It’s US Open week! This year the USGA has selected Erin Hills as the location of the US Open. It’s an American links style course that plays extremely long. The fairways are wide so players are able to really attack their drives, but it will be the long approach shots that really dictate who will come away from this event as the 2017 US Open champion.
Dustin Johnson is the favourite, but Day, McIlroy, Spieth and Rahm are all right there with fairly short odds as well. The wind could be a factor this week, but at the moment it doesn’t look like it will be that gusty. There could be some showers though and a wet course will play even longer, so length could really play a factor. It’s also such a long and hilly course that players need to be in peak physical shape to maintain their form while walking the length. You’ll notice that I’m focused on fit players for my picks below.
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Dustin Johnson 8.50 @ Bet365.com
The missed cut at the Memorial has raised some questions about DJ and likely lengthened his odds here by a small amount. I’m not worried about that missed cut because Erin Hills is an extremely different course than Muirfield Village. DJ’s length should be a big factor at Erin Hills and his fitness should allow him to easily walk the long length of the course while staying focused and not losing a step. I also think that DJ’s putting is very underrated and on these fairly flat and pristine greens he should be able to roll in some long putts.
DJ has always performed well at US Open’s and I think he has a great chance to defend his title this year.
Jon Rahm 20/1 @ Bet365.com
Rahm is a similar player to DJ in that he has the length on the tee to keep the approach shots manageable on this long course, while also having the putting ability to knock down some putts if he can put the approaches on the green. The question with Rahm will be whether he can remain focused for the entire four rounds because we saw how he got rattled by some fans while missing the cut at the Memorial a couple weeks back. But like I said with DJ, I’m not factoring in that missed cut too much with this pick.
The fact that the majority of players have not played Erin Hills before should also help the PGA Tour rookie because he won’t be at a disadvantage in terms of familiarity with the course, which is usually the case for the normal stops on the PGA Tour.
Sergio Garcia 25/1 @ Bet365.com
Sergio has the second best strokes gained off the tee, next to only Dustin Johnson over the past 12 weeks and is also performing exceptionally well tee to green, gaining 6.7 strokes on the field over his last four events. I think getting the monkey off his back winning the Masters will only help him this week at Erin Hills. Sergio has continued to play solid golf since his Masters win with 30th or better finishes in his 3 tournaments since. Sergio’s driving accuracy should enable him to avoid many of the fairway bunkers and his approaches should give him a lot of birdie looks this week.
Brandt Snedeker 110/1 @ Bet365.com
Snedeker is a guy who doesn’t really have the stats that fit this course, but I still think these odds are far too long for a player who has 4 T11 or better finishes over the past 7 US Open’s. If he can keep the ball in the middle of the fairway and put some longer approach shots on the green, his putting could be the difference this week on some very clean greens that great putters can take advantage of.
Gary Woodland 160/1 @ Bet365.com
Woodland is another guy who’s odds really jumped out at me as being far too long. Woodland has the length off the tee to really shorten some of these holes and when he’s on his game he can compete with the best in the world. Woodland seems to be finding his game after poor showings at the Masters and Players Championship, and if he brings his A-game this week he is a great value at 160/1.
He’s also widely considered the fittest player on Tour, which could be a factor on this long, hilly course that is a fitness test for the players this week.
Jordan Niebrugge 300/1 @ Bet365.com
Taking Niebrugge is a bit of a trip down narrative street. He’s a Wisconsin native who lived 30 minutes from the course. He qualified for the US Open out of sectionals and is playing some solid golf of late. Niebrugge also finished 4th at the Erin Hills Intercollegiate tournament last year, so he has the familiarity with the course and knows how to go low out there. Add in the fact that he’s 23 years old, a very long hitter and looks to be in exceptional shape and he checks all the boxes of a dark horse here this week.
Even if he comes top 6, his each-way bet will pay out 75/1 at Bet365, which is value in my eyes.