Setting the Scene
The U.S. Open has been a 72-hole stroke play event since it was first held in 1895 and won by Englishman Horace Rawlins, who took home a staggering $150 after shooting a 36-hole total of 173 (rounds of 91 and 82). It used to be the second major of the year after the U.S. Masters, but after a reorganization of the PGA Tour schedule in 2019, the USPGA Championship was shifted from August to May, and it is now the third of four majors.
The 121st U.S. Open will be held on the South Course at Torrey Pines in California this year. The South Course was last utilized for the tournament in 2008 when Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate in the last 18-hole playoff of the championship. They were the only two players who finished the week with a score below par (-1). Lee Westwood finished three strokes clear of Robert Karlsson and DJ Trahan in third place, one stroke behind the playoff contenders.
Woods had looked more likely to withdraw than win just months after arthroscopic knee surgery as he struggled on in obvious pain with what turned out to be stress fractures in his left leg, and just nine days after the win, he was back under the knife to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Woods’ birdie putt on the 72nd hole to tie Mediate embodies his strong will to win, and it’s a moment worth replaying.
U.S. Open Betting History
Betting on the U.S. Open has historically paid out handsomely for golf bettors, and the last five years have been no exception. Bryson DeChambeau won at 25/1 odds in 2020, and you’d be lucky to get him at that price again anytime soon.
US OPEN WINNERS (2016-2020)
2020 – Bryson DeChambeau (25/1)
2019 – Gary Woodland (60/1)
2018 – Brooks Koepka (25/1)
2017 – Brooks Koepka (30/1)
2016 – Dustin Johnson (12/1)
Gary Woodland connected at a 60/1 price in 2019. Brooks Koepka, despite winning in 2017, connected at 25/1 odds in 2018 and 30/1 odds in 2017. Dustin Johnson was the third choice in 2016 and was backed at 12/1 odds.
The U.S. Open has been won by Americans for the past six years, dating back to 2015. Martin Kaymer of Germany and Justin Rose of England were the last two overseas golfers to win the US Open in 2014 and 2013. For winning bettors, Kaymer (40/1) and Rose (25/1) both delivered significant returns.
Horses for Courses
The South Course will hold all four rounds this week, unlike the usual TOUR tournament. The South Course, at roughly 7,652 yards, is a long and arduous par-71. It is one of the most challenging driving tests on the PGA TOUR due to its length, narrow fairways, and heavy rough. Here, length is usually a plus, but it’s even better if players can keep the driver in play.
Although the leaderboards trend more toward a comprehensive driving test than a bomber’s paradise, players who can recover from the tough and have excellent shorter games can do well here.
Where’s the money?
Let’s now look at where all of the early money has gone on the major players.
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It’s clear to see many people fancy the Spaniard Jon Rahm and it’s easy to see why after his recent exploits. He also has more top ten finished than any other player on TOUR. It’s strange to see that Rory McIlroy’s price has nearly doubled given he has won recently. There has been plenty of money for Tony Finau and Paul Casey’s large odds have come in also.