On Father’s Day weekend, golf’s second major will travel to the Pacific Northwest for the first time as the U.S. Open heads to Chambers Bay in Washington, an unorthodox course in a foreign location for most pros. Distance will be key and shot-making at a premium on the links style course. With that dynamic, Phil Mickelson will be a contender; but there are others suited to the course.
Who should we consider betting on? Let’s take a look. (Scroll to the bottom if you just want the numbers.)
Scouting Chambers Bay is a little bit like evaluating fourth-round NFL Draft prospects. There’s a certain amount of guesswork involved. The course presents a lot of new qualities to the U.S. Open: this is the first time the event is being played on a Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course; this will be the first time the tournament is using an all fescue turf venue; and no other Open has been played on a course where holes will change par day-to-day. (The 1st and 18th holes will rotate between par 4 and 5 and play at around 500 or 600 yards depending on their par for the day.
The venue is built on top of an old sand and gravel pit and, if that isn’t strange enough, there is just one tree on the course. (We assure you it’s in Washington, though.)
Made for Mickelson?
The 2010 U.S. Amateur was held at the course and, based on information from that tournament, what seems clear is that the course is very long and requires creativity. That describes Mickelson to a tee (no pun intended). As Phil has aged, he has embraced links golf. At 25/1, he is as good a bet as there is on the board, especially when you consider the motivation factor: Mickelson needs a U.S. Open title to complete the career Grand Slam.
Little Value in McIlroy and Spieth
Like they will be for the foreseeable future, Rory McIlroy (7/1) and Jordan Spieth (17/2) are the favorites. McIlroy’s game and experience on links courses would seem to be an excellent fit. Spieth played poorly at the U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay, but is an elite talent playing very well right now, and nobody would be surprised if he wins. Neither are very good value bets, though, due to the short odds.
The Best of the Rest
Dustin Johnson (22/1) leads the tour in driving, has started the year pretty well following a (tour mandated) layoff, was fourth at the U.S Open last year, and has been in the top-15 at the British Open four of the last five years.
At 28/1, Henrik Stenson peaks our interest. He was fourth at the U.S. Open last year, and has finished in the top three at the British Open three times in the past seven years, which tends to have courses that resemble Chambers Bay.
Bubba Watson (28/1) hits the tar out of the ball, has won majors, and is known for his shot-making, too. The two-time Masters winner is as likely as any to be in contention.
If you’re looking for a bigger payout, defending U.S. Open champ Martin Kaymer (45/1) is interesting because some say Chambers Bay is a bit like Whistling Straits, where Kaymer won the PGA Championship in 2010. If you’re really throwing darts, Peter Uihlein (200/1) won the U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay in 2010.
MTS’ 2015 U.S. Open Betting Picks:
- Rory McIlroy: 7/1
- Jordan Spieth: 17/2
- Dustin Johnson: 22/1
- Phil Mickelson: 25/1
- Henrik Stenson: 28/1
- Martin Kaymer: 45/1
- Bubba Watson: 28/1
- Peter Uihlein: 200/1
(Photo credit: ChrisHaysPhotography (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode].)