Another month, and another major is upon us with the 121st Us Open kicking off later this week.
Torrey Pines is set to play host to the world’s greatest golfers, and this will be the second time it has hosted the tournament after it hosted a memorable tournament back in 2008, which saw Tiger Woods battle through injury to hold off Rocco Mediate in a dramatic 19 hole playoff.
Below, we look at what test the golfers can expect as well as looking at some of the best bets ahead of what looks set to be another superb edition of this wonderful tournament.
Torrey Pines: A true golfing test
Located in San Diego, Torrey Pines is a golf course that any ardent follower of the PGA Tour will be aware of. Having hosted the Farmers Insurance Open since 1968, it provides a true golfing test.
Built in 1957, on a former US Military site, Torrey Pines was designed by Father and Son duo William P and William B Bell in 1957. However, since the course opened there have been several redesigns of the course. Situated next to the Pacific Ocean, there are two courses within the Torrey Pines complex, the North and South courses, at The Farmers, golfers compete over both courses but for the US Open the action will take place solely on the South. This week will see the Open play a total length of 7,652 yards and at a par of 71.
Despite hosting The Farmers annually, Torrey Pines has been gearing up for this year’s edition of the Open since 2017. The course will have a different look to The Farmers held back in January.
Firstly, the warmer and drier weather will make the course a lot tougher. Whereas in January, tee shots barely rolled 10 yards when they hit the fairway, the drier weather could see balls bound down the fairway at double that distance – making the course a lot narrower and tougher.
Secondly, is the mixture of two different grass types within the rough. The rough for this years Open will be comprised of both Kikuyu grass and Rye Grass. The culmination of this mixture means that the rough will be thicker, and could mean that two golfers separated by 10 yards within the rough could get two different looks depending on grass type and lie.
In the lead up to any major, I am often reminded of Brooks Koepka’s now famous quote in the lead up the 2019 Master’s.
I think sometimes the Majors are the easiest ones to win, there’s 156 in the field, so you figure at least 80 of them I’m just going to beat. You figure about half of them won’t play well from there, so you’re down to about maybe 35. And then from 35, some of them just – the pressure is going to get to them. It only leaves you with a few more, and you’ve just got to beat those guys.— Brooks Koepka
Koepka isn’t wrong, as amongst the last twenty major winners you will see that golf’s biggest names tend to dominate. Yes, there are exceptions Danny Willet, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner to name a few but for those looking for as close to a sure thing as possible, I’d select:
Jon Rahm +1050
Bryson DeChambeau + 1500
Jordan Spieth + 1900
Brooks Koepka +1900
Justin Thomas +2250
These are the sensible ways to go if backing a favorite is how you like to bet.
Horses for Courses
Due to The Farmers being held at Torrey Pines each year, this gives us great data and information as to who has won previously and clearly likes the course. The previous ten winners of The Farmers reads are;
2010 – Ben Crane
2011 – Bubba Watson
2012 – Brandt Snedeker
2013 – Tiger Woods
2014 – Scott Stallings
2015 – Jason Day
2016 – Brandt Snedeker
2017- Jon Rahm
2018 – Jason Day
2019 – Justin Rose
2020 – Marc Leishman
2021 – Patrick Reed
Multiple winners Snedeker and Day both won’t be teeing it up for this year’s tournament but a name that does stick out on the list is Marc Leishman.
The Australian, the winner in 2020 has also finished as a runner-up in 2010 and 2014. He has enjoyed a stellar 2021 with a tied 5th at The Masters, a tied 4th in The Sony Open, and a victory with compatriot Cameron Smith in The Zurich Classic. He put up another credible display in this year’s edition of The Farmers where he finished tied 18th. Currently priced at +8500 for the victory, prices of +1400 for a top 5, and +600 for a top 10 – I think Leishman could be one of the value plays of this year’s tournament.
Bubba Watson the champion in 2011 has had a quietly good year with top 10s in the Zozo Championship, Cj Cup, and Zurich Classic. Admittedly he was poor in The Farmers where he missed the cut, but Watson a two-time major winner knows what it takes to win the big events and priced at +14000 for the victory, +2200 for a top 5, and +900 for a top 10 again represents some excellent value.
The toughest challenge in golf
The U.S. Open is considered by many as the toughest challenge in golf and it’s not hard to see why. In 2018 Brooks Koepka won with a +1 score, Justin Rose and Webb Simpson in 2012 and 2013 also finished at +1. The ability to scramble well will be a key reason in determining who will emerge victorious this week.
Webb Simpson currently leads the PGA Tour in scramble success, a past champion, he has achieved 5 top ten finishes this year and comes into this week’s tournament flying well under the radar. Currently priced at +5000 for a victory, +900 for a top 5 and +400 for a top 5, Simpson is sure to be a golfer who will provide some good value for money.
Another name near the top of the scrambling stats is Abraham Ancer. Ancer currently ranked 21st in the world, is another who has had a stellar 20201 with five top-ten finishes, the highlight being a 2nd place finish in the Wells Fargo Championship. His major record is solid with his best finish coming in this year’s US PGA with a tied 8th finish. Currently priced at +4500 for the victory he looks like another viable option.
With the course set to be demanding, good putting is a must for any potential champion. What could prove pivotal are those tricky putts within 6 feet. Leading the way on tour this year is Matthew Wolff who has made 91% of his putts inside 6 feet. Wolff almost won his first major when he finished in second place in last year’s U.S. Open but has had a tough year so far.
He has withdrawn from multiple tournaments with no specific reason being provided, however despite some doubts +22500 for the win, +5000 for a top ten, and +2000 for a top 5 could be worth a small bet.
All odds courtesy of DraftKings and correct at time of publishing.
Passionate writer about golf and the PGA Tour, you won’t find me on the fairway but instead hacking my way round the course. Terrible driver of the ball, even worse putter.
Love all sports but have decided to make my sporting life as miserable as possible by supporting Tottenham Hotspur and the Dallas Cowboys, who between them have gone almost a century without a major league title.