US Open Golf Predictions 2013: Why an Underdog Is Destined to Win at Merion

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJune 12, 2013

ARDMORE, PA - JUNE 11:  Tiger Woods of the United States looks on during a practice round prior to the start of the 113th U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club on June 11, 2013 in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Don't bother scanning the favorites to find the winner for the 113th U.S. Open. The winner is going to be an underdog. 

According to Bovada on June 11, there are 10 players with odds at 28/1 or lower. I'm considering everyone outside of this top 10 an underdog. The top 10, in order, are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell, Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charl Schwartzel and Lee Westwood. 

Six of these 10 already have at least one major victory under their belts (Woods, Mickelson, McDowell, McIlroy, Scott and Schwartzel). 

Right off the bat, this group has the odds stacked against them. Six of the last nine major winners have been first timers. 

Let's dig deeper, though. 

Sure, Tiger Woods has been dominant this year, but he still hasn't won a major since 2008, and his putting has been in a steady decline since the Masters. His last time out, at the Memorial, he finished at -1.190 in strokes gained-putting.

Mickelson has never won the U.S. Open. He's had some close calls, but his lack of accuracy off the tee typically dooms him. Also, he has been erratic this year.

McDowell has the perfect game for U.S. Opens. However, he was 96th his last time out in the European Tour's PGA Championship, and he missed the cut his time out before that in the Players. 

Kuchar has yet to win a major. He's been solid, but he is just 134th in driving accuracy, and that will be key at the Merion Golf Club. Also, he won his last time out, and for any golfer not named Tiger Woods, winning back-to-back starts is nearly impossible. 

McIlroy has been extremely wild this year and has yet to pick up a win. He's been struggling with his putter lately, and he finished 56th and 96th in his last two starts. 

Scott is just 90th in driving accuracy and 49th in strokes gained-putting. Again, this does not bode well for Merion. Also, it is another nearly impossible task for a player to win two majors in a row. 

Rose has had a fine season, but he is just 156th in strokes gained-putting. Also, he missed the cut at the Players, which requires an approach similar to what will be needed at Merion. 

Snedeker has done nothing to show he can hold it together while in contention on Sunday at a major, and he's been wildly inconsistent since returning from his rib injury.

Schwartzel has had a solid year, but he is just 93rd in driving accuracy and has just one top-10 finish in his six trips to the U.S. Open.

Then there's Lee Westwood—who is still Lee Westwood. He is supremely talented and typically finds a way to work himself into contention in majors, but he has shown nothing to indicate he can cross that final hump and win one.

So, we are left with a massive pile of underdogs from which to choose a winner. The field is deep and talented. I like the chances of both Hunter Mahan and Billy Horschel, and I wouldn't be shocked to see Ernie Els relive some U.S. Open glory. 

I'm not confident in any one pick, but I do know there will be an underdog winner. 

*All stats via