US Open Top 30 Golfers BRKDWN

Mark Diana
Golf Analyst

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The third major of the year is upon us! The PGA Tour travels to La Jolla, California to Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open. Torrey Pines is host to the Farmers Insurance Open where Patrick Reed claimed victory back in January. The U.S. Open is set up by the USGA, which means we can expect tough scoring conditions and an absolute beast of a course in Torrey Pines. Torrey Pines will play as a Par 71, and measure over 7,600 yards. The course features kikuyu grass which is a unique, stickier grass that is more common in Australia. The Poa Annua greens are notoriously difficult to putt on, with Torrey Pines yielding some of the most missed short putts each season. 

If you are looking for trends amongst former U.S. Open winners you can find some on this spreadsheet I built here!

Each of the last 10 winners of the U.S. Open was ranked inside the OWGR Top 30, so let’s talk about every golfer in the Top 30!

OWGR Top 30 + Betting Odds

1. Dustin Johnson 14-1

The world’s number one golfer has not done much since winning the Masters back in November. A good showing last week at the Palmetto Championship is an encouraging sign that maybe DJ’s game is back. Johnson has missed consecutive cuts at Major Championships so I expect him to be highly motivated. I’m not a fan of betting odds this short, but I feel like DJ is flying a little under the radar. 

2. Justin Thomas 20-1

The last time Justin Thomas reached the 20 range, he went out and won the Players Championship. It has been a tumultuous season for JT, and he hasn’t been his dominant self. The good thing is that his ball-striking has been exceptional as usual. However, Thomas has been bleeding strokes on the greens with his putter, so this might be a “buy-low” spot on one of the best golfers in the world. 

3. Jon Rahm 10-1

Rahm faced the unfortunate situation at the Memorial Tournament where he would’ve won the event easily if he didn’t have to withdraw due to a positive COVID test. Rahm has been in self-isolation for the last two weeks so it’s hard to know how much access he has had to golfing facilities. Rahm has never won a Major, which is bound to change sometime soon, but 10-1 is too short for me. If you’re a believer in the revenge narrative then Rahm is your guy. 

4. Collin Morikawa 20-1

The last time we saw Morikawa, he lost in a playoff to Patrick Cantlay at the Memorial. Morikawa is a pristine ball-striker and his accuracy off-the-tee should give him an advantage over the field. Morikawa’s weakness is his putter, but he has the volatility and upside to get hot with the flatstick for a few days. Morikawa has already won a Major, and is a proven winner. At this range I would prefer Justin Thomas, but if this number drifts upwards I could be happily talked into a Morikawa bet. 

5. Bryson DeChambeau 16-1

The defending U.S. Open champion has found himself embroiled in a social media feud with Brooks Koepka which might be too much of a distraction for Bryson. The blueprint for DeChambeau is playing on a long course with narrow fairways, and thich rough. Hypothetically, this is a perfect course set-up for DeChambeau but his recent wedge game is a bit concerning for me. Over his last 16 rounds, DeChambeau has lost .17 strokes per round on Approach which immediately takes him out of consideration for me. 

6. Xander Schauffele 18-1

Schauffele is a Top 10 machine at U.S. Opens. In his career, he has played in  four U.S. Opens and has never finished worse than sixth place. Xander’s high finishes at these tough courses is a testament to his all-around game. Schauffele is one of the most balanced golfers on Tour, with both ball-striking and short-game abilities. Schauffele has not been able to seal the deal recently, going winless in over two years. 

7. Patrick Cantlay 25-1

Cantlay snapped out of his dry spell in a big way by winning the Memorial Tournament. Cantlay is a California kid, who’s most recent struggles were all on the East Coast. Earlier this season, during the California swing, Cantlay played in three events with finishes of second place, third place, and 15th place. Cantlay is a Tee-to-Green machine and avoids bogeys, a combination that should translate well this week.

8. Patrick Reed 29-1

Reed returns to the site of his only 2021 victory. Back in January, Reed blew past the field, winning at Torrey Pines by five strokes. Of course, Reed’s victory was surrounded by a bit of controversy after he sought relief AFTER already moving his ball. Regardless, Reed won by a handful of strokes because of his mastery around the green, where he seemingly made every single up-and-down. Torrey Pines will be set-up differently for the U.S. Open, but Reed tends to play his best golf against tough fields. I would like to see his number inch closer to 35-1 before getting involved. 

9. Tyrrell Hatton 41-1

Hatton catapulted up the Official World Golf Rankings following a splendid 2020 season where he won three times (twice on the Euro Tour) in a twelve month span. Hatton has had a relatively disappointing 2021 where he has not really contended at any event. Hatton flashed some form this past week at Palmetto, and the recently married Englishman seems to be trending in the right direction. Hatton’s 2021 season is filled with Top 25s, he just hasn’t had a spike week yet.

10. Brooks Koepka 16-1

A month ago, Brooks Koepka nearly won the PGA Championship with an injured knee. Koepka’s recent missed cut last week at Palmetto is not too concerning as he normally plays the week before a Major to get tuned up. However, Brooks has been struggling severely with his putter, losing strokes in two of his last three events. Not to mention, Koepka has been embracing plenty of off-course distractions with the Bryson feud, and his possible match against Dave Portnoy. I would never count Brooks out at a Major, but 16-1 does not interest me too much.

11. Rory McIlroy 18-1

Rory McIlroy was very candid about his early season struggles, where he admitted to losing his swing while attempting to gain more distance. McIlroy’s victory at Quail Hollow showed that Rory can still win, and win convincingly. However, I do not think we have seen Rory play his best golf in quite awhile. He has been spraying the ball off of the tee, and when his driver is right, his putter is not. The former U.S. Open Champion has left me wanting more and with so many other options in this price range, I have not really looked his way.

12. Webb Simpson 47-1

Webb Simpson is a former U.S.Open Champion, and he has made fifteen straight cuts in Major Championships. Simpson has been battling some injuries this season, but he has continued to play well. While some might argue that Torrey Pines is too long for Webb, it is worth noting that he ranks 25th in courses over 7,400 yards among golfers in this field. Webb makes up for his lack of distance with an excellent short game, and he is on my radar for an outright bet this week.

13. Viktor Hovland 29-1

Hovland finished runner-up at Torrey Pines back in January. Since that event, Hovland has worked on his short game, and his recent events have shown improvement in that category. Hovland is an excellent ball-striker and has had five finishes of T3 or better this season. Hovland finds himself in contention frequently because of his ability to make birdies. I really like Hovland’s consistency with his tee-to-green play. If he can find ways to get to the green in two shots, he will land at the top of another leaderboard.

14. Tony Finau 31-1

Tony Finau is another golfer who finished runner-up at Torrey Pines back in January. Finau was living on the first page of leaderboards for the first half of the season before falling into a bit of a slump. Finau’s missed cuts have been a result of his inconsistency with his flatstick. The 31-year-old has not won on the PGA Tour since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open despite having multiple chances at claiming victory. Finau’s inability to close might be less of a factor this week due to the nature of the event, With tough scoring conditions, it is less likely for another golfer to out-pace Finau. If Finau finds himself in one of the last groups on Sunday, I like his chances of being able to play clean golf and finally breakthrough.

15. Hideki Matsuyama 33-1

This year’s Masters winner has not played too much golf since his historic victory at Augusta in April. Matsuyama’s last outing was exactly what you would expect from Hideki. He lost ten strokes putting, while playing great from tee-to-green. Matsuyama has played well at these types of grind events because of his great ball-striking. The change of grass type to Poa Annua might be beneficial for Matsuyama because more players will be missing short putts along with him.

16. Daniel Berger 50-1

Daniel Berger has been one of the best golfers since golf resumed a year ago. Berger’s multiple victories since last June are a testament to his overall game. Berger has the skillset to compete in birdiefests while also remaining competitive when scoring is tougher to come by. Berger’s most recent victory came on Poa Annua greens at Pebble Beach. Berger was rather disappointing at the PGA Championship, and while scoring will be tough again at Torrey I think Berger fits this course better. If hitting the fairway becomes a premium, Berger will become more attractive especially at these odds.

17. Scottie Scheffler 45-1

Scottie Scheffler is one of the best, young talents on the PGA Tour. However, Scheffler has been unable to win an event, and seemingly collapses every time he gets close to a win. Scheffler has a great balance of distance, accuracy, and touch around-the-green. His style of golf should be a perfect fit for this course, but my biggest worry is his ability to win. Some of Scheffler’s best finishes this season have come at the Memorial Tournament, WGC Match Play, PGA Championship, and WGC Workday which shows that Scheffler can contend against the very best in the world and on some of the toughest courses the PGA Tour has to offer. 

18. Louis Oosthuizen 50-1

Oosthuizen has been automatic at Majors in recent years. I’ve probably bet Oosthuizen Top 30 in every Major that has been played since last year. Oosthuizen has finished inside the Top 30 in eleven of his past thirteen appearances at Majors. At these big events, Oosthuizen has been super consistent with his short game magic. The 38-year-old from South Africa tends to profile better for tough scoring events because of his ability to save par. Oosty’s ability to avoid bogeys makes him an attractive bet this week, but he is another golfer who I have questions about their ability to win. Oosthuizen has not won internationally since 2018, and his last PGA Tour win was in 2010.

19. Paul Casey 50-1

After a disappointing performance at the Masters, I swore off Paul Casey and said I would never bet him again. With that being said, Paul Casey was the first outright bet I placed this week. His elite ball-striking, and his ability to hang around leaderboards at tough events makes him such an attractive bet. I normally try to target volatile golfers for my outright card, because the upside can yield a victory. Casey has shown his upside, winning on the Euro Tour in January, and recording five Top 10 finishes in only 14 events this season. 

20. Matt Fitzpatrick 50-1

Matt Fitzpatrick has been one of the best Off-the-Tee players this season despite his lack of distance. Fitzpatrick does this by finding fairways and avoiding errant tee shots. The 26-year-old Englishman has been on the record saying he prefers golf courses that are harder. This allows him to think his way around the course more, and he believes he has a skillset that is best suited for grind events where par is a good score.

21. Abraham Ancer 66-1

Ancer is one of the most accurate drivers on the PGA Tour, ranking third in Driving Accuracy. The rough at Torrey Pines will be extremely penal, so finding the fairway is definitely an advantage. Along with his consistency off-the-tee, Ancer is one of the best Greens-in-Regulation players. The simplicity in Ancer’s game allows him to be well suited for any test of golf. With players struggling to save par, I expect Ancer’s stress-free approach to pay dividends for him this week. I don’t expect him to win by any means, but he is one of the safer players to look at for DFS cash games or Top Finishes.

22. Jason Kokrak 80-1

Jason Kokrak is coming off his second win of the season. Prior to this season, Kokrak had never won on the PGA Tour, but since breaking through at Shadow Creek he has been able to contend more frequently. The 35-year-old is one of the best putters on Tour and his volatility makes him a great outright bet. He has played well at tough courses this year such as Bay Hill, Riviera, TPC Sawgrass, and Concession. For such an elite putter, Kokrak is also a great ball-striker. These are great odds for one the hottest players on the PGA Tour, and I would target him in both DFS lineups and Top Finishing bets.

23. Billy Horschel 120-1

These are massive odds for the 22nd ranked player in the world, but he has also been one of the worst approach players. Bad iron play is never a recipe for success, and especially at a Major. Poor iron play could be saved with a strong short game, however Horschel is ranked 146th in Around-the-Green. The inconsistency from Horschel is too much for me to stomach even at these triple digit odds. 

24. Jordan Spieth 18-1

Good Jordan Spieth is back, and he’s here to stay. Spieth followed up his victory at the Valero Texas Open with a third place finish at the Masters. Spieth’s most recent event yielded a runner-up finish following a Sunday collapse. Spieth’s iron play has been resurgent this season, and his poor off-the-tee has gotten better. Additionally, Spieth’s misses off-the-tee will not be too detrimental because the narrower fairways will result in missed fairways for everyone. The combination of approach and short game should be a great combination this week and I expect another great week from the former #1 golfer in the world.

25. Harris English 80-1

Harris English had been MIA before putting together a great week at the Palmetto Championship. English is a streaky player and if he finds his form then he becomes an intriguing player to watch. English is better with his short game than his ball-striking but he isn’t necessarily bad in any category. English finished fourth in the U.S. Open last year, and the very least should be considered as a Top 40 bet.

26. Sungjae Im 66-1

Sungjae Im has been playing volatile golf, bouncing between Top 20 finishes and missed cuts. The poor play from Sungjae is a result of his missing ball-striking. Im is one of the better Off-the-Tee players because of his ability to live on the short grass and make birdies. Recently, Im has been spraying the ball Off-the-Tee and has struggled with his touch around-the-green. Torrey Pines will demand golfers to be complete and there are too many question marks surrounding Im’s game to convince me he can win.

27. Lee Westwood 125-1

The 48-year-old from Worksop, England has flashed some really good form this season. Westwood had consecutive runner-up finishes in Florida a few months ago and looked to be playing stress-free golf. Westwood seems to be in a very good mental headspace which has translated into success on the course. Westwood married his girlfriend/caddie last week, so a win this week would be quite the honeymoon.

28. Cameron Smith 50-1

Cameron Smith is a short game specialist who has contended at big money events this past year. Smith should be familiar with kikuyu grass considering he is from Brisbane, Australia where that grass type is more common. Smith’s inconsistency off-the-tee has led to some blow-up holes where Smith’s entire tournament is lost. If he can avoid the dreaded double, or triple bogey then Smith should be able to compete this week. Reed’s victory at Torrey Pines back in January shows that short game mastery can offset poor ball-striking on this course. 

29. Will Zalatoris 37-1

The 24-year-old PGA Tour rookie sprung into the spotlight last year with his debut event at the U.S. Open resulting in a T6 finish. Zalatoris has proven himself to be a force on the Tour, netting thirteen Top 25 finishes in only 20 events. Zalatoris is one of the best Tee-to-Green players on Tour and his pristine ball-striking has allowed him to contend on some of the toughest courses. The odds on him have really shifted from earlier this year, and if you missed out on the 66-1 that was there now might be too late to get your bet in.

30. Phil Mickelson 55-1

Phil Mickelson shockingly won the PGA Championship at Kiawah a month ago. Mickelson had everything working for him that week, which shows how volatile this game of golf truly is. However, Mickelson really has not been good this season outside of that historic win. Mickelson has lost strokes Off-the-Tee, Around-the-Green, Tee-to-Green, and Total Strokes. With his odds being completely sliced since his win, I have no interest in backing Mickelson in this spot.

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