Is United States Open closed to American golfers?

Jun 15, 2011 8:52 PM

The absence of Tiger Woods from the United States Open hurts TV ratings, but has created a betting opportunity never before seen in golf.

When Tiger was dominating as the world’s No. 1, he would be the overwhelming favorite at odds of 5-1 or less. For Thursday’s start of the Open, nobody is single digits. So if you have the bankroll, betting say 25 golfers at $10 apiece carries great value and is our recommendation.

The Open site is famed Congressional, just 10 miles from our nation’s capitol – appropriate since our world reputation has been challenged by foreigners. International players have won the last four "majors" and Europeans are 1-2-3 in the world rankings.

So in betting this year’s Open, you first have to look toward Europe, South Africa, Australia or Asia to make it five straight. Here’s our breakdown of the 25 most likely to be the 2011 champion on Sunday.

EUROPE: (10)

Luke Donald (10-1): The current world’s No. 1, but needs a major to show he truly is.

Lee Westwood (10-1): So many times a bridesmaid, Westwood may be the safest pick in the field.

Rory McIlroy (15-1): The best of the young guns, who have taken the spotlight off Tiger.

Martin Kaymer (25-1): Masters champion and recent No. 1 who could reclaim that with a victory.

Graeme McDowell (25-1): The best player in golf at the end of last year and winner of a major.

Also: Ian Poulter (50-1), Padraig Harrington (60-1), Paul Casey (50-1), Alvaro Quiros (80-1), Justin Rose (60-1).

USA: (10)

Phil Mickelson (12-1): Congressional suits Lefty, but he’s no longer the best US golfer not named Tiger.

Steve Stricker (25-1): Rated the top American in the world rankings currently and best hope here.

Dustin Johnson (25-1): Like Westwood has knocked on the door of majors several times.

Ricky Fowler (60-1): Our answer to McIlroy as the best young player in the world.

Jim Furyk (50-1): Steady, consistent and the type of grinder that can lick Congressional.

Also: Stewart Cink (80-1), Hunter Mahan (25-1), Bubba Watson (40-1), Nick Watney (25-1), Matt Kuchar (25-1).

INTERNATIONAL (5)

Retief Goosen (50-1): Great odds for one of the steadiest golfers whose proven himself in majors.

Ernie Els (80-1): An incredible price for our favorite South African whose game has come alive.

Adam Scott (50-1): So close in the Masters, he also has found his game that was once top 5.

KJ Choi (30-1): Finally won a big one in the States at the Players and always in the hunt.

Jason Day (40-1): Also had a taste of the Masters title and best young Aussie.

LONG SHOTS: Here’s a few with great value for a small wager:

Anthony Kim (100-1); Zach Johnson (80-1); Sergio Garcia (50-1), Angel Cabrera (80-1); Ryan Moore (80-1), Lucas Glover (60-1), Y.E. Yang (100-1).