Bet U.S. Open Golf: Mike Kern says Jon will be Rahm tough, picks Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, more
Time for the third major of the season, the U.S. Open from Torrey Pines South in San Diego, where Tiger Woods won his 14th major in 2008 on one good leg in a playoff over Rocco Mediate.
Now the USGA is back for the first time since then, although the PGA Tour does hold an event there every January, the Farmers Insurance Open. This year Patrick Reed was the winner, with Xander Schauffele and Tony Finau among the four who tied for second, one back. But keep in mind that this course will play much different this week, for all the obvious reasons, although the winning score five months ago was only 4-under par.
Jon Rahm is the favorite, at 10-1. He should be, even though he hasn’t won a major yet. He was going to win the Memorial several weeks back when he had to withdraw with a 6-shot lead after three rounds due to testing positive for Covid. And he has won here. He’s also finished in the top four in three of the four majors, although he’s never really been in position to win one at the end. Plus he did recently become a father. And Sunday is Father’s Day, as always for the final round. So it would be a good story.
Bryson DeChambeau, the defending champ, is 14-1. He of course won last fall at Winged Foot after the event had to be pushed back because of the pandemic. Dustin Johnson is also 14-1. He won this in 2016 at Oakmont, and was one of the best players on the planet until about two months ago. Now not so much. He looked OK last week, after going low in the first round against a weak field.
Schauffele is another at 14-1. This is his home course. But he hasn’t won anywhere since 2019. But he’s sure been close a lot, especially in majors. And especially in this major. You can look it up. He had a chance at the Masters, but didn’t show up at the PGA. You could say he’s overdue.
Brooks Koepka is 18-1. He won this in 2017 and ’18, and finished second at the PGA last month. He lives for majors. And he missed the cut last week. You can almost never go wrong taking him in one of these things.
Jordan Spieth is also 18-1. He’s obviously playing a lot better, but he’s only won once this year, his first victory in three years.
Patrick Cantlay, who just won when Rahm had to drop out, is 20-1. So is Tony Finau, who hasn’t won in forever but almost always is on the leaderboard, and Rory McIlroy, who’s looking for his first major since 2014. He won this in 2011. Finau has finished in the top 10 in nine of his last 13 majors, by the way.
Viktor Hovland is 22-1. Ditto Patrick Reed and Collin Morikawa. In his last 24 rounds, Collin is first in greens in regulation, usually an important stat particularly in this major. His putter, however, is often the question. Justin Thomas, who can be hot and cold, is also 22-1. He got his lone major four years ago.
Tyrrell Hatton, who got a second last week, is 33-1. As is Louis Oosthuizen and Scottie Scheffler, who hasn’t won yet but is considered one of the better young talents. He was third at the Memorial and eighth at the PGA.
Abraham Ancer is 40-1, with Shane Lowry, Hideki Matsuyama and Will Zalatoris. Zalatoris is a lot like Scheffler, He’s been sixth, second and eighth in his last three majors.
Matthew Fitzpatrick, who played well last week, Phil Mickelson, who just won the PGA at age 50, and Webb Simpson are 45-1. This is the only major Phil has never won. He did grow up on this course but hasn’t played that well on it since they did a renovation in the early 2000s. But he won here three times before that.
Jason Kokrak, who won not too long ago, is 50-1. Justin Rose, who won at Merion in 2013, is 60-1. Adam Scott is 65-1. Gary Woodland, who won it two years ago at Pebble Beach, is 66-1. Corey Conners, another good young player, is 70-1. Garrick Higgo, coming off last week’s improbable win, is 70-1 too. Ditto Marc Leishman, who has played well here. I could go on, but there’s almost too many names to run them all down.
If you want to play Rahm I couldn’t argue with you, even though I usually try to avoid faves. I think I would stay away from Bryson and DJ, just because. I have Xander in my yearlong pool that I have to pick in December. So far this year my two major picks both missed the cut. But he is 3.5-1 to finish in the top 10, so there is that.
I could certainly go a lot of different ways here. You know I like to try and give you a couple of picks that will get you something decent back. That can work both ways. In that kind of second tier I would try Scottie Scheffler at 33-1 and Will Zalatoris at 40-1. They are respectively 6-1 for a top five and 8-1. And half that for a top 10. For even longer odds I would look at Marc Leishman at 70-1, and 14-1 for a top five (7-1 for a 10).
If I had to go with a fave, I would probably say Xander Schauffele. He’s kind of been my guy. That might mean the trend is ending. Who knows? But I’m at the point where maybe I’m overthinking this. The play might just be Rahm. The heck with it. Yo, sometimes the faves do win. Somebody owes him one. Maybe it’s just a destiny moment. It sure would be a popular victory. And perhaps even profitable.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do. The best thing about a west coast major is that you will be watching in prime time on the weekend. Never anything wrong with that.