US Open Odds and Free Picks: Top European Players Props
by Alan Matthews - 6/14/2011
In my opinion, this year’s US Open that begins at Congressional outside Washington, D.C., on Thursday has two main storylines: whether Phil Mickelson can finally win America’s national championship after a record number of runner-up finishes and whether a non-American wins a fifth major championship in a row.
I will look at the top American hopes in a second preview story for the US Open. Here let’s look at some props involving the main European threats, specifically the top three players in the world, England’s Luke Donald and Lee Westwood and Germany’s Martin Kaymer, as well as defending US Open champion Graeme McDowell and Masters hard-luck youngster Rory McIlroy, with both those players from Northern Ireland.
First off, let’s look at the Bodog prop on whether a European will take the US Open. It is the +160 second-choice behind an American at -110. The US Open is rarely won by European players. Let’s go back to 1997, the last time the US Open was at Congressional and was won by South African Ernie Els. Only one European has taken this tournament since then: McDowell last year. Of course, all those Europeans don’t have to worry about Tiger Woods this season as he has won it three times since ’97. The only other non-Americans to win since then are Retief Goosen twice (South Africa), Michael Campbell and Geoff Ogilvy (New Zealand and Australia, respectively) and Angel Cabrera (Argentina). After the USA and Europe winning this year’s tournament you have the rest of the world at +800 and Australasia at +1100. That Australasia option looks good to me with the way Adam Scott and Jason Day are playing, plus you get the likes of Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley.
Don’t bother betting on McDowell at 45/1 to repeat. No golfer has repeated at this tournament since Curtis Strange in the late 1980s. Before that you have to go all the way back to Ben Hogan in 1950 and 1951. McDowell hasn’t won since. He did lead the Players’ Championship after 54 holes and was out in the last group, too, in the third round at the Wales Open, but he blew up at both tournaments. He has missed the cut in three of his past five PGA Tour tournaments.
It would almost be nice to see McIlroy win this week after his epic final-round 80 at the Masters. But he shot 10-over at the US Open last year and missed the cut after a T10 the year before. McIlroy was in contention somewhat at the Memorial a few weeks ago and finished fifth. That was one of only two tournaments he has played in the States since Augusta. McIlroy is 16/1 to win this week and the third favorite at 13/2 to be the top European. He is +330 to miss the cut again.
Kaymer was the best player in golf starting from last year’s PGA Championship, which he won, to February’s WGC-Match Play, where he reached the final and took over the No. 1 ranking. But he hasn’t really been in contention in a stroke play tournament since then, including missing the cut at the Masters. But maybe he can cap one of the best weeks in German sports history by following Dirk Nowitzki as a champion. Kaymer is 25/1 to win and 10/1 to be top European.
Donald has been unbelievably consistent and clearly deserves to hold the world’s top ranking. He has recorded an unfathomable 10 consecutive Top-10 finishes since missing the cut at the Northern Trust Open in February – and that includes wins at the WGC-Match Play and the top non-major event on the Euro Tour, the BMW PGA Championship. I’m not sure why Donald isn’t the favorite to win this week; at 12/1 he’s just behind Westwood. Donald’s record at the US Open isn’t good, however, with zero Top-10 finishes in seven tries. His odds to get a Top 10 this week are +115, with ‘no’ at -150. Jump on the ‘yes’.
Finally there is Westwood, who as mentioned above is the current favorite to win. You can get Westwood, arguably the best active player not to yet win a major, unless Donald has caught him there, at +110 to finish 10th or better on his finishing position. Take that price over the even-money option that he finishes in the Top 10.
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