Post by: Mike Philipps
Golf’s most thorough examination is held this week, as the 118th edition of the U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock Hills (par 70, 7,445 yards) in Southampton, New York for the fifth time. The storied Long Island course was the host of the second-ever U.S. Open back in 1896, then had to wait 70 years for it to return.
Since the long layoff, Shinnecock Hills has served as the venue once a decade for the last four. Retief Goosen won the last time it was held there, finishing at four-under-par to defeat Phil Mickelson by two shots.
Where to Bet on the 2018 US Open Online
Last year at Erin Hills, Brooks Koepka became the latest twenty-something to claim his first major title. The leaderboard was tightly packed until late on Sunday afternoon, when Koepka birdied three straight holes to distance himself the other contenders.
2018 US Open Betting Odds
The top golf betting sites are now taking bets on the outright winner of the 2018 US Open. For the sake of keeping this post readable, we’ll be sticking with the top-20 players in comparing the odds. If you’d like to see the odds on the full field, just follow any of the links at the bottom of these tables to visit that bookmaker.
Best US Open Picks
Seven of the last nine U.S. Open champions and nine of the last 10 overall major winners were first-time major champions, displaying the overall depth of professional golf. The odds coming into this year’s U.S. Open show are the perfect example of the parity in today’s game/
A total of nine players sit between 19/2 and 17/1 odds, so it is difficult to pinpoint a favorite. The 156-man field boasts 27 major-winning players and each of the top 50 players in the World Golf Rankings.
See the following breakdown of some of the most interesting options this week. They’ve been broken up into five categories: The Favorites, Past U.S. Open Champs, Other Major Winners, Veterans That Can Win and Young Guns.
These are the six players with the best odds to win this year’s U.S. Open
- World Golf Ranking: 1
- Odds to Win: 19/2
- Overview: Nobody enters the week of the second major with more momentum than Johnson. He put an exclamation point on his win last week by holing out for eagle on the final hole. The win allowed Johnson to regain his position atop the World Golf Rankings, and he assumes a familiar pace as the favorite this week. He’s now won twice this season, adding five more top-10s in 13 starts, moving him to the second position on the FedEx Cup Points Standings.
- Key Stats: DJ remains one of the most statistically dominant players in the world, leading the PGA Tour in Total Strokes Gained, Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and in Scoring Average (69.274). Johnson has the power to overpower any golf course, even a U.S. open one, and he could become the first player ever to win the U.S. Open after winning the week before.
- At the U.S. Open: Johnson earned his first (and only) major title in 2016 at Oakmont, when he overcame a four-shot deficit in the final round to claim a three-shot win. The win was his fourth top-10 U.S. Open finish. He entered last year’s event at Erin Hills on a streak of three straight top-four finishes, but it ended with a missed cut.
- Last event: Johnson pulled away on Sunday to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic last week, making him a two-time winner of the event. He entered the final round tied with Andrew Putnam, both five shots clear of the next competitor. DJ showed his experience, besting Putnam by six shots on Sunday to finish at 19-under-par. He led the field in birdies with 21 – he added two eagles, too, including on the 72nd hole – and in Driving Distance at over 320 yards. It was an awesome performance by an incredible talent.
- World Golf Ranking: 6
- Odds to Win: 10/1
- Overview: The four-time major winner appears to be back to his normal, high-performing self after a rough couple months earlier this year. Since missing two cuts in four starts, McIlroy won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in stunning fashion, and added top-eight finishes in three of his next six starts, including a T-5 at The Masters. Since the end of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, he has collected six top-fives in just 15 starts. If he has his putting in order, McIlroy is always one of the top threats to win any tournament, especially a major.
- At the U.S. Open: McIlroy’s 2011 win at Congressional is one of the most dominant performances in the history of major golf. He won by eight shots over Jason Day, setting eleven U.S. Open records in the process, including low aggregate score (268) and best score under par (16-under). McIlroy has two other top-10 finishes on his resume, earning a T-10 in 2009 and T-9 in 2015. He’s missed the cut in each of the last two U.S. Opens.
- Last event: McIlroy bounced back from a mediocre start in a big way at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago. After opening with rounds of 74 and 70, he blistered Jack’s place with a third-round 64. A final-round 69 helped him finish in the top 10 (T-8).
- World Golf Ranking: 4
- Odds to Win: 10/1
- Overview: Spieth doesn’t enter the U.S. Open playing his best golf, missing the cut in his last start and failing to crack the top 20 in any of his last four starts. Still, the 2015 U.S. Open champ has six top-10s in 16 starts this season.
- Key Stats: Spieth ranks fourth on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green thanks in large part to a GIR Percentage of nearly 72 percent, which ranks second. His iron play and ability to scramble make him dangerous in a U.S. Open format.
- At the U.S. Open: Spieth won his second major at the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, but he’s failed to finish better than T-17 in his five other career starts. He tied for 35th at Erin Hills last year.
- Last event: Spieth got off to a very slow start – two double bogeys in his first eight holes – at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago, carding an opening-round 75. His three-over-par total after two rounds left him three off the pace to play the weekend.
- World Golf Ranking: 80
- Odds to Win: 14/1
- Overview: Woods has made the cut in eight of nine PGA Tour events this season, collecting six top-25s along the way. He hasn’t yet won, but his play has shown flashes of brilliance, as he’s earned four top-12s, including a T-2 at the Valspar Championship.
- Key Stats: Woods’ ball striking and play around the greens have been truly remarkable when considering how little he’s played over the past three years – he ranks in the top 10 in four Strokes gained categories – Approach-the-Green (4th), Around-the-Green (5th), Tee-to-Green (5th) and Total (10th). If he can get in play off the tee at a reasonable rate and figure out his putting – he ranks a disappointing 93rd in Strokes Gained: Putting – he has enough firepower to claim a fourth U.S. Open title.
- At the U.S. Open: Woods has made the cut in 16 of 19 previous U.S. Open starts, but he’s only played once in the last four years. From 1999 to 2010, Woods earned eight top-six finishes, including three victories. His last U.S. Open title, also his last major championship, came in 2008, when he defeated Rocco Mediate on a Monday playoff with a torn ACL and stress fracture in his left leg. His recent U.S. Open performances aren’t really relevant, but he did play the last time Shinnecock Hills was the venue, finishing 17th.
- Last event: Woods held a share of the lead on Saturday at the Memorial two weeks ago, thanks to going out in 31. Unfortunately for Tiger, he gave back strokes on two of the last three holes, and never got much going on Sunday, and had to settle for a T-23 finish. He ranked seventh in the field in Greens in Regulation for the week, but 64th in putts per GIR.
- World Golf Ranking: 8
- Odds to Win: 14/1
- Overview: Day could be the frontrunner for Comeback Player of the Year, as he’s bounced back nicely from a tough 2016-17. Going back to last year’s PGA Championship (16 events), Day has two wins and eight more top-11 finishes.
- Key Stats: Day is getting the job done where he did when he was ranked No. 1 in the world – on the greens. Day leads the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting, helping him to a Scoring Average of 69.757, which ranks sixth. Anyone that putts the ball as well as Day has a chance when you’re dealing with U.S. Open greens.
- At the U.S. Open: The only thing missing from Jason Day’s U.S. Open resume is a win, but it’s impressive nonetheless. In seven career starts, he’s placed in the top-10 five times. He finished runner-up in his debut in 2011, and matched that feat two years later with a T-2 at Merion. In a year filled with struggles, Day missed the cut at Erin Hills last year.
- Last event: Day looked like he would challenge for his third win of the season, opening with a pair of 68s at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago. Unfortunately for the Muirfield Village resident, he couldn’t get anything going on the weekend, carding two rounds of 74 and free-falling down the leaderboard, eventually finishing T-44.
- World Golf Ranking: 2
- Odds to Win: 15/1
- Overview: Thomas may have lost his No. 1 ranking, but he hasn’t lost his place as one of the favorites to win this week. He won his eighth PGA Tour title at the Honda Classic in February – his fourth win in a 13-event span – giving him multiple wins for the second season in a row. He hasn’t missed a cut since last year’s British Open (18 starts), and he hasn’t finished lower than T-22 since the BMW Championship in last year’s FedEx Cup Playoffs (15 starts).
- Key Stats: Thomas ranks third on the PGA Tour in Scoring Average and Total Strokes Gained, and doesn’t rank lower than 49th in any of the Strokes Gained categories. He’s known for his power, but Thomas has a complete game.
- At the U.S. Open: Thomas put together the lowest round in relation to par (nine-under) in the third round of last year’s U.S. Open, helping him collect his first career top-10 in the event. Thomas has improved in each of his three U.S. Open starts, going from a missed cut in his debut, to a T-32 finish in 2016, to T-9 last year.
- Last event: After an opening-round 72, Thomas fired three straight sub-70 rounds at the Memorial. A pair of weekend 68s moved him to 11-under-par, good enough for a tie for eighth.
Past U.S. Open Champs
They’ve won it before, so they clearly know what it takes.
- World Golf Ranking: 3
- Odds to Win: 17/1
- Overview: Rose has arguably been the best player of 2017-18 season, collecting four wins worldwide and four more top-fives. Since the beginning of last year’s FedEx Cup Playoffs, Rose has finished in the top 10 in an astounding 15 of 20 events. Long known as one of the best ball strikers in the game, Rose has added a hot putter to the mix. Regularly holding a ranking in the triple digits in Strokes Gained: Putting, Rose is ranked 11th in 2017-18.
- Key Stats: With the dramatic improvement, Rose now boasts the complete game – he ranks 28th or better in all six Strokes Gained categories, including second in Total Strokes Gained. There is a lot to like about the 2013 champ’s chances at Shinnecock Hills.
- At the U.S. Open: Rose won his lone major championship at the 2013 U.S. Open, overcoming sentimental favorite Phil Mickelson in the process. His one-over-par total was the last time the U.S. Open winner finished over par for the tournament. Rose has missed the cut in half of 12 U.S. Open starts, including last year, but he also has four top-12 finishes to his credit.
- Last event: Rose followed up his Fort Worth Invitational win with another strong showing at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago. Powered by a second-round 66, he finished at 12-under-par and in a tie for sixth place.
- World Golf Ranking: 9
- Odds to Win: 28/1
- Overview: The defending champion looks to be fully recovered from a wrist injury that cost him 15 weeks earlier this season. Despite playing just eight times in 2017-18, Koepka has a win (Dunlop Phoenix Tournament) and three more top-sixes to his credit. Koepka was the only player in 2016-17 to finish in the top 13 of all four majors. Anybody that watched him last year at Erin Hills knows that he can make a difficult course look very easy when he’s going good.
- At the U.S. Open: The defending champion ran away with his first major title on the back nine of last year’s final round. After a bogey on the 10th hole left him even with Brian Harman, Koepka birdied three of the last eight holes to coast in for a four-shot win. His 16-under-par total tied Rory McIlroy for the lowest score in relation to par in event history. Last year’s win is not Koepka’s only success at the U.S. Open. He’s now finished in the top-18 each of the past four years, including a T-4 in 2014.
- Last event: Koepka got off to a terrific start at the FedEx St. Jude Classic last week, firing an opening-round 66 to sit just one shot off the lead. Rounds of 69 on Friday and Saturday kept him the hunt, but a final-round 73 dropped him 20 spots on the final leaderboard. His three-under total was still good to a T-30 finish.
- World Golf Ranking: 21
- Odds to Win: 55/1
- Overview: Simpson is having a renaissance season, earning the biggest win of his career since his U.S. Open title in 2012 at THE PLAYERS Championship last month. But 2017-18 has had several impressive performances outside of the win at TPC Sawgrass, including three more top-fives. Simpson appeared to be a casualty of the anchoring rule that was instituted in 2016, but he has turned it around in a major way.
- Key Stats: After an average ranking of nearly 150th in Strokes Gained: Putting over the previous three seasons, Simpson is ranked sixth in 2017-18, helping him to his highest World Golf Ranking in over four years.
- At the U.S. Open: Simpson entered the weekend of the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club six shots off the pace. A pair of two-under 68s made up the difference, and he earned a one-shot victory for his only major title. The victory is his only career top-10 at the U.S. Open, and he hasn’t finished inside the top 30 since.
- Last event: After his dominant performance at THE PLAYERS, Simpson struggled at the Fort Worth Invitational, missing the cut by one shot.
- World Golf Ranking: 118
- Odds to Win: 100/1
- Overview: 2018 hasn’t been too kind to the two-time major champion. He’s missed four cuts in his last eight starts and has just two top-25s this year. He is coming off his best result in nearly seven months, though, earning a T-8 at the Italian Open two weeks ago, and he’s shown what he can do when he gets hot. Maybe Kaymer’s game is returning to form at just the right time.
- At the U.S. Open: Kaymer turned the 2014 U.S. Open into a two-round event after he opened with a pair of 65s, leaving the rest of the field in the dust. Despite playing the weekend in one-over-par, Kaymer coasted to an eight-shot win and his second major championship.
- Key Stats: Kaymer has two other top-15 finishes on his U.S. Open resume (T-8, 2010; T-15, 2012), but he hasn’t finished better than T-35 since his win.
- Last event: Kaymer displayed the skills of a former World No. 1 when his second-round 63 gave him the 36-hole lead at the Italian Open. While he carded two more rounds in the 60s on the weekend, it wasn’t enough to keep pace, finishing in a tie for eighth place.
Other Major Winners
These players have won some of the biggest tournaments in the world, but never the U.S. Open.
- World Golf Ranking: 13
- Odds to Win: 25/1
- Overview: Reed is the owner of the biggest victory of the 2017-18 season, winning the Green Jacket to claim his first major title. He will now look to become just the seventh player in history to win both the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year, joining the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, and, most recently, Jordan Spieth. The point of all that is it’s a pretty rare feat to accomplish, but if the Reed of Augusta or past Ryder Cups shows up, he could certainly do it. Even without the major win, Reed is on one of the best stretches of golf in his career.
- Key Stats: Reed has finished in the top 10 in five of his last seven events and ranks fourth on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green. His play off the tee could get him in trouble, though, as he ranks 101st in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee thanks in part to ranking 195th in Driving Accuracy.
- At the U.S. Open: Reed held a share of the 36-hole lead at the 2015 U.S. Open, but was derailed by a third-round 76, eventually finishing T-14. He set a personal best at last year’s U.S. Open, earning a T-13, thanks to a 65 on Saturday.
- Last event: Reed carded a pair of 68s at the Memorial two weeks ago, but a third-round 73 kept him out of serious contention, and he had to settle for a T-29 finish. Reed had trouble of the tee, ranking 68th out of 73 players in Driving Accuracy.
- World Golf Ranking: 15
- Odds to Win: 29/1
- Overview: Since the end of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, Garcia has split his time between the European Tour and the PGA Tour, finding success on both. He scored a pair of wins at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters and the SMBC Singapore Open before earning three straight top-10s in North America. From there, things got a bit dicey, and it all began with his infamous 13 on the 15th hole at The Masters. Garcia missed the cut at Augusta after shooting rounds of 81 and 78, then missed two of the next three cuts as well.
- Key Stats: Garcia has the necessary ball-striking skills to handle a U.S. Open, but his putting is again holding him back. He ranks 150th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting.
- At the U.S. Open: Garcia owns the highest made-cut rate of any player in the field with more than three starts, playing the weekend in 16 of 18 starts. Over his U.S. Open career, Garcia has collected five top-10s, most recently in 2016 when he finished T-5. He earned his 11thS. Open top-25 last year, finishing T-21 at Erin Hills.
- Last event: Garcia missed the cut by three strokes at the AT&T Byron Nelson, an event he won in 2016.
- World Golf Ranking: 20
- Odds to Win: 30/1
- Overview: 2017-18 has been a vintage season for the 47-year-old Mickelson, finding himself near the top of leaderboards with regularity. He started with a T-3 at the season-opening Safeway Open, then culminated a stretch of four-straight top-six finishes with a win at the WGC-Mexico, his first win in four-and-a-half years. Lefty added another top-five at the Wells Fargo Championship, giving him five for the season and helping him move to fifth in the FedEx Cup Points Standings. Not surprisingly, Mickelson’s putter has been a key to his success.
- Key Stats: Mickelson ranks second on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting, and fifth in Total Strokes Gained. You know that there’s nothing Mickelson wants more than to finally capture the final piece to the career grand slam.
- At the U.S. Open: The one accolade that has managed to allude Lefty is a U.S. Open championship, and it’s been tantalizingly close on a number of occasions. Mickelson is the owner of six runner-up finishes in the event, and his inability to close the deal seems to get more dramatic each time. Mickelson missed the U.S. Open last year for the first time in 24 years when he chose his daughter’s graduation over his tee time at Erin Hills. In his last six starts, Mickelson has just one top-25, while finishing outside the top-50 four times.
- Last event: Mickelson put together tremendous bookend rounds at the FedEx St. Jude Classic last week, carding a 66 and a 65 to finish six-under par and in a tie for 12th
- World Golf Ranking: 17
- Odds to Win: 33/1
- Overview: Stenson enters the week of the U.S. Open as the most accurate player on the PGA Tour. He ranks first in both Driving Accuracy and Greens in Regulation, both keys to tackling a U.S. Open setup. The 2016 British Open champion hasn’t won this season, but he’s been on the first page of the leaderboard with regularity. He finished in the top eight six times in his last 13 starts, including a streak three straight that culminated in a T-5 at The Masters. One more thing about Stenson, is his ability to bounce back. At the U.S. Open, you’re going to make bogeys, and he follows up a bogey with a birdie a PGA Tour-best 37 percent of the time.
- At the U.S. Open: Stenson finished in the top 30 at the U.S. Open in six-straight starts between 2009 and 2015. Including in that span were two top-10s, with his best result a T-4 in 2014 at Pinehurst No. 2. He missed the cut last year, the first time he’d missed a U.S. Open cut since 2008.
- Last event: Stenson alternated rounds in the 60s with rounds of 71 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, eventually finishing in a tie for 26th with a total of four-under-par. For the week, he led the field in Driving Accuracy and was second in Greens in Regulation.
- World Golf Ranking: 19
- Odds to Win: 42/1
- Overview: Watson has made an impressive comeback this season, moving up almost 100 spots in the World Golf Rankings since February thanks to a pair of prestigious victories. He’s made his last nine cuts and has four top-10s in 12 starts this season. He’s still one of the longest players in the world, ranking seventh on the PGA Tour in Driving Distance, and when he’s got it going off the tee, he’s got a significant advantage over almost everyone in the field.
- Key Stats: Watson will need to be extra special with the big stick this week to win, because the rest of his stats don’t necessarily scream U.S. Open champion. His ranks are in triple digits in Strokes Gained: Putting and Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green.
- At the U.S. Open: Watson’s recent U.S. Open resume is lacking when it comes to bright spots. He finished T-5 in 2007, but since then, he’s missed five cuts and finished inside the top 30 just once. He missed the cut last year at Erin Hills.
- Last event: Watson carded three rounds under par at the Memorial Tournament a few weeks ago, but his third-round 77 held him in the lower half of the leaderboard. His four-under-par total was good for a T-44 finish.
- World Golf Ranking: 67
- Odds to Win: 50/1
- Overview: Scott’s performance has fallen off noticeably over the past year, tumbling outside of the top 50 in the world. He has just one top-10 in the last 12 months (21 starts), but it came recently, at last month’s AT&T Byron Nelson (T-9), and the week before that he finished T-11 at THE PLAYERS.
- Key Stats: Despite the lack of high results, Scott is still one of the best players of the past decade-plus, regularly ranking in the top-10 in the World Golf Rankings, and he still hits the ball very well from tee-to-green. He ranks 6th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green.
- At the U.S. Open: Scott has become a much bigger threat at the U.S. Open in the second half of his professional career. He missed the cut in six of his first 10 starts, but since 2011, he’s placed in the top 18 four times. His best result came at Chambers Bay in 2015 when he finished T-4. He missed the cut last year.
- Last event: Scott finished T-35 at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago. He showed some good signs with a second-round 66, but couldn’t break 70 the other three days.
- World Golf Ranking: 33
- Odds to Win: 63/1
- Overview: The 2010 British Open champion is never a name that jumps off the page when looking for a winner, but he’s proven that his game translates to all venues. He’s finished in the top-two in all four majors, including at the 2015 U.S. Open. He’s accumulated seven top-16 finishes since the end of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, including a T-5 at the Fort Worth Invitational three weeks ago.
- At the U.S. Open: Oosthuizen has a pair of top-10s to his credit in eight career U.S. Open starts. His best result came at Chambers Bay, when he finished T-2 after he followed up an opening-round 77 with rounds of 66, 66 and 67. He finished T-23 last year.
- Last event: Oosthuizen fought back from a disappointing third-round 74 at the Memorial, by shooting the best round of the day on Sunday. His final-round 65 – eight birdies and just one bogey – moved him up into a tie for 13th.
- World Golf Ranking: 44
- Odds to Win: 77/1
- Overview: Schwartzel was scuffling along for much of the past year, but a swing adjustment this spring helped him get back on track. He earned back-to-back top-10s in May, highlighted by a runner-up finish at THE PLAYERS. Unfortunately, he missed the cut in his last start, making it four missed cuts in his last seven starts. He’s a major winner, so you know he can get it done, but he’s a pretty big longshot this week.
- At the U.S. Open: The 2011 Masters champion has four top-16 finishes in his last eight starts at the U.S. Open, with a solo 7th in 2015 as his best result. He missed the cut in 2017.
- Last event: Schwartzel could not overcome his opening-round 77, missing the cut by two shots at the Memorial Tournament.
Veterans That Can Win
These vets have the game and the experience, but haven’t been able to get over that major hump yet.
- World Golf Ranking: 7
- Odds to Win: 16/1
- Overview: Outside of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, Fowler might be the player with the most sentimental support this week. Now 29 years old, he sits near the top of the ‘Best Player to Never Win a Major’ list. Fowler has five top-10s this season, including a victory at the Hero World Challenge in December. He gave himself an excellent chance to win his first major at The Masters, but fell one shot behind Patrick Reed.
- Key Stats: Statistically this season, Fowler hasn’t done anything great, and he hasn’t done anything awful. He manages to score well, though, and that’s what it’s all about. His 69.938 average is good for ninth on the PGA Tour. He’s probably going to need to find his putting stroke from last season to get it done this week, but no one would be surprised if he did.
- At the U.S. Open: Fowler looked poised to earn his first major at last year’s U.S. Open, jumping out to the lead with an opening-round 65. He was only able to play one of the last three rounds under par, and slid into a tie for fifth, his second career top-five at the U.S. Open. He has three top-10s in his last five starts, but those other two are missed cuts.
- Last event: Fowler got off to a bit of a slow start at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago, but three sub-70 rounds pushed him into the top 10. His 10-under-par total was good for a tie for eighth place.
- World Golf Ranking: 10
- Odds to Win: 25/1
- Overview: Matsuyama hasn’t been at the same level as he was to start last season, when he rose to as high as No. 2 in the World Golf Rankings. Still, he has three top-fives and four more top-20s in 2017-18, and when he’s on, he’s a premier iron player. He can get hot in the blink of an eye, much like he did at last year’s U.S. Open when he finished in a tie for second. Matsuyama is still just 26 years old, and he feels a little overlooked when discussing the best young players in the world. Don’t be surprised by a strong showing at Shinnecock.
- At the U.S. Open: Matsuyama alternated mediocre rounds and exceptional rounds at last year’s U.S. Open, using a second-round 65 and final-round 66 to finish in a tie for second place at 12-under-par. That was Matsuyama’s second career top-10 in the U.S. Open, adding to his T-10 in 2013.
- Last event: Matsuyama held the share of the lead at the Memorial Tournament after opening with a round of 65. Unfortunately for the 2014 Memorial champion, he followed it up with three straight rounds of 71 and had to settle for a T-13. Matsuyama did lead the field in Putts per GIR for the week, a good sign heading into a U.S. Open.
- World Golf Ranking: 34
- Odds to Win: 42/1
- Overview: Grace has played the weekend in every event he’s played since the completion of the FedEx Cup Playoffs last year, a span of 19 events. Making cuts is not all he’s doing, though, as he won the Nedbank Golf Challenge in his native South Africa in November, and he’s added four more top-eights. He’s earned a pair of top-fives in his last three starts, finishing T-3 at the AT&T Byron Nelson and T-5 at the BMW PGA Championship. He doesn’t boast any real noteworthy statistics between the PGA and European Tours, but he is solid across the board.
- At the U.S. Open: The majors seem to bring out the best in Grace, and the U.S. Open in no exception. He earned consecutive top-fives in 2015 and 2016 before finishing T-50 last year.
- Last event: Grace opened with a 69 at the Memorial Tournament, and he followed it up with two more rounds under par. Unfortunately for him, a final-round 75, including 4 bogeys on the back nine, left him in a tie for 52nd
- World Golf Ranking: 11
- Odds to Win: 42/1
- Overview: Casey is another player that seems to rarely have an off week. He’s made the cut in 30 of his last 31 starts, and he piles up top-10s likes it’s no problem. Since last year’s U.S. Open (21 starts), Casey has earned 10 top-10s, including his first win in over three years at the Valspar Championship.
- Key Stats: The former Arizona State Sun Devil is one of the best ball strikers on the PGA Tour – he ranks in the top 10 in three Strokes Gained categories – Approach-the-Green (8th), Total (8th) and Tee-to-Green (9th). With those numbers, it’s surprising he’s had such little success at the U.S. Open, but it makes for some pretty sweet looking odds.
- At the U.S. Open: Casey has just one top-10 in 14 career starts in the U.S. Open, earning a T-10 back in 2007. In his nine starts since, he hasn’t finished in the top 25 once and has missed three cuts.
- Last event: Casey broke 70 just once at the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship three weeks ago, collecting a respectable T-20 finish.
- World Golf Ranking: 12
- Odds to Win: 45/1
- Overview: Fleetwood has built on his breakthrough 2016-17 with a solid start to this season He earned a win in January at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and has finished in the top 25 in 17 of his last 20 starts.
- Key Stats: Fleetwood ranks ninth on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and 11th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, so his game is well suited for the U.S. Open. He showed outstanding poise while battling for last year’s title, so don’t be surprised if he does it again. At odds this high, he’s an excellent gamble.
- At the U.S. Open: Fleetwood found his name inside the top five after all four rounds of last year’s U.S. Open, displaying a solid all-around game on his way to a solo fourth place finish. The Englishman has made the cut in both of his U.S. Open starts, finishing T-27 in 2015.
- Last event: Fleetwood fired four rounds in the 60s, but that was only good enough for a T-23 finish at the Italian Open two weeks ago.
- World Golf Ranking: 16
- Odds to Win: 47/1
- Overview: The former Oklahoma State Cowboy has collected four top-three finishes in 2018 alone, never going more than four starts between podium finishes. He’s finished in the top 25 in nine of his last 12 starts this season.
- Key Stats: Noren ranks in the top 15 on the PGA Tour in three Strokes Gained categories – Total (11th), Putting (13th) and Approach-the-Green (15th). Much like the rest of his career, most of Noren’s major success has come in Europe. He has just one top-40 finish in the three majors played in the United States.
- At the U.S. Open: Noren has yet to find his footing at the U.S. Open, missing the cut in three of his four starts there. His best result came in 2011 when he finished T-51.
- Last event: Noren played the weekend in eight-under-par at the Italian Open, finishing in a tie for 23rd
- World Golf Ranking: 25
- Odds to Win: 55/1
- Overview: The model of consistency, Kuchar has made the cut in 32 of his last 33 starts going back to last season. While there haven’t been a lot of high finishes this season – he has just one top-five in 2017-18 – Kuchar knows how to move up the leaderboard in the majors. He’s made the cut in the last 21 majors he’s played, finishing in the top 10 in four of the last six.
- At the U.S. Open: Kuchar’s U.S. Open performances have been solid since 2010, playing the weekend in each of his last eight starts. He hasn’t been much of a threat to win, though. He has just one career top-10 (T-6, 2010), but has finished between T-12 and T-16 four times over that span.
- Last event: Kuchar used a final-round 67 – the third-best round of the day – to shoot up the leaderboard at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago. His 10-under-par total was good enough for a T-13 finish.
- World Golf Ranking: 14
- Odds to Win: 58/1
- Overview: Leishman is coming his first multiple-win season as a professional, winning most recently at the BMW Championship during the FedEx Cup Playoffs. So far in 2017-18, the big Aussie has found his way into the top-10 seven times, including a solo second at the AT&T Byron Nelson four weeks ago.
- At the U.S. Open: Leishman’s best result in six career starts at the U.S. Open is T-18 in 2016, and he’s missed the cut three times. He finished T-27 last year.
- Last event: Leishman struggled in the bookend rounds of the Memorial Tournament, carding rounds of 74 and 76 to effectively keep him out of contention. Even with a stellar 67 in the third round, Leishman finished T-62.
- World Golf Ranking: 18
- Odds to Win: 66/1
- Overview: Molinari sits atop the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Standings thanks to a win at the BMW PGA Championship and finishing in the top 25 in each of his other four starts. Between the European and PGA Tours, Molinari has placed in the top 25 in five of his last seven starts.
- Key Stats: Molinari ranks seventh on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and 16th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
- At the U.S. Open: Molinari hasn’t had much success at the U.S. Open in his career, missing the cut four times and cracking the top 25 just once in eight tries (T-23, 2014). He missed the cut last year at Erin Hills.
- Last event: Molinari earned his second top-two finish in two weeks with a solo second at the Italian Open.
- World Golf Ranking: 28
- Odds to Win: 70/1
- Overview: Harman had his best season as professional last year, winning the Wells Fargo Championship and finishing T-2 at the U.S. Open, but he may be having an even better season in 2017-18. He’s already got a PGA Tour-leading seven top-10 finishes, with four being top-fives.
- Key Stats: Harman controls his golf ball very well – he ranks in the top 25 on the PGA Tour in Driving Accuracy (23rd) and Greens in Regulation (24th) – and rolls it as well as anyone. He’s placed in the top-20 in Strokes Gained: Putting each of the last three seasons. He’s got a bulldog mentality that really helps in U.S. Open conditions.
- At the U.S. Open: Harman came up with his first big performance in a major with a T-2 finish at last year’s U.S. Open. He held at least a share of the 36- and 54-hole leads before succumbing to Brook Koepka’s late charge on Sunday. He missed the cut in his two previous U.S. Open starts.
- Last event: Harman carded the second-best round of the day (64) in the third round of the Fort Worth Invitational, helping him earn a T-14 finish. His 21 birdies for the week tied for third-most in the field.
- World Golf Ranking: 37
- Odds to Win: 77/1
- Overview: Finau is one of the most powerful players in the game, ranking second in the PGA Tour in Driving Distance at over 315 yards, but he’s not just about power. He ranks in the top 25 in three Strokes Gained categories – Tee-to-Green (18th), Total (20th) and Approach-the-Green (25th), helping to a scoring average that ranks 15th on the PGA Tour. His 2017-18 season got off to a great start with a solo second at the Safeway Open, and he had another second-place finish at the Genesis Open. In all, he has four top-10s and six more top 25s.
- At the U.S. Open: Finau made his major championship debut at the 2015 U.S. Open, and he came through with a solid T-14 finish. He missed the cut in 2016, his only other appearance.
- Last event: Finau missed the cut by a single shot at last week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic, carding rounds of 70 and 71.
These are players age-26 and under who have the skills to win big.
- World Golf Ranking: 5
- Odds to Win: 18/1
- Overview: Rahm continues to show that he is one of the best young players in the world, collecting three wins in his last 12 worldwide starts. He’s finished in the top-five in three of his last four starts, including a solo fourth at The Masters.
- Key Stats: The 23-year-old Spaniard’s biggest asset right now is his play off the tee – he ranks second on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and averages over 307 yards. He hits over 70 percent of Greens in Regulation, but he ranks 136th on the PGA Tour in Proximity to the Hole. If can improve in that area just a bit, he will contend for his first major title.
- At the U.S. Open: Rahm missed the cut in his first U.S. Open appearance as a pro last year. As an amateur in 2016, he finished T-23 at Oakmont.
- Last event: Rahm finished T-5 at the Fort Worth Invitational three weeks ago, carding three rounds of 68 or better. His game was on full display on Saturday, as he fired a round of 64 – the second-best round of the day – after going out in 30.
- World Golf Ranking: 22
- Odds to Win: 45/1
- Overview: DeChambeau enters the week as one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour. He’s placed in the top-four in four of his last seven events, including a win at the Memorial two weeks ago. For the 2017-18 season, the former U.S. Amateur champ has finished in the top-seven six times.
- Key Stats: He ranks in the top 16 in four Strokes Gained categories – Off-the-Tee (12th), Total (12th), Tee-to-Green (15th) and Approach-the-Green (16th). He’s immensely talented and seems to be coming into his own. The next step will be contending in majors.
- At the U.S. Open: DeChambeau has a T-15 and two missed cuts in three career U.S. Open starts. He entered the final round of the 2016 U.S. Open inside the top 10, but a final-round 74 pushed him down the leaderboard.
- Last event: DeChambeau earned his second career PGA Tour victory at the Memorial two weeks ago, holding off Kyle Stanley and Byeong Hun An in a playoff. DeChambeau made just four bogeys the entire week, relying on a stellar short game to make up for his lack of accuracy off the tee.
- World Golf Ranking: 29
- Odds to Win: 60/1
- Overview: Cantlay earned his first win a professional earlier this season, and he’s been a regular on the weekend since making his return to the PGA Tour last season. In the 25 events he’s played since coming back from a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, he’s made the cut 23 times. Cantlay hasn’t just been making cuts, though. He’s contended on a regular basis. He’s finished in the top-10 eight times, including his last start.
- Key Stats: His tee-to-green game has been excellent this season – he ranks 10th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green – but he needs his putting to improve if he wants to contend at Shinnecock. He sits in 133rd place in Strokes Gained: Putting.
- At the U.S. Open: Cantlay made the cut twice as an amateur in two U.S. Open starts, including in 2011 when he was low amateur. He boasts T-21 and T-41 finishes in his career.
- Last event: Cantlay missed out on the three-man playoff at the Memorial by one shot, settling for fourth place. He looked like the man to beat as he went out in four-under on Sunday, but he bogeyed three of the last seven holes to fall painfully short. For the week, Cantlay’s three eagles led the field, and he ranked in the top 10 in Greens in Regulations and Putts per GIR.
- World Golf Ranking: 26
- Odds to Win: 66/1
- Overview: After coming out of nowhere to finish T-5 at last year’s U.S. Open, the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year won’t surprise anyone this time around. Schauffele not only made it all the way to the TOUR Championship in his rookie season, he won the season’s final event, giving him two victories on the year. He hasn’t found the winner’s circle in 2017-18, but he does have three top-three finishes, most recently at THE PLAYERS when he earned a T-2.
- At the U.S. Open: Schauffele burst onto the world golf scene with a T-5 finish at last year’s U.S. Open. He opened with a 66, and played the weekend in five-under-par to finish at 10-under-par for the week.
- Last event: Schauffele got off to a slow start at the Memorial Tournament, carding an opening-round 75, missing the cut by two shots.
Other Players to Consider: Kiradech Aphibanrat, Daniel Berger, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Kevin Chappell, Ross Fisher, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Bill Haas, Adam Hadwin, Tyrrell Hatton, Charley Hoffman, Si Woo Kim, Kevin Kisner, Pat Perez, Ollie Schniederjans, Shubhankar Sharma, Cameron Smith, Brandt Snedeker, Kyle Stanley, Brendan Steele, Aaron Wise
Past winners in the field: Koepka, D. Johnson, Spieth, Kaymer, Rose, Simpson, McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Lucas Glover, Woods (3), Jim Furyk, Ernie Els
Major winners in the field: Keegan Bradley, Day, Jason Dufner, Els (4), Furyk, Garcia, Glover, D. Johnson, Z. Johnson (2), Kaymer (2), Koepka, McDowell, McIlroy (4), Mickelson, Oosthuizen, Reed, Rose, Schwartzel, Scott, Simpson, Spieth (3), Stenson, J. Thomas, J. Walker, B. Watson (2), Willett, Woods (14)