The biggest headline has been the rise of the controversial LIV Golf, which has swayed away some of the PGA Tour’s most prominent golfers with their gargantuan salaries. At last weekend’s Canadian Open, the PGA’s finest including Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, refused to stay silent about LIV Golf, taking subtle shots at press conferences and on Twitter.
Superstar golfers such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Bryson DeChambeau have all left PGA for LIV (whose CEO is famous ex-golfer Greg Norman); initially, the LIV members were to be banned for the forthcoming event. But, earlier this week, that was overturned as both PGA and LIV golfers will go head-to-head in this year’s tournament.
Aside from the LIV vs PGA storyline, the US Open follows the PGA Championship major last month which was undoubtedly one of the best majors in recent history. A thrilling last day finished with Chilean golfer Mito Periera having his lead slip away in a devastating fashion, leading to an overtime battle between two tour favorites Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris. Thomas would emerge the champion, winning the playoff 11-8, and securing his second PGA Championship.
“JT” will look to keep his strong play going this weekend in Brookline. His odds are currently at +1200 after his massive win in Tulsa and a third-place finish at last weekend’s Canadian Open. While winning back-to-back majors rarely happens, Thomas seems to be on top of his game right now.
The only person with better odds than Thomas is the Canadian Open winner himself: Rory McIlroy. McIlroy is currently at +1000 after the big win and has had strong showings at the last two majors. At The Masters, McIlroy was exceptional the last two days after a mediocre start, ultimately finishing in second place with a -7 score.
In Tulsa, he started strong, but this time had an opposite result, slipping on the final two days, eventually finishing eighth. Rory will hope to take the first half of his PGA Championship performance, the second half of his Masters performance, and ride off the success of the Canadian Open to win his fifth major.
Then there’s Jon Rahm (+1500) — the world’s number two golfer is coming in as the defending US Open champ and after some poor performances at the last two majors, he’ll look to have a strong showing to defend his crown. Staying on the subject of top-ranked golfers, the world number one Scottie Scheffler (+1500), will look to bounce back after a disappointing PGA Championship.
Top US Open Pick: Scottie Scheffler (+1500)
Despite that poor finish, Scheffler has already had a season most golfers dream of. He won The Masters in April and has been the top-ranked golfer for some time. Still, with so much hype around Scheffler as one of the sport’s next greats, he’ll want to show he can consistently win titles.
Another popular pick has been Zalatoris, who as previously mentioned, lost a close call to Thomas in the PGA Championship. He’s getting a lot of love from the experts, but that may strictly be because of being a fan-favorite and his recent run of success. Still he’s not a bad pick at +2700.
Two more sneaky picks I like here are Shane Lowry (+3000) and Xander Schauffele (+2100). Lowry, while ranked 24th in the world, has been playing some of the best golf of his life. He had an impressive third place finish at The Masters and has placed high in other tournaments this year. Being an Irish native, you better believe Lowry will be a fan favorite in the heavily Irish Massachusetts area.
US Open Dark Horse Pick: Shane Lowry (+3000)
That extra love may get him his second major after he won the 2019 Open Championship. Schauffele, on the other hand, has never held a major trophy. But, he’s had numerous top three finishes, and has never finished lower than seventh in his five US Opens. It feels like he’s someone you constantly see atop the leaderboards, but has never quite had enough to make the final push. Eventually, one has to go your way, so Schauffele’s time could be now.
As with most majors, picking a champ is always tough. The men above, have been talked about the most, but there’s always the possibility some one way under the radar has a great day on the course. Remember, that almost just happened with Mito Periera in Tulsa. There’s also always that possibility that one of the LIV golfers could go into complete villain mode and steal the US Open (2020 winner Bryson DeChambeau anyone?).
As hard as it can be to pick, I’ll throw two names out there that I like. I’ll go with Lowry as a safe dark horse pick at (+3000) and for the guys with the five best odds, I’ll take Scheffler at (+1500) to prove he’s truly the sport’s best right now.
US Open Long Shot Pick: Bryson DeChambeau (+12000)
*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.