U.S. Open Odds 2016: Favorites to Win the Championship Trophy

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2016

U.S. Open Odds 2016: Favorites to Win the Championship Trophy

0 of 9

    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    Father's Day is a week away.

    And for golf fans, that means U.S. Open time is nearer still.

    The best golfers in the world are flocking to Oakmont Country Club in suburban Pittsburgh to see if the 2016 event can match the drama of 2015, when Jordan Spieth won his second straight major after Dustin Johnson's putting meltdown on the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay.

    Spieth, the world's No. 3 player, will attempt to repeat his victory and earn a third career major. But he's merely one of a pack of the sport's superstars aiming to attend a trophy ceremony come Sunday.

    According to Odds Shark, here are the favorites to win the 2016 U.S. Open.

Hideki Matsuyama

1 of 9

    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 33-1

    Best U.S. Open Finish: T10 (2013)

    Season Highlights

    Consistency has been the name of Hideki Matsuyama's game during the 2015-16 PGA Tour season, which has seen him play 14 events.

    He's made 11 cuts, placed in the top 25 nine times, the top 10 five times and recorded one victory—in a playoff over Rickie Fowler at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    Why He’ll Win

    Two of Matsuyama's top-10 finishes this season came in two of the biggest events—the Masters (T7) and the Players Championship (T7)—which indicates he's not likely to shrink in the spotlight.

    And after defeating Fowler for his tournament win in February, CBS Sports' Robby Kalland suggested his name be included on lists of the sport's best 20-something talent.

    "Matsuyama doesn't get discussed the same way as the top young stars in the sport," he said. "But it's time to start looking at the 23-year-old from Japan as one of the leaders in the second-tier of young PGA Tour stars behind Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler."

    He leads the PGA Tour in birdies or better on par fours (22.27 percent) and is eighth in putting average (1.722).

Phil Mickelson

2 of 9

    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 33-1

    Best U.S. Open Finish: 2nd/T2 (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2013)

    Season Highlights

    A tie for fourth at the Wells Fargo Championship in May and a tie for 20th at the Memorial in early June are two of Phil Mickelson's eight top-25 placements in 13 events this season.

    He missed the cut at both the Masters and the Players Championship but was second at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February and tied for third at the CareerBuilder Challenge a month prior.

    Why He’ll Win

    Mickelson is a surefire Hall of Famer with a single hole on the career resume—the U.S. Open.

    He's either tied for second or taken the No. 2 slot outright six times, most recently three years ago.

    And though his efforts at Oakmont have produced a tie for 47th (1994) and a missed cut (2007), his overall street cred on USGA-prepped courses means he ought to be considered a factor until he plays himself out of contention.  

    Playing partner Brendan Steele said on the Golf.com podcast that a Lefty victory wouldn't at all be a shock.

    "Absolutely (he can win)," he said. "I've played a lot with Phil over the last six years, and this year especially. When we're playing at home, he looks really good. He's been driving the ball straighter than I've ever seen him do it before and he's been putting better than I've ever seen, which is a great combination."

Adam Scott

3 of 9

    Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

    Odds to Win: 28-1

    Best U.S. Open Finish: T4 (2015)

    Season Highlights

    Getting the world's eighth-ranked player at 28-1 odds would typically feel good, but it's an even better proposition considering how Adam Scott's been playing this season.

    The 35-year-old Australian is 12-for-12 in made cuts and has four top-10 finishes, including second-place showings at the CIMB Classic and the Northern Trust Open and consecutive wins at the Honda Classic and the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in late February and early March.

    Why He’ll Win

    Scott will share threesome space with fellow Aussie and world No. 1 Jason Day for the first 36 holes, which should have his competitive engines revved right from the start.

    He missed the cut the last time the U.S. Open came to Oakmont in 2007 but has turned in ties for ninth and fourth in the last two events and is ready for the Oakmont challenge again.

    “It is very severe,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac. “It’s not a course I’d want to play every day of my life because it is so difficult. But that’s what the U.S. Open is all about.”

Rickie Fowler

4 of 9

    Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

    Odds to Win: 22-1

    Best U.S. Open Finish: T2 (2014)

    Season Highlights

    If the "Best Player to Never Win the U.S. Open" race has a 20-something division, chances are good that Rickie Fowler leads the pack.

    Now 27, he was tied for second at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014 and has actually managed top-five efforts at each of the four majors in his career, without winning any.

    He's come in second place and has six top-10 finishes in 14 events this season, though a tie for fourth at the Wells Fargo Championship in May was followed by consecutive missed cuts at the Players Championship and the Memorial in his two most recent events.

    Why He’ll Win

    The missed cuts are a smudge on the year's resume, but closer inspection reveals they may not be so ugly after all.

    Fowler shot 72-71 to miss the weekend at the Players, and a first-round 75 at the Memorial was enough to offset the 69 he came back with on Day 2.

    He's third for the season in greens in regulation percentage (71.45), so a hot few days with the putter could put him squarely in contention come Sunday.

    "The game actually feels really good,'' Fowler told GolfChannel.com's Doug Ferguson after the Memorial. "Just tighten things up and definitely need to get the flat stick happy and ready to go."

Justin Rose

5 of 9

    Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

    Odds to Win: 20-1

    Best U.S. Open Finish: 1st (2013)

    Season Highlights

    Nine made cuts, eight top-25 finishes and a third-place finish at the Wells Fargo Championship in early May have highlighted a consistent 2015-16 season from the 35-year-old Englishman, who's ranked 10th in the world.

    He's been exceptional from the sand (63.49 save percentage) and on par fives (55 percent birdies or better), which have helped keep him in contention most weeks.

    Why He’ll Win

    He won the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, tied for 10th when the tournament was last played at Oakmont nine years ago and sees a lot of similarities between the two courses.

    So is it any wonder Rose is feeling good about his chances?

    "It's a tournament that I am really relishing and looking forward to," he told Phil Casey of the Press Association (via the Daily Mail). "I feel like it's a course that could suit me. I feel like most U.S. Open courses suit the way I try to go about things and all eyes are on that prize right now."

Dustin Johnson

6 of 9

    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 14-1

    Best U.S. Open Finish: T2 (2015)

    Season Highlights

    Dustin Johnson has played 12 tournaments, made 12 cuts and racked up nearly $3 million in winnings this season, which has been topped off by third-place finishes at the Shell Houston Open and the Memorial Tournament—two of his last five pre-U.S. Open events.

    He's third on the PGA Tour in driving distance (308.6 yards), second in birdie average (4.73) and has the tour's longest active streak of cuts made (20).

    Why He’ll Win

    Three top-10 finishes in eight career U.S. Open appearances mean Johnson is an annual factor, even though his paths to those finishes haven't exactly ended well.

    Last year's three-putt from 12 feet handed Jordan Spieth the title, but the soon-to-be 32-year-old Johnson has repeatedly shown mental toughness even after spotlight disasters.

    It's a quality another player familiar with disappointment, Jim Furyk, has noticed.

    “I don’t think DJ sits at home reading golf magazines or plowing through the Internet to see what people say about him,” Furyk told Golf.com's Gary Van Sickle. “If it lingers, it can’t do anything positive for you. You think about it, learn from it and move on, and I believe Dustin does that. He reminds me of an NFL cornerback, a guy who brushes off a mistake.”

Jordan Spieth

7 of 9

    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Odds to Win: 8-1

    Best U.S. Open Finish: 1st (2015)

    Season Highlights

    Making 11 cuts in 13 tournaments while winning twice, finishing second once and earning more than $4 million would be just fine for most players.

    This just in: Jordan Spieth isn't most players.

    He's dropped to second in the world rankings behind Jason Day but is first on the PGA Tour this season in scoring average (69.719), birdie average (4.80) and putts per round (27.55).

    Why He’ll Win

    It wasn't that long ago that Spieth as the third-best pick at a major seemed ridiculous.

    He won two big trophies—the Masters and the U.S. Open—last season and was within striking distance for all four rounds in the other two. He picked up where he left off in April and had a five-shot lead in the final round at Augusta before one of the tournament's historically epic collapses.

    Which makes people wonder if he's ready again to dominate or if he's too rattled to contend.

    His contention, as he recently told Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post, is the former. 

    “I have put it behind me,” he said. "Sure, I can be more focused on picking conservative spots and just trying to show an extra level of patience that maybe slipped my mind that day. (But) I’m ready to move on.”

Rory McIlroy

8 of 9

    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Odds to Win: 13-2

    Best U.S. Open Finish: 1st (2011)

    Season Highlights

    Seven straight made cuts have included four finishes in the top four, which means Rory McIlroy's game is rounding into shape just in time for his first U.S. Open trip to Oakmont.

    He is fourth on the PGA Tour in both scoring average (69.836) and birdie average (4.66) this season and is the best overall scorer on par fives (4.47).

    Why He’ll Win

    He won the event in 2011 and has been in the top 10 in three of the four majors he's played since winning the British Open and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    And given that he's had to transition from the sport's premier player to simply a member of its Big Three along with Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, it's no wonder the Northern Irishman sounds as competitively stoked as ever.

    Blend that with the confidence he expressed to the Daily Star's Tony Stenson, and it means he'll be a tough out:

    Oakmont looks like an awesome golf course It’s going to be tough. It looks unbelievably hard and it will reward very good ball-striking. Off the tee I was really good and I feel my putting improved a lot. I’m hitting the driver great. It comes more from confidence than anything else—that I can stand on the tee box, aim down the middle of the fairway and swing as hard as I can really.

Jason Day

9 of 9

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Odds to Win: 6-1

    Best U.S. Open Finish: 2nd/T2 (2011, 2013)

    Season Highlights

    Jason Day is the world's top player, and he's been playing like it all through 2016.

    He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play events on consecutive weekends in March, then made it three victories in 10 tournaments with a wire-to-wire win at the Players Championship in May.

    The short game has separated him statistically from everyone else this season, as evidenced by a 64.62 sand-save percentage, a 45.5 one-putt percentage and a remarkable 99.32-percent clip on putts of three feet or less.

    Why He’ll Win

    Day was the favorite at the Masters and finished tied for 10th after four straight rounds in the 70s, and he'll arrive at Oakmont as the favorite after two top-five finishes in four subsequent tournaments—including the win at the Players.

    His U.S. Open performance last season was memorable for its grit after he suffered vertigo symptoms but still managed to hold a share of the 54-hole lead.

    With a clean bill of health, he's the best player each week until someone proves otherwise.

    "Everyone is expecting you each week to compete and play well and win and sometimes that can be stressful," Day told Agence France-Presse (via NDTV Sports). "I've just got to focus on getting the process right, and if I can do that then hopefully the U.S. Open will time perfectly and I can peak there and play well there." 

    Stats courtesy of PGATour.com.