The narrative for the U.S. Open will probably be, “Can anybody beat Dustin Johnson?” The reality is that Dustin Johnson was beaten in the TOUR Championship, but his 10-under head start was enough to hold off guys like Xander Schauffele and Scottie Scheffler.
Unfortunately Scheffler, who may have made the card this week, tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be on hand at Winged Foot for the U.S. Open. Talk about bad timing, as a $12.5 million prize pool awaits and the winner will take home $2.25 million.
Johnson is the +800 as we look at the odds from BetMGM Sportsbook. He’s followed by Jon Rahm at +1000, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy at +1400, Schauffele at +1600, and then Collin Morikawa at +1800. As is the case with any major or top-tier event, there are a ton of great players spread across the 20/1 to 80/1 price range for this weekend.
Winged Foot is going to be a bear of a course. This is a par 70 that checks in over 7,450 yards. A 2017 redesign makes the course different from what we saw back in 2006 when Geoff Ogilvy won at 5-over par, but a winning score in that range would not be a total surprise with rough that is said to be a foot or more in length.
You really have to pick and choose carefully with your players this week. This is a long par 70, which means only two par 5s and it also means that the biggest hitters should, in theory, get an advantage. However, with extremely penal rough, sacrificing distance for accuracy could really benefit certain players. We’ll see some very high scores this weekend and par will be a good score on most of these holes.
With that in mind, we look at players that can minimize damage the best for one reason or another. Guys that hit fairways. Guys that make putts on some of the hardest greens in the United States. Guys that can recover and scramble well. You have to be a really special player to win this week and that’s why long shots will be not our focus.
My favorite pick this week is Tommy Fleetwood at +3500. Fleetwood checks all of the boxes for me. He’s a quality putter that finished 26th in strokes gained putting last season. He hit over 61% of fairways and was 16th in percentage of yardage covered off the tee, which means that he can and will shorten some of these holes. Fleetwood isn’t as long as some of the others, but he has a better chance at playing from the short grass, but still has enough distance to get some greens in regulation.
Another European player I have my eye on is Matthew Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick isn’t as big of a hitter as Fleetwood or guys like DeChambeau or Matthew Wolff, but he hits a lot of fairways and was an exceptional putter last season. He was 41st in driving accuracy and second in SG: Putting. At +5000, he isn’t a bad price at all. He does have to get over the hump in a big tournament to win, but he checks a lot of boxes.
Lastly, among the outright considerations, Kevin Kisner is +9000 and a really strong putter. In fact, Kisner is regularly one of the top putters on the PGA Tour. These greens will be a very stiff challenge for the players and it will be hard to get the pace. Kisner just has a tremendous feel for putting. As long as he can get to the green in regulation, he’s got a chance to drop some birdie putts. He is a long shot at 90/1, but that’s as far as I’d be willing to go. There are too many elite players in a field like this to overcome, especially on this dastardly of a course.
As always, the best way to attack this event could simply be looking at some of the matchups or props that are out there. Somebody like Jason Kokrak to finish in the top 10 at +750, as Kokrak is a bomber that can really shorten this course as well. Kisner, for what it’s worth, is +700 in that department.
More matchups will be posted as we get to Thursday, but Fitzpatrick is -106 in a matchup against Adam Scott, who checks in at -134. Even if you don’t like the 50/1 shot on Fitzpatrick, he looks like a good bet here at -106.
Tony Finau at -112 in a head-to-head with Hideki Matsuyama also looks like a good play, as both guys can hit it long, but Matsuyama is an awful putter and these greens will be feisty, fast, and firm, and probably some other “f” words from the players.
BetMGM Sportsbook is a good place to bet on golf and you can sign up through us here at ATS and get up to $500 in risk-free bets, so take care of that little item of business and then enjoy the U.S. Open, which will be on Golf Channel and NBC throughout the tournament.