This week sees the US Open take place just south of Seattle in Washington State. All the world’s top golfers will convene early in the week for practice and preparation before the first ball is hit in earnest on Thursday.
In this week’s article, we take a look at the course, which golfers are likely to be in with a shout and lastly, who are tips are to earn you some cash from one of the top UK bookies – Bet365 Sports – this coming weekend.
Not yet a customer? Fear not, you’ve got plenty of time to create your new account and collect your free bets at Bet365 prior to the weekend.
So let’s begin by taking a brief look at one of the youngest US Open courses in history.
The course: Chambers Bay, Washington
Chambers Bay is one of the youngest courses to host the US Open. This publicly owned course in the high northwest of the United States offers a very different challenge to many other US Open’s given the links-feel of the design and surroundings.
Nestled on the side of Puget Sound, the course boasts only one tree (behind the 15th green) and most of its defences are based around the rolling landscape of the course, which was formerly sand and gravel mine. Undulating greens, rolling hills and scrub rough all will make the world’s top golfers feel like they are more on the shores of Carnoustie or Prestwick than at the US Open.
There have already been some mixed reactions to the layout of the course with a few top golfers privately holding some deep reservations about the quality of the course for the second major title of the year.
That said Chambers Bay does present golfers with some interesting holes. One being the short Par 4 twelfth hole, “The Narrows” which is named after the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which is famous for collapsing on November 7th 1940 during a violent gale.
The course is also one of the few on the majors roster that starts and finishes with a par five, meaning that there could be plenty of action on both the opening and final holes of the day as players seek to start off and finish their rounds to perfection.
What is undeniable however is that this is a course that will offer a very different challenge to many other courses on the US Open roster and perhaps only Pebble Beach offers golfers a similar level of rugged beauty that you will find at Chambers Bay.
Without doubt, when it comes to who is likely to win the US Open this year, two names will stand out from the crowd and that is the two leaders of the new generation of golfers in Europe and the United States, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and the United States current Masters champion Jordan Spieth.
Spieth enjoyed a fantastic run of form finishing 1st, 2nd, 2nd and 1st in successive tournaments in March and April, culminating in his triumph at Augusta. McIlroy has won the WGC Match Play title in April and then followed that up with victory in the Wells Fargo event in May. However, since those victories he did struggle in the Irish Open, missing the cut.
That isn’t the ideal preparation going into the US Open, especially on a course that is more like a Scottish links, than a traditional US Open venue. It will be interesting to see how these two young superstars of the game fare in what promises to be a tough test at Chambers Bay.
One player certainly targeting success this year is Phil Mickelson. The veteran American has won all golf’s major titles bar the US Open, despite coming close on many occasions. Mickelson has proven he can win on links courses in the past, winning both the Scottish Open and then the British Open in successive weeks and his experience could be vital on a course that is sure to test a players short game.
It comes to something that we have mentioned three golfers as potential winners and not yet mentioned Tiger Woods, but the fact of the matter is that Woods is still struggling with many aspects of his game. He is certainly a long way from the player that dominated the game for more than a decade and in truth, if he makes the cut, he will view this as a positive after enduring his worst ever round as a professional when he shot 85 at the Memorial tournament recently.
If Woods is not likely to be a genuine contender for this years US Open there’s plenty of other big star names who will be. Adam Scott and Jason Day will likely head up a strong contingent from Australia, while Louis Oosthuizen, Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel will head up a very strong South African challenge.
Europe will also be heavily represented by the likes of Henrik Stenson, Graham McDowall, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and current US Open champion Martin Kaymer.
However it is the American challenge which certainly looks strongest, with the likes of Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Jimmy Walker, J.B.Holmes, Patrick Reed, Billy Horschel and Brooks Koepka all likely to be in with a shout.
For the rest of the world, Angel Cabrera always tends to put on a good show in this tournament and the wily Argentinean veteran cannot be ruled out, while Japan’s challenge will likely be led by Hideki Matsuyama who is quickly evolving into one of the finest players to have come out of Asia for many years and who is already ranked 14th in the world.
Top tips for Bet365 Sport punters
My first tip is not so much about the golfer but the bet itself as with Bet365 Sport, you get paid out at ¼ of the stated odds down to the top six places (including ties). As such, I think this makes a better choice of bet for most outright win market selections.
The only two players I wouldn’t back each way would be McIlroy and Spieth who at 7/1 and 8/1 respectively just are too short a price to make this bet worthwhile. Of the two, if I was backing one to win outright, I would opt for Spieth as at the moment, I just think he is in the slightly better form and I think his game is better suited to this course than McIlroy’s.
That said I think there’s plenty of value to be had in an each way bet on the Win Outright market and one of the golfers I would look at here would be Lee Westwood (75/1) whose chances of winning a major may be behind him now but who is remarkably consistent in the top tournaments usually.
Jim Furyk (33/1) is another solid option for an each way bet given his consistency and the fact that he finally won another tournament earlier this season to break his duck. He along with the amazing talent that is Bubba Watson (35/1) represent excellent each way value in my book.