is when you're able to read the brand of the ball while it's rolling. The greens will be somewhere north of 12 on a stimp but somewhere south of 14." This has been backed up by the likes of Graeme McDowell and some of the other pros on their twitter, some even saying they are runnng closer to 14 on the stimp.

If conditions remain fast and firm, the narrow Merion track playing just 6996 yards to a par of 70 and consisting of "rough that is a hodgepodge of rye, bent, fescue and Poa growing at different heights and densities", tough green side bunkers and slopey greens that are hard to hold could be a brutal test but if the rain keeps coming, albeit shots from the rough will be even tougher, fairways will play wider and pins can be attacked. Indeed there are some short holes but a quote I've read a few times in my research is "the short holes are short but the long holes are long" - players will not be using driver on the majority of the holes and may even opt for iron for position off many tees.

"It's going to be a chess match. I've been waiting all my life to play Bobby Fischer. I'm going to have some fun the week of the Open." is another quote from Matt Shaffer outlining the need for patience and good course management from the players. Bounce back-ability will be a huge factor with inevitable mistakes being made and the "plotters" and grinders should go well at the US Open. A high ball flight will be an adavantage if it is indeed fast and firm, although according to Webb simpson, you could be hitting wedge into the majority of the holes before the brutal final stretch if you keep it on the fairway. Shaffer also mentions that in some spots - if you stray offline - "hitting the ball from the rough is like swinging through a pile of ropes"

I've taken everything I've researched into account and targeted specific players who I feel meet the majority of the criteria needed for the US Open test this week and the staking plan is as follows: (all prices put up antepost). As always, follow me on Twitter @Nicspicks for more thoughts and insight throughout the week.

It's double points and prize money in our golf tipping competition with Stanjames this week for the US Open (free bets prizes of £30, £20 and £15). Stanjames are also places 1-7 on mobile on the US Open this week.

Pick #1: 1u ew Graeme McDowell @ 33/1
Pick #2: 1u ew Matt Kuchar @ 35/1
Pick #3: 1u ew Jim Furyk @45/1 (1-6)
Pick #4: 0.75u ew Bill Hass @ 80/1 (1-6)
Pick #5: 0.75u ew Martin Kaymer @ 80/1 (1-6)
Pick #6: 0.75u ew Zach Johnson @100/1 (1-6)
Update: 0.5u ew C.Pettersson @ 150 BV(1-7) added 11.35 11/06/13

Fancy some free US OPEN bets this week? Up to £200 in with Bet365 here

If you scroll down my favourites Twitter box below, you will see some recent quotes from the pros about the Merion set up for the US Open and also a video of Gmac going through the course.

"What Merion will really show is that length isn't a pre-requisite for difficulty. A great example for modern architects to study." - Luke donald

"Hit it straight" right to the point from Brandt snedeker

"Merion is in fantastic condition, rough is very dense and thick, greens are firming up and will stimp somewhere between 13 and 14. The last six holes are just Brutal" - Graeme McDowell

"Merion... What a golf course! Plenty of birdie chances mixed with plenty of potential disaster! Going to be an exciting US Open!" - Rory McIlroy

Buy Me A Beer

Winning Golf Betting Tips:

Winning golf betting tips? If you'd like to support me with a beer or 2 from your winnings, I'd love if you Buy me a beer here

Golf Player Profiles

Please note that player attribute ratings are derived from the official PGA Tour and European Tour golf stats, and updated with a rolling average each golf betting year for precision.

Bryan Nicholson is the pioneer of the progressive form and course fit ratings for golf betting, with the associated progressive form model and course fit profiling model. Bryan is the author of the increasingly popular annual course fit profiling manual and #1 golf betting book Angles & Edges and runs the Sharp Sports Bettors Blog.

What is expected Strokes Gained Course Fit ?

Bryan also pioneered the concept of Expected Strokes Gained Course Fit (xSGF) in golf betting. xSGF can be predicted using my model below. For prospective golf betting tips it projects ahead of time how many shots a player is expected to pick up per round on average on a particular golf course. It's weighed against a neutral golf course of the same rating. For example: Sam Horsfield at Celtic Manor vs TPC Southwind. This number will also portray ability level in terms of strokes gained total. Click "find out more" under the course fit golf betting model for info.

Golf Betting Tips Model

Note: all the most accurate up to date player and course data to input into this interactive golf betting model is in the NicsPicks Course Fit Manual 2022

My course fit profiling model for golf betting tips uses highly evolved golf nuance and betting intuition, precise parameters and inputs based on Bayesian analysis, plus years of empirical evidence through observing, betting and documenting golf and stats... find out more

What is Progressive Form in Golf Betting?

Progressive form in golf betting differs from current form in that players are showing a trend in the right direction in their recent scoring. Trending form has a high predictive value in golf betting and can also catch players under the radar at an inflated price vs their true betting odds. For example - a player shows form of T40 - 24 - 24, but last week he was in the leading PGA Tour group on Sunday with Tiger Woods and had a bad round due to nerves. His finishing position may not fully capture his actual form... See more with our calculators and betting tools

Progressive Form Golf Betting Model

To check the latest player finishing positions for golf betting tips see the official world golf rankings and search/click a golfer. Input these numbers into the interactive golf model above, following the guide.

Best for Golf Betting

  • PGA Tour Official (stats)

  • European Tour (DP World)

  • (rankings and form)

  • Nicspicks Golf Betting Tips

Golf Betting Tips Strategy

  1. Course fit and strokes gained in golf betting
  2. Tips: How to win betting on golf online
  3. Ryder Cup betting tips
  4. Golf Betting Tips Guides
  5. Who are the best sports handicappers?

  6. Golf majors: The Masters 2022 preview and picks - Open Championship - US PGA Championship - US Open. Tiger Woods.