It’s finally time to start putting your money on a golfer who you think is going to win the 2013 U.S. Open, but I’m here to let you know who you shouldn’t take your checkbook out for.
Which of these contenders is the riskiest bet?
Tiger Woods, who seeks his 15th career major victory, is the clear-cut favorite to win this weekend at Merion Golf Club. Betting on Tiger to win might be a smart decision, but it could be someone else raising the trophy just as easily. But after Woods, there’s quite the pack of stars who all have similar odds to win.
With nine contenders all in the same boat after Woods, it may seem overwhelming when deciding which golfer will win the U.S. Open. This is one of the toughest tournaments to predict and you never know who’s going to step up at a major and who won’t be able to handle the pressure.
Here are three stars who have good odds to win this weekend at Merion, but are also golfers who you should be wary about putting your money on.
*All odds are current as of 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 11 and are courtesy of Bovada.
U.S. Open Odds for Top Contenders (visit Bovada for full listing)
Phil Mickelson, 16-1 Odds
Mickelson currently has the second-best odds of any other golfer entering the weekend at Merion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should empty your pockets hoping for a victory. No other golfer is better at finishing second at the U.S. Open than Mickelson. That’s a fact, not an opinion.
Mickelson has never won the U.S. Open, but has finished in second place five times throughout his career. His five second-place finishes are more than any other golfer ever. The last two years, Lefty has played very poorly, finishing tied for 54th and 65th, respectively. Before that, he had back-to-back top-four finishes.
While Mickelson has played well from time to time this season, he hasn’t been impressive at the bigger tournaments. He finished tied for 60th at Pebble Peach and tied for 54th at the Masters. He failed to make it to the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational as well at the Players Championship.
Mickelson is coming off a fine performance at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, but based on how he’s played in the important tournaments of the year and that he’s never been able to get over the hump at the U.S. Open in the past, it’s not worth betting on Lefty.
Graeme McDowell, 20-1 Odds
Behind Tiger and Phil, there are three golfers with 20-1 odds to win the U.S. Open, and if there’s one of the three that you should stray away from betting on, it’s Graeme McDowell. McDowell is one of the few golfers at Merion who have played the tournament well the last few years.
McDowell won it all back in 2010 and followed his victory up with a tie for 14th a year later. He bounced back into the top five again last year, finishing tied for second place. While you may think he’d be in good shape entering the 113th U.S. Open, his most recent performances say otherwise.
After getting cut at the Northern Trust Open, McDowell started to play fantastic golf—finishing in the top 10 in three straight tournaments. Then he was two-over at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which left him tied for 45th. He tied for second at an unofficial event and then was cut at the Masters.
McDowell rebounded with a playoff victory over Webb Simpson in mid-April at the RBC Heritage, but was cut three weeks later at the Players Championship. McDowell hasn’t played since getting cut and should be properly rested. Whether he ends up playing well this weekend remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Justin Rose, 22-1 Odds
Justin Rose has had an up-and-down road at the U.S. Open in the past. He played his first Open back in 2003 and ended up tying for fifth place, but he was cut the next year. After missing the tournament in 2005 and 2006, Rose finished tied for 10th. The last five years for Rose haven’t been pretty, though.
Rose was cut in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009 and then missed 2010 altogether. After taking the U.S. Open off the year prior, Rose was cut again two years ago. Last year, Rose made it back to the weekend for the first time in five years, finishing the tournament in a tie for 21st.
This season, Rose was looking like he was going to be up there with some of the best golfers in the world, finishing in the top 10 in four of the first five tournaments he played in. However, things didn’t go so well at the Masters, albeit making it to the weekend, but still finishing tied for 25th.
Rose has been inconsistent ever since the Masters. He was 12-under at the Zurich Classic, but was cut two weeks later at the Players Championship. After not playing for nearly a full month, Rose tied for eighth place at the Memorial Tournament.
Rose doesn’t look to be a strong candidate to win at Merion this weekend.