Jon Rahm was well on his way to victory after Day 3 of the Memorial Tournament early in June. Then, a positive COVID-19 test knocked him out of action at the event. But with the No. 3 player in the world set to return to action for the 2021 U.S. Open, betting odds are bullish on the Spaniard's potential.
While the 26-year-old has never won a major tournament to date, he has finished with a top-four mark at three of the four championships. That includes a third-place finish in the U.S. Open that came during the 2019 season.
There's no doubt that after many close calls, Rahm will hope to emerge with his first major win. He should have a good chance to do it, as the South course at Torrey Pines golf course should play to his strengths, as the 7,698-yard course will favor big swingers like Rahm.
Of course, Rahm isn't a lock to win this major. He's going up against some of the PGA Tour's best players and there ar eplenty of big-hitters on the course that could do just as well as him. It may come down to the best combination of accuracy and deep-driving ability this week, so players like Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau will certainly be in the mix as well.
Here's everything you need to know to bet on the 2021 U.S. Open, including the latest tournament odds and best bets for the event.
U.S. Open odds 2021
Jon Rahm (+950) is the favorite to win the 2021 U.S. Open, according to odds from FanDuel Sportsbook. That means a $100 bet on Rahm would include a $950 payout.
Rahm had appeared to be en route to winning the Memorial Tournament at Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village Golf Club earlier in June before a positive COVID test knocked him out of the tournament before the final day of play. But after showing well at a difficult course, he is the favorite here.
Dustin Johnson (+1500), Bryson DeChambeau (+1600), Brooks Koepka (+1800), Rory McIlroy (+1800) and Xander Schauffele (+1800) round out the top six on FanDuel's odds list. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson, the winner of the PGA Championship, checks in with +5500 odds to win.
U.S. Open expert picks
Much like the 2021 PGA Championship that was held at Kiawah Island, the Torrey Pines South course should benefit the bigger drivers in the game. It's set to be the third-longest course ever played at a major tournament at 7,698 yards. That trails only the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island (7,876 yards) and the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills (7,741 yards).
That's not to say that that a player that's weaker off the tee can't win — Phil Mickelson ranks 180th in the PGA of 212 qualified golfers with a -.388 strokes gained off the tee mark but still won at Kiawah Island — but having a strong driver will help.
The South course is long, has narrow fairways and possesses tricky greens that could provide a bit of a feeling-out process for golfers as they ease their way into the tournament. For that reason, strokes gained off the tee, driver accuracy and strokes gained putting will be the key stats we look at with our top picks.
Of the favorites, Jon Rahm (+950) does appear to be the best of the bunch. He has the shortest odds at +950, but he checks nearly all of the boxes in terms of the stats we're looking at. He averages 306.9 yards per drive, good for 23rd on the tour this year, and ranks 56th in terms of driving accuracy of 212 golfers, putting him in the top quartile. Add in a third-ranked .859 strokes gained off the tee and above-average putting, and he should have a good chance to win.
Xander Schaffele (+1800) is the other favorite to watch. He brings a good all-around game to the fold, ranking eighth in strokes gained putting (.699) and ranks 26th in driver distance (306.4 yards per drive). His accuracy is merely average, but his ability to gain strokes off the tee (36th-best in the PGA) while finishing near the hole makes him a rock-solid bet to be in contention at the very least.
In terms of long shots, Scottie Scheffler (+4100) and Jason Kokrak (+7000) are worth considering.
Scheffler was one of our sleeper picks for the PGA Championship, and the 24-year-old finished in eighth-place for the tournament. More recently, he finished third at the Memorial Tournament with a -11 mark. Like Schauffele, he's a well-rounded contributor and brings a nice combination of driving accuracy (41st) and driving distance (35th) to the table. He ranks 11th in strokes gained off the tee and is an above-average putter.
At some point, Scheffler should have a chance to break through. Why not at this tournament?
Meanwhile, Kokrak ranks top-five in strokes gained putting and is top-25 in drivers distance and strokes gained off the tee. His accuracy is a bit hot and cold, which explains his 78 of 212 ranking in the PGA despite his good off the tee numbers. That leaves something to be desired, but it's still good enough for us to trust him as an underdog, especially at 70-1 odds.
If Kokrak is accurate with the driver, look out. He could string together some solid rounds at Torrey Pines.
U.S. Open winners by year
In 2021, Bryson DeChambeau is looking to become the 23rd player to win the U.S. Open multiple times since the event began in 1895. He earned his first major victory by shooting −6 during the event last year.
However, DeChambeau could become only the third player to win the event in consecutive seasons. The most recent repeat champion came in 2017-18 when DeChambeau's rival, Brooks Koepka, took home the tourney title twice. Curtis Strange (1988-89) is the other golfer to accomplish that feat.
In its history, four different golfers have won the event four times. They are Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and WIllie Anderson. Nicklaus was the most recent man to complete the feat after his fourth victory, which came in 1980.
The most among active golfers belongs to Tiger Woods, who has won the U.S. Open three times, the last of which came in 2008. However, Woods won't be participating in this year's tournament after suffering injuries in a car crash on Feb. 23. So, we'll have to wait and see if he can compete to join the four four-time winners further down the line.
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