The toughest major of the year is upon us and once the starting pistol is fired on Thursday morning it will be a war of attrition on the fairways of Oakmount as the competitors will try to battle their way towards that elusive level par target that the USGA love to set. If reports are to be believed, level par will be far from attainable and we'll be looking more towards 5-10 over par for the winning score.

Oakmount has two main areas of defence, the rough and the greens. The rough is absolutely brutal in almost all spots. There are strategically placed bunkers off the tee awaiting wayward drives as well as some other awkward spots which will make approach shots difficult. The greens are like absolute lightning and if you find the wrong spots 3 putts are inevitable. It all makes for a very tricky test of golf. When Angel Cabrera won here back in 2007 the winning score was 5 over.

Thunderstorms and rain are forecast for Wednesday and Thursday which could play havoc with the schedule but it could also render the course slightly less difficult than what is expected. That is a waiting game we'll let play out as it wouldn't exactly help in our quest to find a winner.

The leaderboard in 2007 was made up of golfers with different skills. We had the bigger hitters like Cabrera, Woods and Watson mixed in with the more plodding types of Furyk, Toms, Kelly, Verplank and Ames. It will help to hit the ball long and straight this week but those who can increase probability of hitting fairways will no doubt be in the ascendancy as they approach greens. Nevertheless it is far from easy to sift out a winner. Jason Day has been supported into slight favourite in the market ahead of Rory McIlroy. The test should suit Day as his accurate long game is exactly what is needed around here. It won't be easy however and despite a run of superb form I'm not busting to get involved in anyone in this event at single figures.

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Similar applies to McIlroy. He is driving the ball and very well and is the one most likely to make mince meat of this test while everyone else struggles to horrendous totals. Out of the favs he was the one I was most tempted by but I feel it'd be safer playing him in running if he gets off to a fast start.

It leaves us with a bomber who just must be backed to overpower this course, Dustin Johnson. He arrives at Oakmount probably in the form of his career. He has posted six top five finishes in his last nine starts and the only baffling thing is how he hasn't won during that period. He has finished 2nd and 4th in the last two US Open renewals and Oakmount may just be the venue where Dusty gets off the major mark.

There is a fair amount of trouble off the tee and when Johnson is hitting the ball well he flies as much of it as he possibly can. This will be mean approach shots with loftier clubs than the rest of the field so he can attack the right areas of the greens. He has been knocking down flags for the last number of weeks and if he can continue that accuracy with his short irons he should be right in the mix come the weekend. His putting would worry you slightly but I'm taking whatever positives I can possibly find. DJ lags the ball to the hole and rarely gets it running too far past, this will help if he can lag putts towards the hole as danger will no doubt lurk beyond the cups.

The greens will make fools of plenty this week and we can only hope the big hitting yank can cope with that. The 16/1 out there represents the best value in the field in my opinion and although this will be far from easy I see DJ as well equipped for the task.
Dustin Johnson - 3pts e/w @ 16/1Won 60pts
If we are talking about young golfers who can take a step onto the next stage Brooks Koepka looks as classy as they come. I was very disappointed a few weeks back when we had backed him and although holding a lead heading into day four he talked very negatively about his game to the press. He can learn from that activity though and with some very impressive golf lately I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the mix this week. He finished 2nd in the St Jude at the weekend, and 2nd on his previous start at the Byron Nelson. He is putting quite well lately under pressure and I'm pleased to see this as this is what I considered to be his achilles heel. In his relatively short career thus far he has posted a 4th placed finish at the 2014 US Open as well as a 5th placed finish at last years PGA. Another three top 20 finishes in majors is an impressive total for somebody who has only competed in eleven of these tournaments. 8 made cuts on the spin in Major Championships shows what this lad is all about. He is a big time player ready to announce himself on the biggest stage of all. His length off the tee should be a real asset this week and it's hard to leave him out of any staking plan.
Brooks Koepka - 1.5pts e/w @ 45/1Lost -3pts
There will be a handful of grinders towards the top of the leaderboard come Sunday evening and we definitely need a few of them on our side. Brandt Snedeker performed well in this years first major and bar some average approach shots he could've contended on day four. What was evident that week and since with a top 20 at Coloniol is that his long game is in good condition. He has gained length off the tee this year so that should really help with this setup and he has an excellent short iron game. He is renowned for his silky putting touch and while many will struggle on the greens, Snedeker's flat stick may well just be the difference. Either way, the 70/1 on offer is worth supporting.
Brandt Snedeker - 1pt e/w @ 70/1Lost -2pts
Patrick Reed is coming in under the radar this week and considering how confident this lad can be he can not be ruled out of contending. He arrives here in decent nick with a top 20 at the Coloniol followed by a top ten an Muirfield and bar one or two blips has been in very good form most of the year. He finished off last year away from the States and racked up five top ten finishes on the trot. Since the turn of the year he has posted seven top 10 finishes and is without doubt one of the most consistent sorts of the year so far. 6th at Pebble Beach and 7th in the Valspar are two impressive results as it shows that he can play well on the courses where a shade more accuracy is needed. His record in major championships is somewhat modest so far so he has still clearly has a lot to learn however his game surely will suit Oakmount and I'm prepared to take the chance at 50/1.
Patrick Reed - 1pt e/w @ 50/1Lost -2pts
Another who can not be ruled out considering how much of a grind this tournament will be is Zach Johnson. A top 20 last time out at the Coloniol is enough for me to suggest he is in solid enough form heading into an event that really should suit his game. He is a double major champion who on his day has enough class to win these types of events. He has a multitude of missed cuts in his major career so he is one we can't be too confident with but I'd rather be on his side this week than not. The greens will play a huge part in determining the winner here this week and as long as there is no runaway winner of this event then Zach would be a top golfer to have on your side should he be in the mix with 18 to go.
Zach Johnson - 0.75pts e/w @ 90/1Lost -1.5pts