Well, it’s here. It’s not the Super Bowl of golf handicapping (The Accenture Match Play) or even the BCS National Title Game (The Volvo Match Play Championship). However, in terms of pure entertainment I don’t know if there is an event that has more. Rock hard greens, 2 inch deep rough, and a set up that is unique to its purpose; truly is the toughest test in golf. Or at least it was, last year Rory McIlroy torched the field and the course. It will be interesting to see if the USGA go back to having even par be the preferred score, or if they do as they did last year and make the setup only slightly more difficult than any other major.
Enough with the level set, you’re here for the numbers, let’s dive right in:
*Numbers from Bovada, 11am EST
Tiger Woods, 7/1: The perennial favorite whenever he seems to be playing well. Hard not to suggest that folks take insurance here at 7/1, as this number will come down to at least 5/1 before Thursday. This is a great price to take Tiger at, if he wins here you’ll not get 7/1 for the rest of the season.
Lee Westwood, 12/1: Even though I’ll be rooting for Lee, he’s one of my favorites; I’d not take him at this number. Prior to last weekend, you’d of not taken Lee at anything less than 15/1. Consider this, has traveled halfway across the world, all new clubs in the bag, and has only been slightly above average in putting this season. It’s a wager filled with red flags in my view.
Luke Donald, 14/1: Does just about everything that you like to see out of a player in the US Open. Isn’t going to make a tremendous amount of mistakes, will keep the ball in play and on the fairway. Only knock is that his putting hasn’t been tremendous recently. He was my pick at the beginning of the season, I’ve not seen anything yet to make me change my mind.
Rory McIlroy, 14/1: Played better last week, but has had a disastrous month. Girlfriend is halfway across the world, which for Rory recently has been a terrible sign. Good price, but I don’t see him as a great repeat champion in this event. Doesn’t have nearly the motivation that he had last time to do well here.
Phil Mickelson, 18/1: The tank is empty as far as I’m concerned. At a minimum, there’s not enough fuel in the tank to win this event. Honestly I’d be surprised if he made the cut.
Dustin Johnson, Jason Dufner, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, 28/1: A group at 28/1 that combines great price with good opportunity. Apart from Dustin Johnson (whom I’m shocked won this early after coming back from injury, nothing against him just felt it was too soon) I like everyone in this group. Dufner, Rose, and Kuchar aren’t going to make mistakes, and at one point in the season were the best at the tournament.
Rickie Fowler, 30/1
Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson 33/1
Adam Scott, Hunter Mahan, Sergio Garcia, Steve Stricker, 40/1
Bo Van Pelt, Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer 50/1
Ernie Els, Ian Poulter, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley, Nick Watney, Peter Hanson, Webb Simpson 66/1
So if I had a ticket in what would it look like (not that I will, or advocate that people do unless you live in a place where sports gambling is legal)?
Tiger Woods, +700, 10 units
Luke Donald, +1400, 20 units
Jason Dufner, +2800, 20 units
Zach Johnson, +3300, 20 units
Ian James Poulter, +6600, 10 units
With the remaining 20 units I’d try to find a good 1 v 1 matchup. If you can find it, I’d take TW v Jason Dufner, so long as you could get Dufner at +150.
Gun to head, had to pick a winner, I’d go with Luke Donald. 6 out of the last 10 have been won by internationals. Of the 4 that have been won by players from the US, TW has 2 of them. If a player from the US does prevail, I like the chances of Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.