OK so we’re after the winner of the US Open which is being played at the Rees Jones re-designed Congressional Blue Course in Bethesda just outside of Washington DC. What’s clear is that we need a different strategy to past Majors as we are now seeing a totally different pattern of winner since the break down of 'Tiger Marshall Rule'. Where Woods once dominated and gave a few crumbs to the foolhardy every so often, he now sits a broken man this week in Jupiter Florida with a World Rank of 15, in danger of not making the PGA Tour Play Offs as he is 105th in the FedEx Cup (PGA Tour season long) standings. I digress, but Woods' fall from power appears ominous...
Since Woods departed the scene, the world of Major golf is a different place: Schwartzel, Kaymer, McDowell, Yang, Cink, Glover, all first time winners. Only Augusta with El Pato (09) and Lefty (10) has generated repeat Major winners. You’ll also notice that the Americans haven’t won any of the past 4 majors………oh the shame of it - expect a fightback soon!
Congressional hosted the AT&T National (Tiger’s tournament) between 2007 and 2009, where Choi (07), Kim (08) and Woods (09) triumphed. Back then it was a 7,200 yard Par 70 played on Bent Poa mix greens, but the visit of a US Open always sees a ‘toughening’ of the course. Sure enough the “Open Doctor” Rees Jones was hired to take Congressional to another level in terms of difficulty.
So this week it can now play over 7,500 yards in length and as a result will play to a stretching Par of 71. Graded rough starts at 1.5” in the first cut and rapidly grows to 5” with the grading being harsher on the long Par 4s and Par 5s. Nice! All greens have been re-modelled and re-seeded with a pure Bent surface and due to a total lack of precipitation in the build-up to the tournament will play to a 14 – 14.5 stimpmeter. That’s faster than Augusta! In truth, the brutality of any US Open can be seen in the winning scores of the victors: McDowell = -1 Glover = -4 Woods = -1 Cabrera = +4. This won’t be a birdie fest, but the longer bombers who can regularly hit the short stuff may well contend.
So who to go for? Lee Westwood and Luke Donald are playing both the best and most consistent golf on the planet right now and head the market. I’m concerned by their weak Major conversion rate (i.e. 0%) but I wouldn’t try and dissuade punters. Their relative short prices mean there's little value each-way, so the best US Open bookmaker to back them with is BetClic who are offering a fully refunded £30 'no lose bet' when you open an account. So for the occasional golf punter (welcome and don’t forget us for The Open next month!) place £30 on Westwood or Donald and a win returns £360 profit. If they don’t triumph you get the £30 fully refunded…that’s what I call a no-brainer!!! Click here for details.
Second thing to note is that Paddy Power and a few other bookies are paying out 6 Places Each-Way rather than the standard 5 Places regular golf punters have to put up with for the rest of the season. So be careful who you place Each-Way bets with. I’m only listing best market prices available with 6 Place Each-Way bookmakers below. Finally our European Tour tipster Paul Williams has researched a number of superb US Open long-shots so click here for his well researched low-down. Remember recent long-shot major winners include Glover at 225/1, Cabrera at 150/1 and Yang at 125/1 and even last week Frazar won the St Jude at 275/1. It happens!
Every week we use 10 staking points, it can be £1 or £100 – your choice! - on the following players for the US Open 2011
I tipped “Rors” for Muirfield a fortnight ago and sure enough he led for much of the tournament and finished in a decent 5th spot behind my other selection and winner Steve Stricker. In-truth the scoring at “Jacks Place” was a little too low, but I guarantee that won’t be an issue at Congressional. He was 28/1 to win in Ohio, so a market leading 22/1 with Skybet is decent enough. Rory’s Major record is amazing. 6 Top 20 finishes including 4 Top 10 in 9 professional major appearances is legendary and Congressional this week will suit him down to the ground, so I’m placing a little saver bet on the Holywood boy. For those that doubt McIlroy’s ability, he plays both classical and technical courses extremely well and this hybrid will suit. His recent form highlights a player ready to win and his record at Quail Hollow (1st 2010), Muirfield (5th 2011, 10th 2010) and at the PGA Championship (3rd 2010, 3rd 2009) highlights a player most at ease on the toughest fast bent courses. McDowell’s triumph last year will also act as a real motivator. RESULT: Winner
Unlike politicians I'd rather not name, I’ll come clean and declare a vested interest here. I’m a HUGE fan of Australian Day and I tip him whenever and wherever appropriate. The one time I didn’t tip him this season was at Augusta in April when he finished 2nd on debut at 175/1 and that was a fortnight after highlighting him as a real threat at the Bent green majors in 2011. So if he wins at Congressional this week and I wasn’t on him I’d be jumping out of the window here at Golf Betting System towers! Rory’s Augusta demise meant that Texas-based Day never got the real credit he deserved for his stellar performance at The Masters, but it’s the momentum he’s had since Georgia that has really impressed. Instead of dining out, Day delivered a 9th at the tight and technical Hilton Head, 6th at TPC Sawgrass and 5th when defending his first PGA Tour title at TPC Four Seasons. That’s truly, truly impressive and the Hilton/Sawgrass results showed a maturity on courses that previously golf experts said were too ‘tight’ to suit. His Major record is impressive too. 3 appearances no missed cuts, 60th at St Andrews, 10th at Whistling Straits and 2nd at The Masters……I think he can win his first major this week. RESULT: 2nd
Congressional Blue won’t suit the long hitting Bubba Watson this week I hear many readers commenting, after all any mistake will be severely punished and the long hitting Bubba is bound to stray off the short stuff too much. Well Watson, who sits Number 1 on the PGA Tour for Greens in Regulation and 7th for Total Driving, in my view is going to have a major say this week and has matured into a World-class act. Check through Watson’s CV and you’ll see performances that show a player who actually plays better on harder classical golf courses. Take his major performances for instance: 3 Top 20 finishes include a 5th at the 2007 US Open at Oakmont and 2nd last year at the gnarly Whistling Straits highlights a player who can roll up his sleeves on tough courses. Add to that Torrey Pines 1st (11), 4th (07), 7th (09); Sedgefield 3rd (10); Quail Hollow 2nd (09); Waialee 4th (06) and you start to see a player that’s got the whole game to win a Major. A second on the incredibly fast Bent carpet at Houston (07) and his first PGA Tour victory at TPC River Highlands in June last year just add more fuel to the flames! RESULT: T63
I’m absolutely loving the look of Tennessee’s finest golfer this week. Snedeker was one of the hottest properties in golf when he emerged on the golfing scene in 2007. 3rd at the classical Torrey Pines in only his 3rd PGA Tour tournament raised eyebrows as did 5th at the tough/technical TPC Southwind (his home state event), 8th at Congressional and ultimately his first ‘W’ in his debut season at the classical Carolina bent course at Sedgefield. Hey this guy was awesome! 2008 wasn’t overly shabby either with a 3rd on debut at Augusta, followed by 9th at the US Open held at Torrey Pines. Snedeker was now on a World stage. Injury issues across 2009 and 2010 caused a dip in results but even then 2nd at Torrey Pines (10), 8th at the US Open (10) at Pebble plus 5ths at Congressional, Glen Abbey and Sedgefield highlight a player who loves both classical courses and tree-lined fast Bent tracks. Fast forward to 2011 and we now have a fully fit player who has found belief as 8 Top 20 finishes including 5 Top 10s indicate. One of those was his 2nd PGA Tour win at the technical Hilton Head. Next step?Contending for a major. RESULT: T11
Texas-based South African Rory Sabbatini used to be the ‘bad boy’ of world golf. Outspoken, arrogant and bad mouthed, here was a guy that was going to give Tiger Woods all he could handle. Wrong! Fact is though that Sabba has matured and 2011 has seen the development of a player who is finally talking via his damn fine golf. March saw Rory win his 6th PGA Tour event at the technical Nicklaus design that is PGA National and his new found maturity can be seen in the fact that he’s continued to play decent golf rather than “dine out” on the 2 year exemption a Tour win brings with it. But here’s the deal. Despite a Major record that has only generated 2 Top 20s including 1 Top 10, I’m really hot on the South African this week and here’s why. He’s a rare commodity in the golfing world i.e. a player that can play equally well across all 3 putting surfaces (i.e. Bent, Bermuda, Poa Annua) and that marks out a World Class player who can win Majors. Scratch deeper and you see the following high quality results on tracks that link to Congressional: 2nd Augusta (07), 2nd Firestone (04 & 07), 3rd Quail (in 11 & 07), 3rd Torrey Pines (08). With Sabba’s new found maturity in-place, a Major performance is due and with Oosthuizen and Schwartzel providing inspiration Top 6 at Congressional is a distinct possibility at a beautiful triple digit Each-Way price. RESULT: T30
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 19:45BST 14.6.11 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
The 2012 US Open will be held at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California. Tips, picks and predictions for the 2012 US Open will be published here on the Tuesday before this year's event.