For years, we have become accustomed to seeing the name of Tiger Woods at the top of the betting market for every golfing major, although the 14-time major winner won’t be in attendance at the Congressional Club this week.
Injury prevents the 35-year-old from trying to land a fourth US Open title, although Woods was not favourite before his withdrawal and there is the novel sight of two European golfers heading the outright market, with Lee Westwood (14/1 Ladbrokes – £30 free bet) and Luke Donald (14/1 Paddy Power – £100 free betting offer) ready to take centre stage.
Neither man has yet won a major title, although both have been world ranked number one this year and they were the two players contesting a play-off at the recent BMW tournament at Wentworth, with Donald eventually triumphing.
Indeed, the chances of a first-time winner of the US Open are pretty strong when you consider that Phil Mickelson has never won this title, with the Californian having finished second an incredible five times. Coral offer 16/1 about Lefty claiming the spoils although he’s gone off the boil since winning the Shell Open in April.
Available at bigger prices are a handful of Americans with stronger claims than Mickelson and they include Dustin Johnson, who is striking the ball very well at the moment and can be backed at odds of 30/1 with Coral. Johnson was leading the 2010 US Open by three shots after three rounds before capitulating at Pebble Beach and that experience will stand him in good stead.
Johnson is not the only youngster to crack under the pressure in a recent Major and Rory McIlroy’s battle scars from the 2011 Masters are still fresh after the northern Irishman went to pieces after being strong favourite to be adorning the green jacket. There is little doubt that the 22-year-old has the all-round game to win at Congressional and Sportingbet (£25 free bets) have best odds of 22/1 about him.
McIlroy’s Ryder Cup playing partner Graeme McDowell will be hoping to defend his title after triumphing twelve months ago although G-Mac’s form does not suggest that retaining the crown is on the cards. His odds have taken a walk in the market and Ladbrokes now offer 50/1 that he makes it two US Opens on the bounce.
Naturally, the bookmakers are expecting plenty of business this week and that explains why several are offering each-way terms of ¼ odds for the first six places. This includes bet365, Paddy Power and Betfred, while we might even see one or two operators go seven places.
In addition, Victor Chandler will pay out any selection as a winner if they score a hole-in-one which has seen this firm pay out at massive prices all year round, while it is also worth checking out Betfred’s enhanced win only market if you plan to gamble on the nose.