PGA Tour Picks: US Open Golf Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
I generally don't pick a player to win a tournament that he's playing for the first time simply because he probably doesn't know the course all that well. Only so much you can learn from a practice round or two.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy is playing more on the PGA Tour this season than years past for reasons I won't bore you with, but because of that he added the Canadian Open to his 2019 schedule for the first time. Smart move as McIlroy shot a final-round 61 on Sunday - he had a legitimate shot at a 59 -- at Hamilton Golf & Country Club to win his first PGA Tour event of the season and by a whopping seven shots over a good field. The seven-shot margin of victory was the largest at the Canadian Open since 1952 and was McIlroy's fourth win overall since 2010 by at least seven shots on the PGA Tour. No other players have more than one.
The 61 was a tournament record (so was the 22-undeer 258) and tied Rory's best pro round. He started Sunday in a three-way tie for first but birdied five of his first seven holes, and that was largely that. It was McIlroy's fifth win in a national open, following the U.S. Open (2011), Australian Open (2013), British Open (2014) and Irish Open (2016).
It's often a bad, bad thing to win the week before a major championship because it's so rare to go back-to-back that way. In fact, the last player to win a major the week after a PGA Tour victory was McIlroy at the 2014 PGA Championship. It was a great week in Canada for players from Northern Ireland as Graeme McDowell had to be one of the top three finishers not already qualified for the British Open to earn entry into that tournament. It was doubly important for McDowell because it's being played in Northern Ireland at Royal Portrush for the first time in 1951. McDowell accomplished that goal with a T8.
No Canadian has won his national championship since Pat Fletcher in 1954. It looked for a while like Adam Hadwin might end that drought after he opened 65-66, but Hadwin went 67-70 on the weekend to finish T8 and as the top Canadian. We did get McIlroy for a Top 10, but our winning pick was Matt Kuchar. He finished tied for fourth, nine shots back of McIlroy.
So, now the world's best players head to one of the world's most picturesque courses and maybe the No. 1 public course in the United States: Pebble Beach Golf Links for the U.S. Open, now the third major on the Tour schedule instead of the second. The U.S. Open is usually survival of the fittest as the USGA likes to trick up the course to incredibly difficult conditions. Pebble is a par 71 measuring 7,075 yards.
This is the sixth time Pebble has hosted the U.S. Open and in its 100 th year of existence. It last did in 2010 and McDowell won at even par. Dustin Johnson led by three entering Sunday that year but imploded. Pebble also hosted in 2000, and Tiger Woods put on maybe the most dominant performance in major golf history by finishing at 12-under, a whopping 15 shots clear of the field. That's a record margin of victory in a major.
While Tiger will get all the hype, arguably the biggest story line this week is Phil Mickelson as he attempts to complete the career Grand Slam. He has finished second in this tournament a crazy six times. He was last a runner-up in 2013 at Merion and was fourth at Pebble nine years ago. Lefty won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am back in February, but keep in mind that two other courses are part of that tournament in the first three rounds (players play all three in whichever order the first three days, then there's a cut and the final round is at Pebble). It was Mickelson's fifth win in that event. He's +4000 at Bovada this week.
Keep in mind that the U.S. Open playoff is no longer an 18-hole Monday affair but a two-hole aggregate after Sunday's final round (assuming there's light).
Golf Odds: U.S. Open Favorites
McIlroy, Johnson and Brooks Koepka are each +800 favorites at Bovada. Johnson has won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am twice, and his only major title was at the 2016 U.S. Open. He was third last year at Shinnecock and 20 th last week in Canada. Koepka didn't play great last week with a 50th-place finish but his mind surely was on Pebble Beach. He's looking to become just the second player to win the U.S. Open three straight years, joining Scotland's Willie Anderson from 1903-05. Koepka was too young to have played in the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble.
McIlroy won the 2011 U.S. Open in record fashion at Congressional. He missed the cut the year before at Pebble and has missed the cut the past three years in this tournament. Tiger is +1100 to win record-tying fourth U.S. Open and first since 2008 down the California coast at Torrey Pines. Tiger has one victory in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay are both +2000. Spieth won the 2015 U.S. Open but missed the cut last year. Cantlay looks for his first major title but comes off a victory two weeks ago at the Memorial.
Golf Odds: U.S. Open Picks
Tons of props available as one would expect, including matchups from just about every country. For a Top 10, I like Johnson (-110), Cantlay (+175) and Brandt Snedeker (+350). Go Tommy Fleetwood (+900) as top European as he has been Top 5 the past two U.S. Opens. I'll take DJ as a hedge at +600 as top American even though you will see he's not my pick to win.
Go Cantlay (-115) over Spieth (-115), Johnson (-155) over Koepka (+120), Fleetwood (-130) over Kuchar (even), and McIlroy (-115) over Tiger (+120). You can bet Johnson, McIlroy, Koepka and Woods at +150 against the field (-200), and I like the field there.
While I am rooting for Mickelson to win, I'm going with Snedeker at +5000. He has won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am twice, was eighth at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble and comes off a very solid fourth-place finish last week.
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