This article is part of our Betting on Golf series.
U.S. Open Betting Strategy
It's U.S. Open week in San Diego!
Torrey Pines Golf Course, a yearly stop on the PGA Tour for the Farmers Insurance Open, gets its turn in the USGA's rotation for the first time since 2008. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson headlines a field that includes the most recent major champion, Phil Mickelson, fresh off his stunning win at the PGA Championship. Last year, Bryson DeChambeau, at 22-1, cruised to a six-stroke victory over Matthew Wolff in a fall edition of the event at Winged Foot.
One of the main changes from the Farmers setup is that the North Course will be avoided and all four rounds will be contested on the more-difficult South Course. The track is also stretched out a bit to play long at around 7,700 yards, with the sixth hole being converted from a par-5 to a long par-4 and the course playing as a par-71.
The USGA is known for tough setups for its flagship event, and this week's will be no different. Conditions will be firm, and that will make holding the smaller greens a tough task. That will be especially true when playing out of the thick rough, which will likely happen often no matter how accurate the golfers are due to the fairways being tightened. Driving distance and elite tee-to-green play will play a large role in determining this year's winner.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 5:00 ET Tuesday.
Torrey Pines Titans
The following five players have the lowest score to par at the Torrey Pines South Course since 2017:
One player in the field that will especially enjoy a second trip to Torrey Pines this year is Finau, who has finished top-25 in all seven of his career appearances at the Farmers Insurance Open. He's coming off a runner-up finish at the venue in January, a result he's all too familiar with. Since recording his first Tour victory in Puerto Rico in 2016, Finau has notched 10 second-place finishes without picking up his second win. He has been known to elevate his game in majors, picking up four consecutive top-10s in those tournaments. He should be a serious contender and owns the same 22-1 odds DeChambeau did in 2020. A more under-the-radar golfer who has also feasted here is Leishman, with the Aussie winning at Torrey Pines last year and also owning a pair of second-place results. After struggling through a rough patch following the Tour's three-month layoff, Leishman has bounced back with multiple top-5s in 2021. He is a bargain at his 85-1 number.
In the Right Form
These golfers gained the most strokes from tee to green, on a per-round basis, over their last five tournaments:
Rahm is the only player to make both lists, combining both his current form with stellar success at Torrey Pines, where he picked up his first Tour win four years ago. He's arguably the biggest storyline this week, as after holding a commanding six-stroke lead through three rounds at the Memorial, he was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test. The main thing missing on his resume is a major championship, and the oddsmakers are deservedly giving him the best chance this week at 21-2. Meanwhile, Spieth will be looking for his fourth major and second U.S. Open title at a venue he's traditionally struggled at. With driving distance being a bigger key this week, some handicappers may overlook him at their own peril. Spieth's all-around game will be a big factor, and he's been the best golfer in the world since February.
Xander Schauffele (15-1)
Schauffele was my preseason pick to win the event and it would be a storybook ending if he came out victorious this week. Having grown up in San Diego and also playing collegiately at San Diego State, this will be a home game for Schauffele, who has finished no worse than T6 in his four U.S. Open appearances. He's riding a winless drought like Finau, and much like his counterpart, the big question about Schauffele is whether he can buck the trend and close the door if he's in contention late.
Tyrrell Hatton (40-1)
Another player in search of his first major is Hatton, who will be making his first Tour start at Torrey Pines. He comes in with solid form after leading the field from tee-to-green at last week's Palmetto Championship en route to a T2 finish. One of the best iron players in the game, Hatton will rely on that strength and his solid all-around game to factor into the mix this weekend.
Justin Rose (66-1)
Rose is one of those golfers that seems to be built for the majors. His last three top-10 results on the PGA Tour have all been in major championships, including at both The Masters and PGA Championship this year. His only major victory came at the U.S. Open in 2013, and he won at Torrey Pines in 2019. He feels vastly underpriced at 66-1.
Joaquin Niemann (5-1)
Niemann ranks top-40 in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Approach and Putting, and he also checks in ninth in driving distance. Those should be key factors for him this week. After struggling in majors early in his career, Niemann has rebounded with three straight made cuts, with his best finish coming at last year's U.S. Open.
Matt Wallace (8-1)
Like many of the European golfers Wallace hasn't played Torrey Pines, as the Farmers Insurance Open typically falls during a prime part of the European Tour's schedule. Nonetheless, Wallace should be a good fit for the venue with no weakness in his game. This is a generous price considering he's recorded two top-10s in his last seven starts and has shown he can step up in a major, posting a T3 at the 2019 PGA Championship.
Lanto Griffin (11-1)
Griffin doesn't have much major experience to draw from, but I think his game will fit the U.S. Open setup well. He's struggled with his accuracy off the tee, but he's a long hitter and even the straighter drivers will have a harder time fitting it into the narrow fairways. Griffin was just one back after 36 holes at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year before settling for a T7 finish.
Scheffler has quickly shown an ability to elevate his game in the biggest events, recording four consecutive top-20 results in major championships. He has been playing well, posting a pair of top-10s over his last three events. Although it may seem risky to fade Oosthuizen in a major, his game relies more an accuracy than distance and he doesn't have much experience nor a track record to talk about at Torrey Pines.
This will be a fun matchup between two major champions. Lowry has been one of the hottest golfers on Tour over the last three months and notched three top-10 results over his last four events. He's a good target in head-to-head matchups with eight straight cuts made in majors, and he's posted three top-10s over that time. Meanwhile, Matsuyama has failed to record a top-10 this year outside of his win at The Masters.
This is a major, so we would be remiss to not mention four-time major champion Brooks Koepka. Koepka is a combined 48-under par over the nine majors that have been held since the beginning of 2019. Dustin Johnson is the next closest on the list at 29-under, and he played in all nine events while "Major Brooks" participated in only eight.
Good luck this week!