Ricky Barnes is a live underdog for the 2011 U.S. Open, and if he can put together two solid rounds before Saturday June 18, he will be a legitimate contender to win the U.S. Open. Barnes is an 80-1 long-shot, according to the Las Vegas Hilton Superbook, but he has the length and skill needed to end up on the leaderboard June 19.
Looking at Barnes' statistics, nothing stands out but that is the beauty of his game. He is one of the steadiest golfers on the PGA Tour. Barnes hits the ball just a little farther than the PGA average off the first tee, and he is just a little better than average when it comes to getting the ball on the green in regulation.
Ricky Barnes tees off at the 2009 U.S. Open.Photo by: Austin512 wikimedia commons
Where Barnes sets himself apart from many PGA veterans is his ability to have fun on the course without losing site of the big picture. Barnes has ice water in his veins when things do not go his way on a hole, and his ability to save par and save shots when scrambling is what puts him over the top.
Barnes finished 16th in last year's AT&T National held on the Congressional Country Club course and he will be a factor if he plays as well as he did last year on this demanding course. Barnes is not the big hitter many PGA fans love, but he knows how to pick up strokes on the greens and with his irons.
Are there any other long-shots to watch in this year's U.S. Open field? How about 100-1 shot Boo Weekley? Weekley has only finished in the top 25 once this season, but he is a strong ball striker who ranks first in overall driving on the PGA Tour. Weekley also ranks fourth in the greens in regulation category. These two key stats make Weekley a sneaky pick to win the U.S. Open.
Weekley is up and down on the Congressional course. He missed the cut in 2010 and finished 12th in 2007. Weekley even passed on playing the AT&T National at Congressional in 2008. With Weekley finding his stroke off the tee, combined with his accuracy on shots approaching the green, he is a perfect dark horse pick to win the U.S. Open.
*Todd Jacobs is an avid golfer who attends several PGA events a year.
PGA Tour website: Ricky Barnes profile.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.
Updated 1 hour, 45 minutes ago