It's important to note that a betting favorite doesn't always win. In the past five years, underdogs have claimed the U.S. Open three times—Lucas Glover in 2009, Graeme McDowell in 2010 and Webb Simpson in 2012.
U.S. Open Odds for Top Contenders
Odds courtesy of Bovada and current as of 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 12.
The site of this year's U.S. Open is Merion Golf Club's famous East Course—the famed venue that saw Ben Hogan hit a gorgeous 1-iron on No. 18 to set up his win in 1950. It's also the course Jack Nicklaus lauded, saying, "Acre for acre, [Merion] may be the best test of golf in the world."
These soggy conditions will inevitably lead to some low scores, as the greens will be highly receptive and soft. That said, the rough will be all the more burly and difficult to escape, which means accuracy off the tee will be a huge factor.
Here's a closer look at the three men considered by Vegas to have the best odds of winning this year's U.S. Open.
Tiger Woods (5-1 Odds)
The way Woods has played this year, it's certainly not a surprise that he's heavily favored to win the U.S. Open.
With four wins and a fourth-place finish at the Masters in just eight PGA Tour events, Woods has dominated his competition this year. Only one other golfer has more than one victory this year (Kuchar, with two).
Simply put, Woods has turned back the clock.
The only thing he's yet to do to get back to where he was before his game fell apart in the wake of his broken marriage is win a major championship.
It won't be long before his current five-year drought is nothing more than a footnote in the annals of golf history.
Woods is due for a major victory, and this weekend is as good a time as any.
Prediction: Woods will finish in the top five—if not win.
Phil Mickelson (18-1 Odds)
Mickelson has had a series of near-misses at U.S. Opens in the past but has never won. He has nine career top-10 finishes, including five second-place finishes. Lefty is also coming off an impressive second-place finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, and he has one victory under his belt this season.
It's easy to see why he's being given such favorable odds to win, but a closer examination of some key stats suggests Mickelson will struggle to make the cut this weekend.
In his last two starts at U.S. Opens, Lefty has failed to finish in the top 50.
His last four major championships have generated disappointing results—a 65th-place finish at the 2012 U.S. Open, missed cut at The Open Championship last year, 36th-place finish at the 2012 PGA Championship and a 54th-place finish at the Masters this year.
Mickelson also fails to his fairways off the tee at a horrendous rate—his 53.85 percent FIR rate ranks No. 160 on the PGA Tour. Even in last week's strong showing at TPC Southwind, Mickelson hit just over 55 percent of fairways off the tee.
Unless Lefty seriously turns things around this weekend, he's not going to be anywhere near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday, and he may not even make the cut.
Prediction: Mickelson will struggle to make the cut, and he'll finish outside the top 50 if he makes it to the weekend.
Matt Kuchar (18-1 Odds)
As hot as Woods has been this season, nobody can hold a candle to Kuchar the past few weeks.
In his last two events, Kuchar finished in second place behind Boo Weekley at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and then won the Memorial Tournament, despite gusty conditions that caused many of the top players in the world to struggle.
Though Kuchar traditionally struggles at the U.S. Open, having finished in the top 10 just once, his game is on point right now. In his final round at Muirfield Village, Kuchar was nearly flawless from tee to green on his way to victory, as noted by Plane Truth Golf:
Furthermore, Kuchar has always been a phenomenal putter. He ranks No. 13 on tour in the "strokes gained-putting" stat and has been rolling the ball beautifully of late.
Kuchar isn't as flashy as Woods or Mickelson, but his steady play will give him as good a chance as any golfer to win this weekend.
Prediction: Kuchar will finish in the top 10.
Note: All stats courtesy of PGATour.com
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