Nick Bonfield looks at some of the US Open betting favourites ahead of the second major of the year at Chambers Bay
Some believe it’s a course made for long hitters, others feel the winner will get it done around the greens and more still believe creativity, imagination and shot-making are prerequisites to a strong week. We’ve also had some players – most notably Phil Mickelson and Michael Putnam, who lives a mile away from the course – urging others to treat it as an Open Championship venue.
In spite of all the furore and uncertainty, one factor remains true – if you want to win the US Open, you have to be proficient in all departments. Hit greens and putt well and you’ll always have a chance in this event.
But who do the bookmakers have as the favourites? And out of them, who is most likely to reign supreme? Let’s find out…
Rory McIlroy – 11/2 with Paddy Power
I’d personally steer clear of McIlroy at such odds. His length will be an advantage, but Chambers Bay isn’t the typical target golf course on which he excels. He’s missed his last two cuts – including a shocking performance at the Irish Open on a course with some parallels to the US Open layout – and he’s only planning to play two or three practice rounds before the event proper.
Jordan Spieth – 8/1 with Paddy Power
Spieth looks a good bet, especially given that his caddy, Michael Grella, is a member at Chambers Bay. With such large greens, three-putt avoidance is going to be pivotal, and there’s no one better with the flat-stick than the 2015 Masters champion. Spieth hits a lot of greens and boasts a world-class short game, so a second major of the year certainly isn’t out of the question.
Dustin Johnson – 16/1 with Paddy Power
I really like the look of Johnson here. He’s a massive hitter and his past results suggest he has a penchant for links-style golf. Many have spoken of the similarities between Chambers Bay and Whistling Straights, where Johnson grounded his club on the 72nd hole in 2010 when in with a chance of victory. He’s also played well in past Open Championships and has a victory at Pebble Beach on his resume.
Justin Rose – 18/1 with Paddy Power
Given his attributes and current form, it’d almost be a surprise if Rose didn’t get himself into contention at some stage over the four days. The Englishman won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April and lost out in a play-off to David Lingmerth at last week’s Memorial Tournament. He’s renowned for playing well on tough golf courses and they don’t come much harder than Chambers Bay.
Rickie Fowler – 18/ with Paddy Power
Rickie will be feeling so good about the fact he’s got the one-win pony label off his back. The popular American is typically a brilliant performer on links-type layouts and he’ll be relishing the challenge of Chambers Bay. I’m not quite sure he deserves to be joint-fourth favourite at such a short price, so I’d be tempted to leave him alone, but he’s certainly got the game to win.
Phil Mickelson – 20/1 with Paddy Power
Everyone in the world of golf wants Mickelson to land his national title, but I just don’t see it happening this time around. His form is erratic and his stats don’t instil much confidence. He’s currently ranked 174th in Greens in Regulation, 152nd in Driving Accuracy and 94th in Scrambling. I’m afraid that’s not going to get it done at a US Open.
So, the conclusion? If you’re keen to bet on a favourite, go for Spieth, Johnson or Rose. If you had to push me for one, I’d say Johnson, provided he’s recovered from whatever forced him to withdraw from the FedEx St Jude Classic during the first round.