The US Open has arrived. And it heads back to one of its oldest roots.
The third major tournament of the 2021-22 PGA Tour season, the US Open returns to The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, for the first time since 1988 and 109 years after making its first appearance at the historic golf club.
More than any other golf major, the US Open asks for the technical best from contenders: Accurate driving, spot-on scrambling, precise putting. Which golfer can put all those pieces together this week? Which player gives you enough confidence to place a legal sports bet on his performance?
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How US Open betting field looks heading into weekend
After dominating the RBC Canadian Open, Rory McIlroy has the honor of being favored by most NY online sportsbooks. That’s ahead of Justin Thomas, reigning US Open champion Jon Rahm and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler.
Stands to reason. McIlroy has two wins this season and comes off an immaculate tournament in Toronto, in which he fired a near-career-best 62 in the final round. He’s a four-time major winner seemingly overdue to return to champion status with his last victory coming in 2014.
Plus, this year, he was runner-up at the Masters and took eighth at the PGA Championship, part of his run of placing in the top 10 three times in the past four majors.
Then again, the last time McIlroy won back-to-back tournaments came in 2014, and he’s only done it one other time (2012). And while his driving distance ranks third on the Tour, his accuracy — a premium at the US Open — sits at just 59.8%, 112th on tour and a far cry from the 73.8% clip boasted by Ryan Armour.
What about Scottie Scheffler?
Certainly Thomas and Rahm will attract ample betting action. But Scheffler could also make a run at the title. He’s posted four wins already this season, most on tour, and recorded four other top-five finishes.
Since winning the Masters in April, he has slumped a tad by his standards, tying for 18th and 15th over the next two tournaments before missing the cut entirely at the PGA Championship. He does come off an 18th-place tie at the RBC, but the week prior, he took second after losing in a playoff.
He’s placed in the top 10 in each of the past four major tournaments and his green-in-regulation rate (71.4%) is second on tour behind only Rahm.
Best bet: Cut score over 145.5
As with any golf tournament, for the most part, locking down an outright winner is extremely difficult. Especially when you consider the following:
- Since 2016, in 25 tournaments, a first-time major champion emerged 16 times.
- Each of the past three US Open winners was a first-time major champ.
- That also extends to five of the past six and nine of the last 13 US Open winners.
Sure, that theoretically narrows the favorites at DraftKings down to four players: Cantlay, Schauffele, Smith and Zalatoris. But what about the rest of the US Open field? Anything can happen.
What has been most consistent about any US Open, though, is the high scoring. Courses lobbying to host the tournament make all kinds of renovations to grab attention. That includes high-cut and thick rough, tight fairways and undulating greens that would make any average golfer’s knees tremble.
Over the past 10 years, the average score-to-par for the Masters sits at nearly 4-over. That tops the PGA Championship (just shy of 3-over) and the Open Championship (3-over). The US Open, though? An average cut score of 146.1, equating to a to-par average of more than 5-over.
Heading into the tournament, DraftKings set the cut score at over 145.5 (+100), under 144.5 (+225) or exactly 145 (+225). With The Country Club as a par-71 course, that means any golfer shooting 4-over or worse would miss the final two days of US Open action. Seems about on par.