Welcome to Round 3 of the PGA Tour’s heavyweight battle simply known as ‘The Majors.’
Bear with us here…the boxing metaphors will come early and often. And make sure to watch out for those left hooks. They can knock a player out of the tournament quickly. (See what we did there?)
This week’s U.S. Open will be held on the South Course at Torrey Pines in San Diego. It’s one of those courses that anyone in the world can play. Simply plunk down your money (you’ll be hit with sticker shock so be warned).
But this week will see a different setup. Longer rough (try five-or-so inches deep), tighter pin placements and quicker greens will add up to a challenge that even some of the world’s best players will fail. And there will be some astronomical scores, count on it.
Could someone down the list pull the big upset like Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson in 1990? Take a minute to look up the facts and figures…as well as the odds at +37000…on that fight and you’ll see anything is possible.
Odds To Win The U.S. Open by BetMGM
|2021 US Open||BetMGM Odds|
Big Event Means Big Names Are Favored
Checking out the odds above, it’s easy to see the sportsbooks are gambling on one of the big names being able to land a knockout punch or two and walk away with the title.
It’s one of those events where the dates are circled on everyone’s calendar. There are only four majors and in 2021, they are coming once a month.
First there was the Masters in April won by Hideki Matsuyama. That was followed by the year’s surprise winner: Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship.
The Pressure Builds Early In Majors
The old saying goes you can’t win a golf tournament on Thursday but you can certainly lose it.
That saying is doubly true at majors. With tougher course conditions the pressure ramps up with every shot. One tee ball OB or in the water may not seem like that big of a deal on Thursday but it can certainly turn out to be.
The main goal early: Don’t shoot yourself out of the tournament.
The Defending Champ Will Be Lurking
Bryson DeChambeau at +1600 at BetMGM has been stuck in neutral for the past couple of weeks. But as the defending champ, bettors can’t completely count him out. He coasted to a six-stroke victory last year in winning his first major.
The question heading into this event is: Can he find another gear? Being a major certainly won’t hurt but it’s tough, even for the superstars, to just reach for another gear and take your game up a level.
Tough, but not impossible. There’s a great chance he will be back in contention but we’re going to look at a couple of other options as well.
X Marks The Spot This Week
We’ve picked Xander Schauffele (+2000 this week) a couple of times when he’s finished second. In fact, he sports eight runnerup finishes since his last victory at the 2019 Tournament of Champions.
But we’re thinking he’s going to be just fine this week and the reasoning is twofold.
One, he wound up fifth in last year’s U.S. Open which is a solid finish in a USGA event where the conditioning is always toughened up.
Second, it will be a hometown event for him. Never count out a guy who has spent a lot of time in these fairways and putting these greens.
He’s also mixed success in 2021 majors. He was third at the Masters in April but missed the cut at the PGA Championship.
We figure it’s time for him to break out of that runner-up spot and kill two birds with one stone: Getting back in the winner’s circle and also winning his first major.
Down The List Offers Interesting Options
Will Zalatoris, at +4000, just keeps hanging around. And that even includes the majors. He was second at the Masters and T-8 at the PGA Championship.
He’s taken the best body blows the big guns can hand out and he’s still standing toe-to-toe with them and looking for an opening to deliver a knockout blow.
Can his first PGA Tour victory be a major? Stranger things have happened.
But, with him weighing just 165 pounds, he’s going to have to fight above his weight to come away with a victory.
Don’t Overlook ‘Mr. Major’
Yes, we haven’t forgotten about the new man who just lives for the majors (with the old man being Tiger Woods).
Brooks Koepka, at +1400, should definitely be in the picture all four rounds. He’s won the U.S. Open twice in back-to-back years (2018 and 2019) and four of his eight PGA Tour wins are majors. He’s coming off an injury but he’s also coming off a second-place finish at the PGA Championship. And don’t fret about last week’s missed cut. That’s already gone from his mind and should be from yours as well.
Is he healthy enough to win a fifth major? That’s the million-dollar question.
Actually the $2.25 million question, the winner’s share this week.
And Then There’s The Story For The Ages
That brings us to the storyline that has everyone intrigued: Phil Mickelson.
At +5000 Mickelson certainly isn’t being looked at to win the U.S. Open. But here’s where it gets a little more interesting. A win here, in his hometown stomping grounds, would complete the career grand slam for him.
It would also give him back-to-back major victories (he won the PGA Championship at an astronomical +20000 at some sportsbooks).
Can he win another major as 50-plus-year-old? As the saying goes, stranger things have happened. We’re not saying he’s going to win but there’s no doubt his confidence is sky-high when it comes to majors.
Ding! There’s the bell for the first round.