Early Odds to Win the 2014 US Open Post-Masters
With the first golf major of 2014 in the books, it's already time to look ahead to the 114th U.S. Open, which will be played this June at Pinehurst.
Last year, it was Justin Rose who walked away with the U.S. Open Championship trophy, and this year the 33-year-old Brit will be trying to defend his title. He will face steep competition, though. There are 11 former champions who are expected to be in the field, including Angel Cabrera, Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson and, if healthy, Tiger Woods.
Phil Mickelson, who is still looking for his first U.S. Open victory after finishing second six times, is expected to be there, as is Adam Scott and this year's Masters champion Bubba Watson.
There's no runaway favorite, but there are plenty of great golfers who have a solid shot at taking the title. Here's an early look at the U.S. Open odds, based on the odds from Oddschecker at the beginning of the year and the results so far this season.
Odds to Win: 30-1
Matt Kuchar has had a great season. The seventh-best golfer in the world according to the rankings, Kuchar has six top-10 finishes this year, including three straight in the top five. He finished tied for fifth at the Masters thanks to a 68 on Saturday, his second-best finish ever at Augusta.
The 35-year-old's best finish at the U.S. Open was tied for sixth back in 2010. After Kuchar's great season, his odds to win his first major have increased.
Odds to Win: 25-1
Jason Day had a chance to become the No. 1 golfer in the world at the Masters, but the Australian never could play his best golf at Augusta and finished tied for 20th. Still, Day is one of the best golfers out there without a major, and his time is bound to come soon.
The 26-year-old has been a runner-up at the majors three times in his career, including two out of the past three years at the U.S. Open. Day had been struggling with a thumb injury earlier this year and was a bit rusty at the Masters, but he should be back in good form in two months. Expect him to be a major factor in Pinehurst.
Odds to Win: 20-1
Bubba Watson won the second major of his career at the Masters this year, and both of them have come with green jackets. Now Watson will try to diversify his portfolio and win his first U.S. Open title.
Watson's best U.S. Open finish was a tie for fifth at the 2007 tournament. In the six years since that, he's missed the cut twice and finished inside the top 20 only once, a tie for 18th in 2009. In 2012, after he won his first Masters, he missed the cut at the U.S. Open. However, this year Watson is more experienced and more comfortable in the spotlight, so the 35-year-old should be poised to be a big factor at Pinehurst.
Odds to Win: 18-1
Until Tiger Woods officially pulls out of the U.S. Open, he has to be considered a betting factor. It's just clear after the back surgery that took him out of the Masters this year that Woods will not be the favorite heading into Pinehurst.
Woods has said that if his recovery goes according to plan, he will be hitting the greens in early May, and he expects to be back competing during the summer. With that timeline, his presence at this year's U.S. Open is very much in question. Woods has won the U.S. Open three times, including 2008, which was the last time he won any major. It's been six long and tumultuous years for Tiger, but the man with 14 majors can never be counted completely out.
Odds to Win: 18-1
Oh, Phil. The five-time major champion has been a runner-up at the U.S. Open six times in his career, including last year and 1999, when the tournament was also held at Pinehurst. He has won the three other majors but is still seeking his first U.S. Open victory.
Mickelson did not have a good Masters, failing to make the cut after a pair of triple bogeys. But he is just getting back to full health after back problems earlier this year and should have the tournament play he needs by the time the U.S. Open rolls around.
Odds to Win: 33-2
Jordan Spieth had a coming-out party at the Masters this year. The 20-year-old proved that he was a lot more than just the 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year—he's a real contender at the majors. Spieth finished tied for second as a rookie at Augusta National.
Last year's U.S. Open was Spieth's first major as a pro, and he failed to make the cut. But Spieth has come quite a long way in a year. He won his first PGA title last July and has quickly risen to 13th in the rankings. His performance at the Masters wasn't a fluke, it was a sign of all of the great things to come.
Odds to Win: 16-1
Last year's Masters champion had to give away his title to Bubba Watson this year, and the sting of defeat will surely make him hungry come U.S. Open time. Still, the Aussie has struggled at the U.S. Open in his career. It's the only major he doesn't have a top-five finish in, with his best result being a tie for 15th two years ago.
Scott finished tied for 14th at the Masters this year, failing to score under par the final three days of competition. The 16-1 odds for Scott set by Bovada at the beginning of the year still feel appropriate.
Odds to Win: 14-1
Rory McIlroy won his first major at the U.S. Open back in 2011, and although he has struggled at the tournament the past two years, his game is back on track this season. The two-time major champion is one of the favorites to win his third.
McIlroy was the favorite at the Masters, but he struggled early and barely made the cut. However, he got his game back on track over the weekend, shooting four under par on Saturday and Sunday and finishing in a surprising tie for eighth. McIlroy has the talent to be one of the favorites wherever he plays, and the 24-year-old's determination to win another major early in his career will suit him well at Pinehurst.