Golfers To Wager On For Toughest Test at Torrey Pines And 2021 U.S. Open
I add 'Golfers to Watch' as part of my coverage during many PGA Tour events, and at this week's U.S. Open. These are longer shots outside of the consensus favorites that are players to monitor and bet on as considerations for outright winners and better opportunities to finish top 5, 10, 20 or even top-30. Those prop bets and top finishing position options are just some of the offerings at leading online sportsbooks.
That includes William Hill, where 50-year-old recent PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson has taken the most bets. Mickelson is a six-time runner-up at the U.S. Open - the only major championship that has eluded him.
"He just won the PGA Championship and he’s back home, so he knows the course better than anyone...Tickets, it’s not even close, he’s got the most."— William Hill US (@WilliamHillUS) June 14, 2021
While Jon Rahm is the favorite, Phil Mickelson is getting lots of action for the U.S. Open.
Latest @WilliamHillNV odds & more ⬇️
It's so difficult to select outright winners each week, as the talent and players capable of winning and hitting the first page of the leaderboard runs deep on the PGA Tour. Not only did Mickelson win the PGA Championship at 200/1 odds or greater, but last week Chesson Hadley, ranked No. 320 in the world and 250/1 to win the Palmetto Championship event, blew a two-shot lead with three holes to go and finished tied for second. The winner was 50/1 longshot Gerrick Higgo, who was making just his second start on the PGA TOUR.
An unproven player is very unlikely to win golf's toughest test at the U.S. Open, and golf stats performance charts show more than 40 golfers in the field are making their first appearance at the U.S. Open. A majority of those players went through U.S. Open qualifying, which drew more than 8,600 players.
But in adding to this week's U.S. Open coverage through our research and chip-ins from other sources and data, here are some golfers to watch and other longshots and dark horses that fit some stat profiles and have been playing well leading into the toughest tournament and examination of golf skills on TOUR.
Remember, you can not only bet outright winners, but golfers to finish top-5, 10 or 20 at leading online sportsbooks like BetOnline. A look at top-10 finishing position, and Xander Schaffele is +175 for top-10 and +1600 to win the U.S. Open. Phil Mickelson is +600 top 10 vs +7000 to win the event at BetOnline, and +4500 at William Hill. Another reason to shop and bet the best odds, but I'm not betting on Mickelson to win or top-10.
Key Stats and Golfers to Watch
The combination of distance and accuracy makes golfers Off-the-Tee game a significant stat for the US Open at Torrey Pines. Driving distance is a major factor for the championship. Accuracy is almost always key at a US Open with more penalizing rough, and the wind can come into play more off the ocean. However, distance trumps accuracy significantly more at Torrey Pines.
Some key stats and strokes gained profiles to include and monitor in your handicapping and evaluation of golfers this week includes:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- SG: Tee-to-Green
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained Putting (Poa)
- Driving Distance
- Par 4 Efficiency
- Good Drives Gained
- Scrambling Gained
Some of the course layout for the 2021 US Open will include a little bit of graduated rough – intermediate, primary and secondary – mainly on the Par 4s, and three different heights.
Each of the last 5 winners came into the U.S. Open ranking Top 10 in Driving Distance.
The Top 10 golfers in driving distance over their last 36 rounds entering the U.S. Open are:
Key strokes gained categories for many PGA TOUR events include:
Off-the-Tee, Approach, Around the Green and Putting.
There are 10 players who enter the U.S. Open gaining strokes across each of those key categories over their last 5 events:
Si Woo Kim
From those 10 players, only Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry and Patrick Reed have also previously recorded a T10 finish at Torrey Pines.
I'll be adding more longshots to the betting portfolio, along with select tournament match-ups, which are now 17-6 this year if you're following along the posted picks each week.
Fairway's Foursome with Picks To Win and Top Finishing Position
Since most bettors wager to win on the leading favorites and contenders or add them to top finishing position bets, I'll chip-in Fairway's Foursome of Favorites this week for the 2021 U.S. Open. Only one of them is below 20/1 odds or in the top-9 of lowest-priced golfers. But all-four meet a key strokes gained and stats model to suggest we may have some major contenders in our foursome. Still, in many simulation models, all the golfers below have between a 2.5% to 6% chance to win, and a top-10 finish probability of 24-36%.
- Xander Schauffele
- Patrick Cantlay
- Tony Finau
- Viktor Hovland
Now add in proven performers and patience, mental toughness, U.S. Open success and you see Schauffele has finished a remarkable top-6 in each of the past four U.S. Opens. Hovland has a pair of top-15 finishes in his two U.S. Open starts. Finau has finished top-10 in nine of his last 13 majors including both this year, and top-10 in two of the past three U.S. Opens. Cantlay's best finish was T21 in the past three U.S. Opens and has made the cut in all three, and he's a proven West coast and Poa annua player.
I'll add a mulligan, because Fairway(Jay) doesn't always hit 'em tee-to-green and make birdie. The tournament favorite, Jon Rahm is a popular bet this week for the 2021 U.S. Open. He tied for 3rd at the 2019 U.S. Open and T23 last year. Rahm also fits stat profiles and a select model very well as he pursues his first major title, along with our foursome of 'Fairway Favorites'.
Enjoy the U.S. Open and your pursuit of profit as you shoot for more fairways and green$.
You can bet on it.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay