The 2011 version of the strictest test in golf, The US Open, will be contested at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD. As per usual we here at Average Golfer will list the betting favorites, comment on their chances, and throw a few picks out there to enhance your wagering prospects. The Robert Trent Jones design, last renovated in 2006 by Rees Jones, will play up to 7,574 yds. and par 71. That makes it the 2nd longest Open in history after Torrey Pines.
Without further ado, here's our synopsis....
Phil Mickelson, 14:1 - After so many Open close calls, Phil's the obvious sentimental choice. His game's been a bit shaky this year and I see him possibly contending on Sunday, but doubt he'll win it.
Lee Westwood, 14:1 - Co-favorite. Been world #1 recently. Rock steady putter needed to win an Open. Not his forte. Don't see it.
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Luke Donald, 14:1 - Co-co-favorite. World #1. Has the tools, especially around and on the greens. Rain would hurt with his lack of length on this behemoth. Possible.
Rory McIlroy, 20:1 - If he's in it on Sunday we'll get to see if he's shaken off Masters debacle. Can make birdies in bunches. Possible for him to win if his major championship memory is short.
Dustin Johnson, 25:1 - Long enough. Needs to show a maturity he hasn't shown in previous majors. LaCava on the bag should help. Possible, not likely.
Nick Watney, 25:1 - Great all around game. Showed gravitas of late on bigger stages. Could win.
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Hunter Mahan, 25:1 - All the tools. Would have to elevate to this stage. Certain aloofness that seems to hold him back. Not this time.
Matt Kuchar, 25:1 - Guaranteed top ten whenever he tees it up. Like him a lot this week.
Steve Stricker, 25:1 - Perhaps tour's best clutch putter. Game's peaking at the right time. Accurate with great course management. My pick for this year's champ.
Martin Kaymer, 33:1 - Disappeared after becoming world #1. Not sure he desires to be the best. Rather passive demeanor. Maybe next year.
KJ Choi, 33:1 - Loves it here with good reason. Playing very well of late. Can handle slick Open greens. Could win.
Justin Rose, 50:1 - Seems like long odds on great player. Laser-like iron game. Would tale a lot, but could win.
Graeme McDowell, 50:1 - Uncharacteristic blow-up holes and rounds have cost him this year. Defending champ would require an epiphany and return to last year's game. Too much to ask I'm afraid.
Bubba Watson, 50:1 - Another where odds seem out of whack with performance. Definitely can handle the length. Shown he knows how to win with two this year.Good value bet.
Jim Furyk, 50:1 - Tough to ever count him out, but hasn't been the Furyk of old. Will struggle with length. Won't win.
Jason Day, 50:1 - Nice talent. Hot and cold. Cold too often to win here on this stage.
David Toms, 50:1 - Two months ago I'd have say "No way". Looks like the Toms of old. Distance shortage here won't help. Won't win.
AVERAGE GOLFER 2011 US OPEN PICKS
1. Steve Stricker
2. KJ Choi
3. Nick Watney
Dark Horse..... Sergio Garcia
Keep in mind, as a US Open, the field is stuffed with great players. Odds are only estimates by bookies to even out the betting to guard against a catastrophic loss when a ton of money is placed on the winner. As an indication of such, here's some players with a decent shot to win whose odds are 66:1+....... Scott, Schwartzel, Goosen, Ogilvy, Casey, Fowler, Baddeley, Els, Quiros, Garcia, and Yang. Strength of field is what makes this a true championship.
*As per usual, Average Golfer is not responsible for any betting losses and this column is not intended to be a testimonial for any one golfer. Additionally, Average Golfer would expect any winners using this column to profit from said picks to forward a reasonable cut of their winnings. 20% is considered customary. Odds provided by Ladbrokes.
Bet early and often,