The second Major of the year – The US Open – is upon us and arguably the hardest test of golf returns to Shinnecock Hills for the first time since 2004.
That year Retief Goosen took the title on four under par and you would expect a similar score will be needed to take the title this year, with USGA officials unhappy at the 16 under which saw Brooks Koepka win his first Major at Erin Hills last year.
Here are our best golf betting odds ahead of the four days in New York.
Shinnecock should restore order and expect the cream to rise to the top
Shinnecock Hills is considered by many to be one of, if not, the finest course in the US and you just have to look at some of the pictures of the 7,440-yard par 70 to see why. What makes Shinnecock so special is that it tests all aspects of a golfer’s game and if you’re slightly off in any area then you’ll be severely punished.
This monster track is surely going to suit the bigger hitters and, based on recent evidence, the bombers in the field tend to do well in US Opens, with eight of the last 12 winners having been ranked in the top eight for driving distance.
The other aspect of the field’s repertoire which is going to be needed to full effect is a solid short-game. The green complexes at Shinnecock are one of its great defences and when they get firm, which looks likely with the weather set fair, only those with a superior short-game will survive.
This is an event where the best usually turn up, with the last seven winners being ranked between second and 28th and, sticking in line with this, my first pick has to be Rickie Fowler at 18/1.
The likeable American has, over the past few seasons, dispelled any doubts about his ability to win on a consistent basis and his recent performances at Majors also show he’s not afraid to turn it on when it matters most.
He was runner-up at Augusta this year and has a T2, T5 and T10 in three of the last five US Opens. He often says how much he likes links golf, which showed when he won the Scottish Open a few years back. He loves being able to shape shots both ways and that will definitely be required at Shinnecock, which definitely has a links feel to it – meaning he should be more than at home if the wind blows.
Yes, he hasn’t won a Major yet, but he won the Players in extraordinary fashion a few years ago and with Grosvenorsport.com’s six places, you should get a decent run for your money with Fowler’s last four Major results reading 2-5-22-5.
He has stated how much he loves the course and he should be riding a crest of a wave having recently got engaged, and he looks in fantastic shape to break his Major duck this weekend.
Links specialist Grace looks well worth supporting
My next selection is South African Branden Grace at 33/1. I’m pretty convinced he will win a major soon and this weekend could easily be it.
He boasts very good US Open form, having finished fourth in 2015 and fifth 12 months later and this year’s venue, Shinnecock Hills, looks absolutely ideal for him.
He is a links specialist and his game is perfectly suited to the unique test that this type of golf offers. Granted, this isn’t a links golf course, but it does display plenty of similar aspects and so Grace should feel very comfortable.
He’s won events like the Alfred Dunhill Links and of course he became the first player to shoot a 62 at a Major in the Open last year at Royal Birkdale.
He shot another 62 at the Byron Nelson last month on another links-style course, which was designed by the same people who were responsible for the recent changes to Shinnecock and he’ll come into this with great hope that he can make it back-to-back South African winners at this venue.
He clearly loves a true test of golf and he looks well worth supporting at 33/1.