As the world’s No. 1-ranked player it figures that Jason Day has the top odds for the U.S. Open, but Oakmont Country Club will play anything but straightforwardly.
The notoriously tough par-70 course in Plum, Pa., which is hosting the traditional second major of the PGA Tour season for a record ninth time, is often known to get into even the calmest players’ head.
Even by the standards of the U.S. Open, renowned as the toughest major to win, Oakmont is unforgiving for even the smallest bit of imprecision on a shot. Not surprisingly, the betting board is largely predicated on which players are among the Tour leaders in strong gains off the tee – iron play – and strokes gained around the green.
Day has top odds at +650 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, which reflects a belief that his game might hold up to Oakmont. The 28-year-old Australian leads the PGA in strokes gained putting, averaging 1.145 per round. However, the large, sloping greens at Oakmont could be a great equalizer between the top-ranked putters and the above-average putters who have a peak performance.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who is listed at +750, is one of the most aggressive golfers in the world. In any sport, it’s tough to win without using the strategy one knows most.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth, who is listed at +850, was not even born in 1989 when Curtis Strange became the last repeat champion. Spieth seems destined to win multiple majors in his career, but winning back-to-back will be daunting.
Adam Scott, who is listed at +3000, leads the PGA in strokes gained approaching the green. Both Dustin Johnson (+1200) and Justin Rose (+2800) are in the PGA’s top 12 in that statistical category. Rickie Fowler (+2800) has been inconsistent in recent tournaments, but is a past Open runner-up and is overdue for a bounce-back in his short game.
Phil Mickelson, who has been the Open runner-up six times, is listed at +2800. It’s tough to picture Mickelson winning at Oakmont, which is all about discipline.
The last seven Opens have been captured by a first-time winner. Sleeper pick Daniel Berger, the 23-year-old who won the FedEx St. Jude Classic last weekend while many players took the week off to get ready for Oakmont, is listed at +6600. Berger has three top-10 finishes in his last seven events.