What to Expect from the US Open

What to Expect from the US Open

We’re just days away from the start of this year’s US Open, with the world’s best golfers making their way to Torrey Pines in San Diego to battle it out for the title. Competition is fierce for the trophy and $12.5 million prize sum this year, and for defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, there will be an uphill battle to lift the trophy for a second consecutive year.

The latest golf odds have DeChambeau as 14/1 favourite ahead of the start date on Thursday, June 17, on par with his longtime rival Brooks Koepka. With that feud heating up again and proving to be a distraction for various golf officials, with a recent tournament interrupted by fans heckling “Brooksy” at DeChambeau, it overshadows the recent achievements of golf’s leading scientist. 

Following his 2020 US Open win, where he became the only player to finish under par, he has racked up several major achievements. That win propelled him to number 5 on the world golf rankings, and he proved it was no fluke when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. 

He’s in the finest form of his career, and he’s now defending his first ever major tournament title. But going into this year’s Open, he’s an underdog in a very talented field.

The current bookies favourite to win is Jon Rahm at 10/1. However, in the past few weeks his life has taken on more twists and turns than the average soap opera, leading to him withdrawing from the PGA tour he was on track to triumph in.

Rahm is still down to participate in the Open from June 17, but his recovery from illness means that he’s in the unusual position of being both the clear favourite following his PGA performance, and an underdog with something to prove. It’s uncertain how this will affect his practice in the days leading up to the start of the Open, but one thing is for sure: there hasn’t been drama like this in the build up to the tournament in years. The world will be watching eagerly to see how Rahm responds after being forced to throw in the towel at the height of his powers just weeks before.

With 12/1, Dustin Johnson is currently the second favourite to triumph at this year’s Open. But the landscape is a lot different from his triumphant 2021 season, where he won his first Masters and was voted the PGA tour player of the year.

He’s currently in second place in the PGA rankings for this season, but his return to the Masters ended in disappointment, bogeying three of his final five holes at Augusta National to shoot 3-over 75, missing the cut by two shots. And this is far from the only sub-par performance this season; he’s gone without a top 10 in his last seven starts, although his recent Palmetto Championship performance had many agreeing he was gaining momentum again. Will this be enough going into the Open?

In joint third in the current odds with 14/1 is Brooks Koepka, making his return to the Open after sitting out last year’s tournament due to knee and hip issues. He’s had a shaky start, missing the cut at the Palmetto Championship after a 73 left him 3 over – but this poor performance shouldn’t cloud our judgement going into the Open.

Koepka is not only a two time winner in 2017 and 2018, he’s all the king of the golfing comeback. After missing the cut at Byron Nelson, he finished second a week later at the PGA Championship, showing that he’s much more comfortable at the major tournaments – something that he will be desperate to prove come Thursday.

As for the other players in contention, Jordan Spieth will be eager to continuing his unprecedented comeback story, after ending his four year drought with a win in the Valero Texas Open back in April. He fell from the 2nd best player in the world in 2017 to 93rd by the start of 2021 – but this win propelled him back to 23rd. We shouldn’t rule out a solid Open performance to solidify this incredible comeback story.

Similarly, Justin Thomas (a 16/1 favourite) will be eager to return to form after missing the cut at the PGA Championships earlier this year. And ten years since his last Open victory, many will be wondering whether Rory McIlroy will end his drought of major trophies – an April victory at the   Wells Fargo Championship suggests he’s in a strong position to do so. 

There is still a lot to play for heading into this week’s Open, and no matter what these odds may say, there is no clear victor in this hotly contended field. One thing is for certain though: we’ll be on the edge of our seats all weekend.

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