Anticipation is building to a crescendo for the 2013 U.S. Open, and to nobody's surprise Tiger Woods goes into the second major tournament of the year as the heavy betting favorite.
The tournament is being held at the Merion Golf Club's East Course—a legendary venue designed by Hugh Irvine Wilson that has hosted four previous U.S. Opens.
Though it measures in at under 7,000 yards, Merion's East Course has earned the respect and admiration of many of golf's greatest stars, including Jack Nicklaus, who said, "Acre for acre, [Merion] may be the best test of golf in the world."
The U.S. Open is always a difficult tournament, and this year will prove no different. Here is a look at what kind of odds they're being given to win the 2013 U.S. Open:
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Note: Odds courtesy of Bovada as of 4 p.m. ET on Monday, June 10.
Before you place your bets, though, here are a few factors you might want to consider.
Rain, Rain, Go Away, Wishes the USGA
Weather has become a huge factor in this upcoming tournament, as the leftovers from Tropical Storm Andrea have hammered the course with three-and-a-half inches of rain, according to ESPN.com's Bob Harig.
With more rain in the forecast, the conditions the USGA prefers for its U.S. Open tournaments won't be possible. This tournament is typically the toughest test the players face all year long, just as the USGA strives to make it so.
Greens typically resemble some sort of green concrete, which leads to some good-looking shots that end up bouncing into trouble. Pin-point accuracy is the only way to combat these conditions, but this year, instead of rock-hard greens as smooth as glass, the contestants will be hitting into receptive, soft greens.
This means golfers who may not be adept at hitting towering shots that land softly on hard greens will have a chance to shoot some low numbers hitting into a receptive surface.
Throw the Odds Out the Window and Bet with Your Gut
Rory McIlroy has the second-best odds to win the 2013 U.S. Open, but there are plenty of golfers who have a better shot to win.
McIlroy has been struggling badly of late, missing the cut at the BMW Championship and nearly missing the cut at the Memorial a couple weeks ago. He isn't making putts, and his driving accuracy comes and goes—and when it goes, it really goes.
McIlroy isn't the only top golfer with good odds you'd be smart to avoid, either. Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson are always given decent odds to win, but neither of them looks good heading into the Open.
You'd be smart to consider some of the long shots—someone you've been watching and feel good about—rather than go with the popular choices.
When in Doubt, Bet on Tiger Woods
Odds mean nothing, but there's no doubt Woods is playing better than anyone else on the PGA Tour this year—his poor outing at the Memorial notwithstanding.
Winner of four tournaments in eight events entered and five top-four finishes, Woods brings confidence and competence into Merion for the U.S. Open.
Tiger has been brilliant with his putter at times this year, and he'll have a huge advantage on the long par-threes and par-fours, given his ability to hit short clubs a long way.
While he's not quite on the same level he used to be, when you'd take him over the entire field, Woods is still the best golfer on the planet. Furthermore, after a five-year major drought, he's due to win a big one.
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