US Open: Ten-year trends point to this 64/1 shot

Kevin Kisner ticks all the right boxes ahead of this year's US Open
Kevin Kisner ticks all the right boxes ahead of this year's US Open

Dave Tindall looks at the make-up of the last 10 US Open champions to try and find this year's winner...

"The US Open is the most attritional of the four majors and a cool head is required to get through the mental pounding. It sounds like a good idea to have taken it easy the week before and not played in the build-up event. The stats confirm that view."

Unlike the Masters, the US Open moves around from venue to venue each year but strong trends emerge when listing past champions.

For each of the last 10 winners, I've listed the following categories that were correct at the time of their victory - age, world ranking, how many US Opens they'd played, best finish in the event and best result they'd recorded that season.

2016 - Dustin Johnson (Age: 31, WR: 6th, Played: 8, US Open Best: 2nd, 2016 Best: 3rd)

2015 - Jordan Spieth (Age: 21, WR: 2nd, Played: 3, US Open Best: 17th, 2015 Best: Win)

2014 - Martin Kaymer (Age: 29, WR: 28th, Played: 6, US Open Best: 8th, 2014 Best: Win)

2013 - Justin Rose (Age: 32, WR: 5th, Played: 7, US Open Best: 5th, 2013 Best: 2nd)

2012 - Webb Simpson (Age: 26, WR: 13th, Played: 1, US Open Best: 14th, 2012 Best: 3rd)

2011 - Rory McIlroy (Age: 22, WR: 7th, Played: 2, US Open Best: 10th, 2011 Best: 2nd)

2010 - Graeme McDowell (Age: 30, WR: 36th, Played: 4, US Open Best: 18th, 2010 Best: Win)

2009 - Lucas Glover (Age: 29, WR: 72nd, Played: 3, US Open Best: MC, 2009 Best: 2nd)

2008 - Tiger Woods (Age: 32, WR: 1st, Played: 13, US Open Best: 1st, 2008 Best: Win)

2007 - Angel Cabrera (Age: 37, WR: 39th, Played: 7, US Open Best: 7th, 2007 Best: 5th)


Winners trends

- Five of last 10 were in their 30s
- Five of last 10 were in their 20s
- 10 of last 10 were aged 37 or under

- Six of last 10 were ranked in world's top 20
- Nine of last 10 were ranked in world's top 40

- Eight of last 10 had played in at least 2 US Opens
- 10 of last 10 had played in at least 1 US Open

- One of last 10 had won it before
- Six of last 10 had posted a top 10 in a US Open
- Nine of last 10 had posted a top 20 in a US Open

- Four of last 10 had already won earlier that season
- Nine of last 10 had posted a top 3 earlier that season
- 10 of last 10 had posted a top 5 earlier that season

- 10 of last 10 winners were not the defending champion


Most powerful qualification criteria

(Each of the below apply to at least eight of the last US Open winners)

- Aged 37 or under
- Ranked in world's top 40
- Played in at least three US Opens
- Has had a top 20 in a US Open
- Posted a top 3 earlier that season
- Not the defending champion


Current form

History says you don't go into the US Open searching for your 'A' game. In fact, there is strong evidence that you almost always have to be in very good nick to meet the demands of a testing US Open track. Here's the next stat:

- Eight of the last 10 US Open winners had posted a top 12 in their previous start

In fact seven of the 10 has posted a top 10 last time out but we'll go down to top 12 as it means the stat meets our target of it having happened eight times out of 10.

A second stat:

- Eight of the last 10 winners had made the cut at Augusta National

You'd probably expect that but going all four rounds at the Masters certainly helped most get their boots muddied for the US Open.


Who's survived?

After running the world's top 40 players through all those qualification criteria, only five players survive.

They are: Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Kisner, Charl Schwartzel and Kevin Chappell.


Another stat:

Nine of the last 10 US Open winners were not the Masters champion

Sorry Sergio. Jordan Spieth did it but Tiger only managed to win the US Open on the back of a Masters win once so it's a very, very hard thing to pull off.


Mental freshness

It's a commonly held view that the US Open is the most attritional of the four majors and a cool head is required to get through the mental pounding. It sounds like a good idea to have taken it easy the week before and not played in the build-up event. The stats confirm that view:

Nine of the last 10 US Open winners didn't play the week before

That kills off Schwartzel and Chappell, who both competed at the St. Jude Classic. Although both played well and made the top 10, maybe a more restful week would have been better. Certainly, Schwartzel's mood appeared to be up and down and that doesn't bode well.

So, we're left with just two players.

Justin Rose and Kevin Kisner.

Four of the last six US Open winners had made the top 10 at Memorial a few weeks earlier so that event really does seem an ideal prep.

Kisner was T6 there (Rose didn't play) so it's the American who I'll put forward as the best statistical fit this week.

Kisner is 33, world ranked 20th, was T12 in the 2015 US Open, has played in three US Opens, made the cut at Augusta, was T6 on his last start at Memorial, didn't play St. Jude and won the Dean & Deluca Invitational at the end of May.

If you want another way to eliminate 2013 champ Rose, it's worth noting that nine of the last 10 winners of the US Open hadn't lifted the trophy before.

Kevin Kisner @ 65.064/1

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