Rory McIlroy captured his first major at the 2011 U. S. Open
The 112th U. S. Open will be held this week at Olympic Club in San Francisco. The Lake Course will host the entrants trying to add their name to the list of golfing greats who have come before.
Olympic Club's Lake Course has been lengthened in recent years to 7,060 yards, and it has been reported that the opening six holes will be the most difficult in U. S. Open history.
Players who have had practice rounds at the Olympic feel that the field could average six over par through the first six holes.
The fireworks will happen late in the round, as hole Nos. 16-18 offer birdie and even eagle opportunities.
The course features bent grass greens and rolling, tree-lined fairways. The undulating greens will be lightning fast, and in the past, some players' putts have rolled off the steeply sloped greens.
Olympic will favor a golfer who has complete trust and control of his driver, irons and short game over the four days. Any weakness will be exposed.
Here are the betting odds and a short scouting report of the top 50 golfers, as listed on Ladbrokes.com.
Jonathan Byrd has a control game that could work well at Olympic Golf Club.
The 10-year veteran has had a very solid year with five top-10 finishes in 13 events in 2012. He is ranked No. 44 in the world and is currently No. 32 in the FedEx Cup standings.
Byrd's control style of golf game could serve him well at Olympic this week, although he has not performed well in previous major championships. In 16 appearances in majors, he only has one top 10 and has missed 10 cuts.
At 125-1 odds for the 2012 U. S. Open, he would be a calculated long shot.
Trevor Immelman won a Green Jacket in 2008.
Trevor Immelman has 13 professional wins, was the 2006 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and won the 2008 Masters. He was a rising star in the early 2000s on both the European and PGA Tours.
A surgery to remove a benign lesion on his diaphragm in 2007 and various other physical injuries have limited his success over the past several years. Immelman has missed five cuts in 13 starts in 2012, is ranked No. 94 on the FedEx Cup and does not have a top-10 finish in 2012 on the PGA Tour.
He appears to be physically sound now and has been working hard on his game, but Immelman does not seem to be at the stage to add another major win to his resume.
Ladbrokes has him rated at 125-1 odds of winning the 2012 U. S. Open.
I would make him higher than that.
Matteo Manassero is only 19 years old and has wins in Europe.
Italian Matteo Manassero is only 19 years old and has been a member of the European Tour for two years. He won the Castello Masters in October of 2010 and the Maybank Malaysian Open in April of 2011.
Manassero also was the 2010 European Tour's Rookie of the Year.
He has only played in five previous major championships, including a T-54 in the 2011 U. S. Open.
Although he does possess a marvelous short game and is very accurate off the tee, length will be an issue for the young Italian at the Olympic Club. At 100-1 odds, Manassero will certainly win major championships in the future, but it is doubtful that this will be the time for him.
Carl Pettersson won the 2012 RBC Heritage Classic at Hilton Head.
Carl Pettersson has five wins on the PGA Tour, including the 2012 RBC Heritage Classic in April.
He was born in Sweden and holds dual citizenship, becoming a U. S. citizen in January of 2012.
Pettersson became a PGA Tour member in 2003, and his wins have come at some very good golf courses: Muirfield Village, Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, St. George's in Toronto and Harbour Town Golf Links.
He plays a definite fade off the tee and can control his tee ball with uncanny accuracy. If his irons can find the correct spots on the slick Olympic greens and his long putter will behave, he could be a long shot for the U. S. Open.
At 100-1 odds, he deserves a second look.
Kevin Na has been on the PGA Tour for 11 years.
100/1 shot, Kevin Na is only 28 years old and has been on the PGA Tour for 11 years.
He has made 12 of 16 cuts in 2012, has five top-10 finishes and is ranked No. 25 on the FedEx Cup standings.
Na is having a very successful year in spite of all the controversy surrounding his balky disruptive style of play.
Kevin is in the middle of some swing changes, and it has made it difficult at times for him to get comfortable on the tee box and commit to his shot.
He takes several practice swings and backs away from the shot more than once before he makes his swing.
It is somewhat humorous and tedious for the fans and very annoying for his playing companions to say the least.
Na has had a very solid career, but it doesn't appear that he is any where near ready to win a major championship, especially one as demanding as the U. S. Open.
Nicolas Colsaerts won the 2012 Volvo Match Play Championship
Nicolas Colsaerts is rated at 100/1 odds to win the 2012 U. S. Open.
That may be somewhat optimistic.
Colsaerts turned professional in 2000 at age 18, but did not qualify for the European Tour until 2010.
He has been successful the past two years on that tour, however.
He won earlier this year at the Volvo Match Play Championship. Along the way, he bested Charl Schwartzel, Paul Lawrie, Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell in the final match.
He is ranked sixth on the European Tour's Race to Dubai and No. 35 in the world.
Nicolas is one of the longest hitters on the European Tour but finds less than 60 percent of the fairways.
Length with no accuracy will not suit him well in a U. S. Open.
Golf Boy Ben Crane and Bubba Watson entertained in Phoenix
Ben Crane has been a member of the PGA Tour since 2002, has four wins and collected nearly $17 million in prize money.
He has been a very consistent golfer, is anything but flashy on the golf course, but off it has been the author of some highly entertaining videos and is the founding member of the "Golf Boys."
Ben Crane is rated a 100/1 shot to win the 2012 U. S. Open, but for my money, he is exactly the type of golfer that could have a very good week at Olympic.
Every part of his game is sound.
He was criticized early in his career as a slow player, but has worked to become a deliberate rather than slow player.
In 2012, he has one runner-up finish, four top-10s and has made 11 of 15 cuts.
Ben Crane could have the right type of golf game for Olympic—steady, plodding and consistent.
At 100/1, he may be a good bet.
Besides he is the only Golf Boy that does not have a win in 2012.
Martin Laird has two wins on the PGA Tour
Twenty-nine-year-old Martin Laird attended Colorado State University on a golf scholarship and turned professional in 2004.
He has two wins on the PGA Tour the 2009, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and the 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Laird is annually in the top 20 in driving distance on tour.
He does have two runner-up finishes in 2012, but I doubt he will find the tight fairways and deep rough to his liking at the U.S. Open.
100/1 odds for Laird seem about right.
Australian John Senden has one top-ten in 16 majors
100/1 shot, John Senden turned professional in 1992 and played in Australia and Asia.
He was a member of the European Tour from 1999-2001 and joined the PGA Tour in 2002.
In 301 starts on the PGA Tour, he has one win, 93 top-25 finishes and has earned over $14 million.
Senden is a very consistent seasoned veteran.
He has only had one top-10 in 16 major championship events.
The odds may be in his favor for a good week this week at Olympic.
Hall of Fame member Vijay Singh has three major titles
Forty-nine-year old World Golf Hall of Fame member Vijay Singh has won 34 titles on the PGA Tour, including two PGA Championships and one Masters.
He was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour three times, was ranked No. 1 in the world for 32 weeks and has won 23 events since he turned 40.
His last win on the tour came in 2008, but he has only had six top-10s in his last 39 starts over the past two years.
Vijay is on the back nine of his career and, at 100/1 odds, is unlikely to add a U. S. Open title to his major triumphs.
Aaron Baddeley could use a major championship
Aaron Baddeley has been a member of the PGA Tour since 2003.
He has three wins on the PGA Tour and two more wins on the European Tour.
Aaron has 32 career top-10s on the PGA Tour and has earned over $15 million.
He is now 31 years old and is high up on the list of really good players never to win a major.
Baddeley has one of the premier short games in the world and is annually one of the leaders on tour in putting statistics.
Ladbrokes has him rated at 100/1 odds.
If he can keep his driver in play, he is always a threat, and this could be his year to get the major monkey off of his back.
Olympic just could be his type of golf course.
Charles Howell has two PGA Tour wins
Charles Howell won $1.5 million in 2001 and was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year even though he was not a full PGA Tour member.
He has been runner-up 13 times, has 59 top-10s and 135 top-25's in 350 PGA Tour starts. Thirty-eight percent top-25's in his career is a very good statistic.
"Chucky Three Sticks" has been a very good player for a long time.
He has never had a top-10 finish in the U. S. Open and, as a 100/1 shot, probably will not break that trend in 2012.
Olympic may be a bit long for him.
Fredrik Jacobson has one PGA Tour win
Fredrik Jacobson is another 100/1 shot to get his first major win.
He won last year at the Travelers Championship and has three wins on the European Tour.
He has not had a top-10 thus far in 2012, but he has made eight of nine cuts.
Freddie Yock's long game is somewhat suspect, and he depends on his short game to save pars and keep him in the game.
A course set up that puts a high premium on short game like Olympic could help Jacobson, but he would have to be at his very best for all four days to be in contention.
It is hard to imagine Freddie getting his first major victory at Olympic.
Francesco Molinari won the 2012 Reale Seguros Open de Espana in May
Francesco Molinari is coming off of his third European Tour win just last month at the Reale Seguros Open de Espana.
He had a T-19 at the 2012 Masters, but has not had a particularly stellar record in the majors with seven missed cuts in 13 events and only one top-10.
Although he is a world-class player with a solid all-around game, at 80/1, odds are the 2012 U. S. Open does not figure to be his first major victory.
Peter Hanson held the 54 hole lead at the 2012 Masters and eventually finished T-3
Rated at 80/1 by Ladbrokes, Peter Hanson has had a very good year thus far.
He held the 54-hole lead at the Masters and finished T-3. He posted a fourth place at the WGC-Cadillac at Doral and a fifth at the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Hanson has four wins on the European tour and accepted membership to the PGA Tour earlier this year.
He is experienced and has a solid all-around game.
Hanson had a T-7 at the 2011 U. S. Open at Congressional.
He seems to have the confidence and the game to perform well in the big events.
He may be a good bet to break through at Olympic.
Bill Haas won the 2011 Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup
Bill Haas won the 2011 Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup and the big $10 million check.
The shot he pulled off from the water on the 71st hole during the Tour Championship was phenomenal.
He also started 2012 out with a playoff win at the Northern Trust at Riviera over 2011 PGA Champ Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, who had just won the week prior at Pebble Beach.
Haas joined the tour in 2006 and has four PGA Tour wins.
He is experienced, likes the big spotlight and can perform under pressure.
At 80/1 odds, he may be someone to consider when putting down the odd quid.
David Toms already has a PGA Championship at home
What's not to like about David Toms?
He keeps the ball in play, is a great iron player and still has a smooth flowing putting stroke.
He has 13 PGA Tour wins, another 14 runner-up finishes and has won over $38 million during his 20 years on tour.
In addition to winning the 2001 PGA Championship, he has had top-10s in all of the majors over the years.
Toms was runner-up at the 2011 Players losing in a playoff and then came back the very next week and won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Over the last two years, he has not missed a cut, had nine top-10s and 18 top-25's in 35 events.
That, my friends, is consistency.
Do not be surprised to see the 45-year-old, 80/1 shot, be in contention come Sunday at Olympic.
A U. S. Open would cement his election to the Hall of Fame.
Padraig Harrington has three major titles
At age 40, Padraig Harrington has two Claret Jugs and a Wanamaker Trophy on his mantle.
He has had five PGA Tour wins and 14 European Tour wins.
Paddy has struggled for the last few years, however. His last win was the 2008 PGA Championship.
He has shown some signs of improvement lately and has two top-10s in 2012 plus four top-25's in just nine events on the PGA Tour.
Harrington has a tremendous short game, but has struggled with the driver and irons of late.
If he can get his long game in check, this 80/1 shot could be someone to consider for the U. S. Open.
K J Choi won the 2011 Players Championship
K J Choi has eight wins on the PGA Tour since becoming a member in 2000.
His biggest win was the the playoff win at the 2011 Players Championship over David Toms.
Choi has won at some historic tracks like Olympic. He won in 2007 at both Muirfield Village and Congressional.
Both courses bear some resemblance to Olympic Club.
He is never flashy, solid off the tee, accurate with the irons and capable on the greens.
At age 42, you know this veteran wants a major trophy in his career stats.
Choi is another 80/1 shot that could be worth a small wager.
Brandt Snedeker won the 2012 Farmers Insurance Classic
Brandt Snedeker was able to pick up his third PGA Tour win earlier this year at the Farmers Insurance Classic at Torrey Pines when third-round leader Kyle Stanley struggled and imploded in the final round.
Snedeker is a great young player, but has had a myriad of injury problems over the past few years.
Most recently, he was forced to withdraw from the Memorial two weeks ago, and it is uncertain whether or not he will be able to join the field at the Olympic Club for the U. S. Open.
When healthy, Sneds can compete with anyone and has the all-around game to win a major championship.
He is rated at 80/1 for this year's U. S. Open.
Retief Goosen has two U. S. Open titles
Although Retief Goosen won the 2001 and the 2004 U. S. Open, he is rated at 80/1 to win the 2012 U. S. Open at Olympic Club.
Back then, he was one of the most accurate drivers of the ball and one of the best putters in the world on lightning-fast greens.
Over the years, he has had some back issues that have limited his practice and playing schedule.
In addition, his putting is not quite as sharp as it once was.
Goosen's last win came in 2008 at the Transitions Championship.
He has top-10s in all of the major championships, but at age 43, time and an achy back may prevent him from capturing a third U. S. Open trophy.
Ernie Els has two U. S. Open trophies and a Claret Jug
Ernie Els was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011, but that was about the only positive thing that happened in his golf last year.
He struggled and fell out of the top-50 in the world and became ineligible for the 2012 Masters.
Els dedicated himself in the offseason to improve in 2012, and improve he has.
He played a brutal schedule in February and March to try to earn a spot into the Masters.
Ernie suffered a heartbreaking loss at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March when he took the lead into the final nine holes, but a balky putter resulted in three bogeys and allowed Tiger Woods to slip by him for the win and deny him his ticket to the Masters.
In spite of that, Ernie has had a very strong 2012 and moved back to No. 43 in the world.
He is playing well, but his putting is still somewhat of a mystery and will probably not hold up to the fast and tricky greens at Olympic Club.
66/1 odds for Ernie Els is being kind.
Ian Poulter always stands out on the golf course
Ian Poulter has played on the European Tour since 2000 and has 11 wins on that tour.
He has been a member of the PGA Tour since 2005 and has one win, the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play.
He has had a nice year in 2012 with one third-place finish and two top-10s in just seven starts on the PGA Tour.
Poulter had some health problems early in the year that limited his schedule.
He is ranked No. 70 in the FedEx Cup standings and No. 27 on the OWGR.
Ian has been a top player for a long time and has total confidence in himself and his game.
He is not the longest driver of the ball, but is fairly accurate from the tee, has a solid iron game and an exceptional short game.
He is rated as a 66/1 favorite to win the U. S. Open.
That is probably a realistic number.
He possesses exactly the style of game that is needed to succeed at Olympic Club, but the odds are against him winning this week.
Bo Van Pelt has one top-ten in 18 major tournaments
Bo Van Pelt is one of those guys on the PGA Tour that makes a ton of cuts, finishes top-25 30 percent of the time and pockets a lot of checks.
He only has one PGA Tour win in over 300 starts, but has made over $16 million in his career.
Bo is having one of his best years in 2012 with five top-10s and eight top-25's in just 13 starts; plus, he fired a 64 on Sunday at Augusta National to propel him into a T-17 finish at the Masters.
Bo finished T-8 in the 2011 Masters for his lone top-10 in 18 major tournament starts.
He has a lot of game, but 66/1 odds seem a bit strong for him.
Geoff Ogilvy won the 2006 U. S. Open
Geoff Ogilvy has been there, done that.
He won the 2006 U. S. Open, two WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships and a WGC-Cadillac.
He has not had a great year in 2012, however.
He has made 12 of 13 cuts, but does not have a top-10 or even a top-25 this year on the PGA Tour.
Ogilvy is a big game hunter; he plays best when the prize is the best.
He has multiple top-10s in all of the major championships, and with a U. S. Open already on his resume', it could factor into the 2012 U. S. Open.
At 66/1 odds, Ogilvy could be just laying low and preparing to strike this week.
Nick Watney had two wins in 2011
Nick Watney had two wins and made over $5 million in earnings in 2011.
2012 has not been as kind to the tall, lanky, long-hitting Watney, however.
He only has two top-10s in 14 events and is No. 65 in the FedEx Cup.
Watney has won four times on the PGA Tour, but does not have that much experience in majors.
He does have the all-around game that is needed to contend in the big events, and one of his wins was in the 2011 WGC-Cadillac at Doral.
He can handle the best fields and the tough courses.
He is not playing his best golf right now, and at 66/1 this week, the odds are not in his favor.
Webb Simpson won twice in 2011
Webb Simpson won two tournaments, was runner-up three times and had 12 top-10s in 2011.
He won the next-to-last event in 2011, The McGladery Classic, to force Luke Donald to win the last event of the year to capture the PGA Money title.
He is also playing well in 2012 with four top-10s in 13 events, is No. 31 in the FedEx Cup and No. 13 in the world.
This will only be the fifth major championship that Simpson has played.
Lack of major tournament experience could be a huge factor this week.
At 66/1 odds, Webb is definitely a long shot.
Louis Oosthuizen won the 2010 Open Championship
Louis Oosthuizen is rated at 50/1 to win the 2012 U. S. Open.
He had a much lower ranking prior to winning the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews.
The unassuming South African displayed a complete mastery of the old course even during the blustery winds that buffeted St Andrews during the week.
Louis has had two European Tour wins since winning his Claret Jug, was T-9 in the 2011 U. S. Open and was runner-up in the 2012 Masters.
His compact swing and strong game could show well at Olympic Club.
Don't forget Oosty when placing your bets.
Graeme McDowell captured the 2010 U. S. Open at Pebble Beach
Graeme McDowell won the 2010 U. S. Open at Pebble Beach.
He calmly hit fairways and greens for the victory.
McDowell has seven wins on the European Tour, but the U. S. Open is his lone PGA Tour win.
He has one runner-up finish this year and two top-10s, but has only played in eight events in America.
Graeme plays around the world, and the amount of travel seems to have taken a toll on his golf.
Limiting his schedule early in the year hopefully will leave him stronger for the U. S. Open.
He is rated at 50/1 odds of capturing a second major title and continue the Irish Mafia domination in the majors.
Jim Furyk won the 2010 FedEx Cup
Jim Furyk has been a consistent performer on the PGA Tour for over 20 years, is a top-25 machine and won the 2003 U. S. Open.
In 470 career events, he has 263 top-25 finishes.
He won the 2010 PGA Tour Championship and the $10 million FedEx Cup.
Furyk had one of his worst years in 2011 and rededicated himself in the offseason.
He addressed the areas of his golf game that needed improvement and is having a good 2012.
He is accurate off the tee, excellent with the irons and has a superior short game. All this should make Furyk one of the favorites heading into Olympic Club.
Rated 50/1 to win might be a little high for him.
I would rate Furyk as someone to watch at the U. S. Open
Charl Schwartzel accepts the Green Jacket from Phil Mickelson
Charl Schwartzel won the 2011 Masters by closing with four consecutive birdies.
It's hard to believe that he is only 27 years old. He seems to have the wisdom and confidence of a much older man.
Schwartzel has seven career wins on the European Tour.
He has played a limited schedule on the PGA Tour in 2012, but has two top-10s in only seven events.
Charl has an excellent record in the majors over the past two years. He has the game and the nerves for the big events.
He is rated at 50/1 for the U. S. Open this week. That may just be a bet to consider when making your wagers.
Sergio Garcia won twice in 2011
Sergio Garcia is rated at 50/1 to win at the Olympic Club.
He has the talent and ability to win every time he tees it up.
Sergio wears his heart on his sleeve and his emotions can affect his play.
After stepping away from the game for a few months, he returned and picked up two wins on the European Tour last fall.
Has Sergio returned?
Is he ready to compete again at the highest level?
Can he win a major championship?
Sergio is one of the best iron players to ever swing a golf club. If his putter will cooperate, he is capable of winning a U. S. Open.
The question with him is, will he be able to control his emotions and allow his talent to let him win a major.
Jason Day had two runner-ups in majors in 2011
Jason Day had 10 top-10s on the PGA Tour in 2011 and was runner-up in the 2011 Masters and 2011 U.S. Open.
He has not been able to repeat that strong showing thus far in 2012.
In his last four events, he has has two missed cuts and two T-9's.
He is not showing the consistency that he had last year.
He is a 50/1 shot to win the 2012 U. S. Open.
Will the confident, solid ball striking, Jason Day show up in San Francisco, or will he miss the cut?
Martin Kaymer won the 2010 PGA Championship
Martin Kaymer won the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits and ascended to the No. 1 ranking in the OWGR until he was unseated by Luke Donald in early 2011.
He had four wins worldwide in 2010, another win in January 2011 and one in November 2011.
Kaymer is still ranked at No. 10 in the OWGR.
He decided to make some swing changes that did not work out and has not been winning at the same clip as before.
He has a calm confident demeanor and a solid golf game.
Rated as a 50/1 shot for the U.S. Open, Kaymer could collect his second major title.
Zach Johnson won the Crowne Plaza in May
Zach Johnson just won his eighth PGA title in May at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. It was the second time he has won that event in the last three years.
Johnson is a control type player. He hits it extremely straight off of the tee, is a superb iron player with a tremendous short game and an adequate putter.
He is the type of player that could do very well at Olympic Golf Club.
Zach has had a very consistent career with 100 top-25 finishes in 226 events, and he is having a very good year with his win, four top-10s and is 13-for-13 in made cuts.
He already has a Green Jacket in his closet, so he knows how to win majors.
At 40/1 odds to win the U. S. Open, he could be a sound bet.
Bubba Watson won the 2012 Masters
Bubba Watson has had a very busy year. He won the 2012 Masters and adopted a baby boy into his family in April.
Bubba is one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour and has a knack for extricating himself from impossible situations.
Olympic will play long, and his length will be a plus, but it is also much tighter than Augusta National.
The USGA rough at Olympic will also make it important to keep the ball in the fairway.
Bubba took several weeks off after his win at the Masters and missed his first cut of the year at the Memorial in his return to the tour.
A 40/1 favorite to win this week, I think not.
Masters hang over, too much time off, plus severe USGA rough will make it too difficult for Bubba to win another major this week.
Keegan Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship
Keegan Bradley burst onto the PGA Tour with wins at the HP Byron Nelson Invitational and the PGA Championship in 2011.
The PGA was the first major tournament that he had played.
He collected a T-27 at the 2012 Masters.
He lost the Northern Trust at Riviera earlier this year in a playoff with Bill Haas and Phil Mickelson.
Bradley has not shown very good form, heading into the U. S. Open with three missed cuts and a T-24 as is highest finish in his last six starts.
Keegan is rated by Ladbrokes as a 40/1 favorite this week.
Steve Stricker has won everything except a major
Steve Stricker has 12 career PGA Tour wins, 10 runner-ups and 10 third-place finishes.
He has finished in the top 10 in nearly 25 percent of the tournaments that he has played.
He is the ultimate in consistency and has won everything in golf except for that elusive major trophy.
Lee Janzen won a U.S. Open at Olympic Club, and Steve Stricker's game is very similar to the way that Janzen played in his prime.
Strix is a very solid bet at 40/1 indeed.
Adam Scott needs a major championship
Adam Scott has eight career wins on the PGA Tour, eight wins on the European Tour and is ranked No. 17 on the OWGR.
The 12-year veteran is one of the leading players in golf year after year, but he has not won a major.
Scott has the complete game to win anywhere. At 31 years old, his time is now.
Can he win a major? The short answer is yes.
Will he win the U. S. Open this week?
He is rated as a 40/1 favorite by Ladbrokes.
He has had a T-15, missed cut and T-46 in his last three events on the PGA Tour.
It does not appear that Adam Scott will get his first major at Olympic Club this week.
Dustin Johnson has major experience
Dustin Johnson has had some nasty experiences in major championships.
There was the mishap with the bunker at Whistling Straits in the 2010 PGA Championship, and that ugly 80 in the final round in the 2010 U. S. Open at Pebble Beach after he was the 54-hole leader.
Johnson has had multiple injury problems in 2012 that has limited his schedule.
The Memorial was his first event back, and he posted a T-19 and he is near the top of the leaderboard this week in Memphis.
He is rested and eager.
At 40/1 odds, Dustin Johnson is definitely worth a second glance when placing your wagers.
Rickie Fowler got his first PGA Tour win at the 2012 Wells Fargo
Rickie Fowler is only 23 years old and has become one of the leading men on the PGA Tour.
Kids idolize his backwards cap, bright Puma plumage and his flashy golf game.
He just picked up his first win at the 2012 Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow, a course not that dissimilar to Olympic Club.
Rickie has the length and short game to compete in major championships.
He is coming off a total drubbing by Tiger Woods when they were paired together at the Memorial on the last day.
Hopefully, Rickie learned something and will perform better the next time he is in that situation.
He is listed at 33/1 this week. He should probably be higher odds.
I am not sure this will be Rickie's week to get a major.
Justin Rose won the 2012 WGC-Cadillac at Doral
Justin Rose has made all 11 cuts, posted five top-10s and has a win at the WGC-Cadillac in 2012.
He has had multiple top-10s in his career in all of the majors except for the U. S. Open.
Rosie is playing some of the best golf of his career, and when he does, he has to be rated among the best in the world.
He is coming into the U. S. Open with three top-10s in his last four events.
He is ranked at No. 7 in the OWGR, and Ladbrokes is giving him 33/1 odds to win at Olympic Club.
He could be a solid choice to pick up his first major this week.
Hunter Mahan won the 2012 WGC-Accenture Match Play
Hunter Mahan has two wins in 2012, the WGC-Accenture Match Play and the Shell Houston Open.
He is ranked No. 2 on the FedEx Cup and No. 8 in the OWGR.
The 30-year-old Mahan is at the peak of his career and should be considered a favorite in the U. S. Open.
He is rated at 33/1, but, given the year he is having, could be rated better.
Matt Kuchar won the 2012 Players Championship
Matt Kuchar is ready to win a major championship and is playing very well heading into Olympic Club.
He won the 2012 Players and has made the cut in all 12 events that he has entered and has five top-10s.
He has been one of the most consistent golfers in the world over the past two years.
Kooch will get the ball to the green and, if he can get his putter to behave, may be a factor on Sunday afternoon.
He is rated a 33/1 favorite by Ladbrokes.
Jason Dufner is the hottest golfer right now
Jason Dufner got his first win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and got married the following week.
He posted a T-68 at the Players the next week while on his honeymoon, probably a little tired.
Then, he won his next start at the Byron Nelson and was runner-up the following week in the Crowne Plaza.
He has had a very busy 2012 and is the hottest golfer on the planet.
Lest we forget he was also runner-up at the PGA Championship, losing to Keegan Bradley in a playoff last year.
The unflappable Dufner is rated a 25/1 favorite at the U. S. Open.
He has to be on the very short list of possible candidates to pick up his first major at Olympic Club.
Phil beat Tiger by 11 shots at Pebble Beach
Phil Mickelson put on a show for the ages when he bested Tiger Woods by 11 shots at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February.
Phil got the win and a runner-up the very next week at Riviera losing in a playoff to Bill Haas.
Family health issues and his bout with arthritis have hampered his golf over the past three years, but he appears to be in top form this year and should be ready to contend at Olympic Club.
Phil has given a couple U. S. Opens away over the years, and you know he wants to get one of these things to round out his resume'.
He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in May.
Will this be Phil's year?
He is rated a 16/1 favorite to get his first U. S. Open win.
Luke Donald is looking for his first major
Luke Donald is ranked No. 1 in the world, but does not get the respect from the golf community because he lacks a major championship win.
He won the money titles on both the PGA and European Tours in 2011.
He has been going back and forth with Rory McIlroy this year for the No. 1 world ranking.
Luke started slowly in 2012, but collected his fifth career PGA Tour win at the Transitions Championship.
In his lasts three starts on tour, he has a third, a sixth and a 12th-place finish.
His short game is beyond super natural, but his driver could get him into trouble among the trees at Olympic Club.
Can he keep it out of the trees and get his first major win?
He is rated at 14/1 to win.
I wouldn't get against him this week.
Westwood won the European Tour's Nordea Scandinavian Masters
No. 3 in the world Lee Westwood has won 39 titles around the world, but has never been a major champion.
He, like Luke Donald, needs at least one major title to make their careers complete.
He will enter the U.S. Open this week in good form, as he won the Nordea Scandinavian Masters just last week.
Westwood has won 22 events on the European Tour and twice on the PGA Tour.
Since 2008, he has had eight top-10s in major events.
He hits the ball long and straight and is an excellent iron player, but his short game is sometimes lacking.
Chipping in the U. S. Open is critical, and that has usually been Westwood's nemesis.
He is rated a 12/1 favorite to win this week.
Can Westy finally get the major monkey off of his back?
Rory McIlroy won the 2011 U. S. Open
After his total collapse on the back nine in the 2011 Masters, Rory McIlroy came back to win the 2011 U. S. Open at Congressional by eight shots.
It was one of the most impressive wins in golf history.
He has continued to be a dominant player worldwide since and has been battling with Luke Donald for the No. 1 spot on the OWGR. Rory is currently second to Luke.
Rory has only played in seven events in 2012 on the PGA Tour, but won at the Honda Classic, has two runner-ups and a third-place finish.
At the Honda, he held off Tiger Woods, who fired a final round 62 to threaten McIlroy's lead.
Rory went through a mini-slump, missing three consecutive cuts in his last four events, but appears to be back on form and is contending this week at the St. Jude FedEx Classic in Memphis.
Missing the cut at the Memorial gave him some extra time to practice at the Olympic Club.
Rory is listed as a 12/1 favorite to defend his U. S. Open title.
He is definitely a threat to win whenever or wherever he tees it up.
Tiger Woods chipped in for birdie at the 16th hole on Sunday to win the Memoral
With two wins in 2012, Tiger Woods has thrust himself back onto the world stage in magnificent fashion.
He birdied three of his last four holes at Muirfield Village to get PGA Tour win No. 73 and tie Jack Nicklaus on the all-time wins list.
Tiger looked like he was getting his game in order after his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this year, but a missed cut at the Wells Fargo and two T-40's at the Masters and the Players proved otherwise.
He was in complete control of all aspects of his game for all four days at the Memorial and looked remarkably like the old Tiger Woods.
He was keeping his drives on the fairways, striking pure iron shots into the greens, displaying an impeccable short game and rolling in his share of putts.
If he can perform at the same level at Olympic Club that he exhibited at Muirfield Village, he will live up to his 6/1 odds as the favorite.
A win at this U. S. Open would be his major title No. 15 and get him one trophy closer to the all-time major titles record of 18 held by Jack Nicklaus.
The U. S. Open trophy is what they will playing for come Thursday
Tiger, Rory, Luke, Phil, and Lee have to be the odds on favorites to contend at Olympic Club.
Here are a few other names that may have a shot at the trophy this week.
Lucas Glover, 150/1, won a U. S. Open at Beth-Page Black just a few years ago. Injuries have sidelined him for most of the year but he should be fit and ready for this week.
Stewart Cink, 150/1, won a British Open Claret Jug, plays hard courses very well and may be ready to get back to the winner circle.
Mark Wilson, 150/1, plays a control style of game and has multiple wins on the PGA Tour over the past two years.
Y. E. Yang, 150/1, beat Tiger Woods to win the 2009 PGA Championship, and was T-3 in the 2011 U. S. Open. He is another control style of player who does well on tough golf courses when par really means something.
Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Bill Haas, and Keegan Bradley are all playing well.
Mix in a Rory, Luke, and Lee plus add some veterans like, Tiger and Phil.
It should be a very tasty U. S. Open at Olympic Club indeed.