We are now less than a month away from the start of the US Open and defending champion Dustin Johnson is the man to beat.
Johnson missed the first major of the year, The Masters at Augusta, after falling down the stairs and being forced to skip the tournament with a bad back. But he is back in business now and heads a field packed full of golf’s leading names as they compete for glory.
Johnson has been in superb form this season and has already triumphed at the Genesis Open, WGC Mexico Championsip and WGC Match Play. He is well clear of second placed Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings, and it is no surprise to see him start as the favourite.
Review the odds on a trusted source of best sportsbooks ratings and you will see that Johnson is around the 7/1 mark, making him the outright favourite. That puts him just ahead of McIlroy (8/1) and then come Jordon Spieth at 10/1 and Jason Day at 12/1. This is golf’s so-called Big Four, and this quartet heads the betting for each major of 2017 at present as the four favourites. The only time the order changes is for the US PGA, where McIlroy is favourite ahead of Johnson.
But, while they have all put in some strong performances, this quartet has only won one of the last five majors. In fact, each of the last five majors went to a player winning his first major: Danny Willett, Johnson (who still has just one major to his name), Henrik Stenson, Jimmy Walker and Sergio Garcia.
It seems just as likely that someone will earn a maiden major victory as it does for one of the Big Four to win it, and you get far more attractive odds on the outsiders. These players will be full of desire as they look to get that elusive green jacket, and you can back several of them as the odds are so attractive.
Rickie Fowler has five top-five finishes in majors but has never claimed one, and he is arguably the best player on tour to never win a major after Garcia, Stenson and Johnson finally stepped over that threshold. He has secured several victories over strong fields in prestigious tournaments and is expected to win a major some day, and where better than in the US Open? At 33/1 he looks interesting.
Then there is Hideki Matsayuma, who has overtaken Day to become number three in the rankings, but is below the Australian in the betting as he has never won a major. He is in strong form and is climbing the rankings, as is Jon Rahm (25/1).
Further down the field you find Brooks Koepka (40/1) and Branden Grace and Thomas Pieters (both 50/1). At these sort of odds you can pick a few and go each-way, meaning you get a fifth of the odds if they finish in the top four or five, depending on the bookmaker.
Fowler looks the pick of the bunch. Away from golfers yet to win a major, you can get 22/1 on Justin Rose winning it and he looks an interesting choice. He was superb at The Masters and can count himself very unfortunate to have eventually lost out to Garcia after leading for much of the last day.
If you have to go for one of the Big Four, Day looks to be going in the wrong direction after ending 2016 ranked first and slipping down to third, while Spieth’s big chance was at The Masters as he relishes Augusta, but he fluffed it. It looks like a straight choice between Johnson and McIlroy for the US Open, and the odds are more attractive on McIlroy, who won this tournament in 2011. On his day he can beat anyone, and his dominant performance in the FedEx Cup showed he still has plenty of fire in his belly, so he looks a decent choice.
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The pros at the Sony Open in Hawaii were sent scrambling for cover on Saturday after a ballistic missile alert was sent out by mistake.