It goes without saying that Jordan Spieth and Jason Day will be the obvious favourites due to their putting, they average 27.5 and 27.9 with the shortest stick in the bag this season.
Players have been posting about the incomparable pace of the Oakmont greens, so you have to say this will affect Rory McIlroy’s chances. He loses an average of 6 putts to Spieth per tournament and I don’t think his ball striking alone will get him out of jail. As Arnold Palmer once said, you can hit 72 greens in regulation and still not win at Oakmont.
5. Phil Mickelson (25/1)
The 46-year-old has finished second on six occasions at the U.S. Open. He is in the top 10 for total putts per round this season and his short game requires no introduction. Graeme McDowell was convinced that a player’s ability to pitch from the thick rough will determine their position on Sunday. Phil hasn’t won since 2013, but his 2nd place finish in Memphis last week has to make him a favourite at Oakmont. His swing has found some consistency following a complete overhaul in the off season, I really fancy lefty for the win.
4. Danny Willett (35/1)
Crazy that the world number nine has such high odds. He’s first in the Race to Dubai (Europe’s equivalent of the FedEx Cup) and his putting was resilient on Augusta’s challenging greens. No idea why the American media pay him no respect, probably still butthurt about how he got his first green jacket.
Anyone who’s a true golf fan knows you don’t win the Masters because of someone else. This is where my money’s going.
3. Patrick Reed (40/1)
How long can he go without an reward for his consistent form? He has nine Top-10 finishes in his last seventeen starts, the game to perform in tough conditions and he’s one of the fiercest competitors on the PGA Tour. He’s first for strokes gained around the green and fourth in scrambling, both important traits when you consider the thick rough.
2. Russell Knox (90/1)
You don’t get to fourth in the FedEx Cup standings by sitting on your hands all season. He missed the cut at the Masters, but has finished T2 at the RBC Heritage since then. Again, his lack of distance off the tee shouldn’t be a problem at Oakmont. Jordan Spieth commented on the premium of accuracy over length, suggesting that sluggers like DJ and Bubba won’t have their normal advantage. Knox is in top ten for driving accuracy, he’s basically an in form Zach Johnson.
1. Retief Goosen (175/1)
U.S. Open Championship, check. Phenomenal putter, check. Awesome odds for a flutter, check.
Retief has been quietly trucking along all season. He’s made the cut in all but one of his last 12 tournaments and has gone T14, T12, T12 in his last three starts. His putting is hot shit. He makes plenty of top ten lists, including one I really like, three putt avoidance. He’s my ultimate sleeper for Oakmont. He’s already done it before and to think the U.S. Open has a habit of throwing up outsiders (a la Angel Cabrera).