The 121st U.S. Open gets underway later this week at Torrey Pines, South Course — a beautiful, classical golf course that never ceases to amaze with stunning ocean vistas to one of golf’s most demanding tests. The last and only other U.S. Open held here was in 2008, which provided one of golf’s greatest moments. Tiger Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a Monday playoff on a broken knee. His final putt on the 72nd hole in regulation will go down as a “where were you when Tiger made that putt?” moment.
This course is a brutal test of golf. From the sheer distance, to the thick Kikuyu rough, to how firm the fairways and greens will be. Only the best will survive this week and claim victory.
In stature and game, the fittest of golfers should be first on our betting cards this week. Historically, the golfers who rank high in OWGR have won the U.S. Open. Gary Woodland in 2019 was the lowest-ranked player (24th) to win in the tournament’s previous six renewals; while Jordan Spieth was the highest-ranked at World No. 2 in 2015. From a betting perspective, the average winning odds since 2016 is +3800, with Gary Woodland being the longest at +8000 in 2019 and Dustin Johnson being the shortest at +1600 in 2016.
As mentioned in the Preview article, Morikawa has been tremendous with his irons, gaining an average of about seven strokes over his last five tournaments. Even though he’s lost strokes with his putter in three of his previous four measured tournaments, the fourth-ranked golfer in the world’s worst finish in those events was a 14th at the Charles Schwab; as he finished top eight or better at the RBC Heritage and the PGA Championship. So, we know that if he’s having a good putting week, he’s most likely giving himself a shot to win with how well he’s striking the ball. He’s got a top 25 at the 2020 Farmers Insurance Open and grew up putting on poa annua in California.
Another player who’s been sensational with his irons is Paul Casey, who hasn’t lost strokes through approach since the CJ Cup back in October of last year. More recently, the 20th-ranked player in the world gained 8.1 strokes at the PGA Championship en route to a top five — his third top five finish at a Major since 2016. Casey’s third in SG: Tee-to-Green over the previous 24 rounds and doesn’t struggle to find distance Off-the-Tee, ranking 34th in driving distance since January. A runner-up at the PGA Championship at Harding Park last season, a fourth at The Ocean Course this year, a top five at THE PLAYERS back in March and a win overseas this season should provide us with a decent amount of confidence when deciding who to back in this range. Shane Lowry (+4500) also deserves consideration for how well he’s playing Tee-to-Green, ranking 11th over the previous 24 rounds. Additionally, take Adam Scott (+7000) into consideration with his past success at Torrey Pines and how well his game sets up for a U.S. Open. Scott finished 10th this season at the Farmers Insurance Open, along with a second place result in 2019, and has three top 10s at the U.S. Open since 2014.
The Californian has already proven he can play well in strong fields, winning both the 2019 Wells Fargo and the Genesis Invitational this season at Riviera CC in Los Angeles. Since his win, it’s been a mixed bag of results, recording four missed cuts in his last eight starts at The Masters, The PGA Championship, Wells Fargo and THE PLAYERS. Not exactly the form you want to see heading into the U.S. Open, but the tournaments where he’s made the weekend, he hasn’t finished worse than 22nd, with three top 10s. His experience putting on poa annua will give him confidence like he had back in February when he won.
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