Dustin Johnson has top odds on the 2017 U.S. Open champion board for many reasons, not the least of which is that Erin Mills is an atypical setting for the second major on the golf calendar.
Johnson is listed at +750 to win the tournament according to a consensus of sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Johnson is the defending champion and, of course, leads the PGA Tour in average driving distance (312.1 yards). Normally that’s a lesser factor in the U.S. Open, but the course in Wisconsin offers one of the longest layouts (7,693 yards) ever used in the event, as well as some very wide fairways. It will be the first par-72 test at the Open since 1992.
The top of the board also includes past champions Rory McIlroy (+1200) and Jordan Spieth (+1200), along with Jason Day (+1400), Jon Rahm (+2000), Rickie Fowler (+2000), Masters champion Sergio Garcia (+2200) and Justin Rose (+2200).
Johnson took last week to get ready for the Open and missed the cut in his previous outing, but he was 13th or better three tournaments in a row since returning from the infamous back injury that kept him from playing in the Masters. If he’s 100 per cent, Johnson certainly is capable of winning. For what it might be worth, no champion has repeated since 1989.
Day, McIlroy, Spieth, Fowler and Rahm all have the requisite length to make a run this weekend. Fowler has had some promising outings lately and may be ready to contend at a major. He took a run at it two months ago at the Masters, where he collapsed in the final round.
Rahm has also had three top-10 finishes in his last six starts. Spieth, unlike most of the field, has experience with Erin Mills from his amateur days. That might be an X-factor for the 2015 champion.
It’s not for nothing Garcia and Rose have the same price, since they were involved in a playoff at the Masters. While Garcia has never missed a cut at the U.S. Open, he has nothing on the big-event consistency of Rose, who has five consecutive top-10 finishes in majors (plus his 2016 Olympics gold medal for Great Britain). Rose should also be mentally toughened by the Masters disappointment.
Overall, the final placings might come down to who attacks a course that much of field had no experience with until they showed up in rural Wisconsin at the start of this week. That could narrow the gap between the big names and lesser-known players. Brooks Koepka (+4000 on the golf odds) is one of the longest hitters but has challenges staying consistent.
Another darkhorse who could emerge is Russell Henley (+10000), who is in the top quarter of the Tour in strokes gained off the tee and from tee to green.