Tiger Woods 6/1
Tiger Woods goes into the US Open in much the same way as the Irish rugby team went into last weeks test with the All Blacks. Both are missing vital components. In Woods case, his coach is gone, his swing is gone, his driver is gone and his wife is, well, gone. Given all the turmoil in his life, Tiger still possesses a singular determination to win golf tournaments like no other. Seemed to be swinging in the slot much better at Memorial and his short game and upper body strength still give him a decided advantage over the field. Winner by a street here in 2000, whatever happens Tiger this week, it’s going to be fascinating to watch.
Phil Mickelson 7/1
Is the grand slam really a possibility for Masters champion Phil Mickelson this year? One thing we know for sure, if he drives it as crooked as he did two weeks back at The Memorial he hasn’t a hope. My guess though is that Phil will have that aspect of his game sorted and will really fancy his chances at Pebble Beach, a course on which he has three career victories. His magical short game have helped him to five second places at US Open and reports of studious preparation on the Monterey Pennisula track are ominous for the field. (pic: Phil with kids at the drive-thru the morning after the Masters. The Green jacket was at the end of the bed so he stuck it on!)
Lee Westwood 11/1
He may be ranked third but Lee Westwood is simply the best player in the World at the moment. He’s finished in the top-10 in eight of his last 11 events including second at The Masters and tied fourth at The Players. A brilliant win last week at the St Jude Classic proves his game is right where it needs to be. A word of warning though; last weeks exertions both mentally and physically in the smothering humidity of Memphis must have taken its toll and all Westwood’s conditioning reserves will be called upon this week. Tied fifth at Pebble in 2000.
Luke Donald 33/1
First, second and third in his last three events, Luke Donald is back on the PGA Tour a changed man. A weight has been lifted from the Englishman’s shoulders with his victory in Madrid and having all but wrapped up his Ryder Cup place. Rested and refreshed Donald won get a better crack at the US Open. At 7100 yards Pebble Beach is about 400 yards shorter than some of the monsters they use for this event and should be very manageable for him.
Robert Karlsson 66/1
When I think of Robert Karlsson and US Open my mind goes back to Torrey Pines in 2008. While all the cameras were on the Tiger versus Rocco drama, the truth behind that event was that Karlsson gifted it to the field. He finished three shots back tying fourth but gave a whopping five shots to the leaders on the Saturday. Played brilliantly at the St Jude Classic last week and is sure to be buoyant about his chances. Nobody would deserve this more than Robert having missed most of last season with a serious eye problem. Dropped from 100/1 to 66/1 yesterday.
Dustin Johnson 40/1
Six foot four inch Dustin usually starts Major’s at a much longer price than 40/1 so it’s interesting that the market odds setters feel the same way as I do. Finished his last four events under par with a top-10 at the Byron Nelson a worst place of 34th. He won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the second straight year , only five others have done that, including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Sam Snead. The only other player besides Johnson to go straight from college and win in each of his first three years on the PGA Tour is Tiger Woods. Though the course will be unrecognizable with its US Open set-up, don’t count out a good week for Dustin.