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US Open Golf 2018: Odds, Favorites and Tournament Preview

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2018

HARTFORD, WI - JUNE 18:  Brooks Koepka of the United States poses with the winner's trophy after his victory at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills on June 18, 2017 in Hartford, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The testing Shinnecock Hills Golf Course will play host to the 2018 U.S. Open this week, as some of the world's finest players descend on Suffolk County, New York, in pursuit of one of the biggest prizes in the sport.

Brooks Koepka is the defending champion here, after he clinched his first major title at Erin Hills 12 months ago.

The bookmakers have made 2016 champion Dustin Johnson the early favourite, although the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Justin Thomas are a selection of players who will rival him for top spot.

Here are the odds for the U.S. Open and a closer look at some of the big names expected to challenge at Shinnecock Hills.

       

Odds

Dustin Johnson 11-1

Rory McIlroy 12-1

Jordan Spieth 14-1

Jason Day 14-1

Justin Thomas 14-1

Justin Rose 14-1

Rickie Fowler 16-1

Tiger Woods 20-1

Jon Rahm 20-1

Brooks Koepka 25-1

For the figures in full for the entire field, visit the OddsShark website.

         

Johnson Favourite in High-Class Field

MEMPHIS, TN - JUNE 09:  Dustin Johnson plays his shot from the 12th tee during the third round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind on June 9, 2018 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With so many players in fine form lately, it has become a difficult task picking winners of the major championships.

What makes it even tougher is the manner in which talented players are taking their chances on the biggest stages for the first time.

As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, Patrick Reed's recent victory at the Masters continued a trend of maiden major champions:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Patrick Reed wins the Masters with a par putt in the 18th hole. He is the 9th first-time major winner in the last 10 majors. https://t.co/WE6cw7WxIp

Rickie Fowler will be hoping that run continues as the Californian has come frustratingly close to glory on many occasions.

At the Masters, he finished second behind Reed, meaning he has now finished runner-up in three of the four majors—he was second at the U.S. Open in 2014—and has a best of third in the other, the PGA Championship.

In the buildup to the tournament, he has had some positive personal news, per For The Win:

For The Win @ForTheWin

Rickie Fowler and Allison Stokke are engaged! On National Best Friend Day! ❤️💍 https://t.co/KmNLqkIzZi https://t.co/vU8Nz8uhof

The worry for Fowler will be that there are champions all over the top end of the betting.

Johnson is one, and a fine performance at the St. Jude Classic at the weekend proved his game is in excellent order ahead of the second major of the year.

The American conjured some moments of magic in that tournament:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Birdie from the water?! 💦 Dustin Johnson can do it all. #LiveUnderPar https://t.co/Jshyb7D2Q6

As noted by James Corrigan of the Daily Telegraph, Johnson will have some illustrious company alongside him on the first two days in former world No. 1 Thomas and three-time U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods:

James Corrigan @jcorrigangolf

USGA have just released next week's draw for the US Open and, who would have thought it, world No 80 Woods is paired with world Nos 1 and 2 Thomas and Johnson. McIlroy with Spieth and Mickelson

McIlroy will hope playing alongside Spieth and Phil Mickelson over the first couple of days can inspire him to something momentous. 

McIlroy is chasing his first major since 2014.
McIlroy is chasing his first major since 2014.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Northern Irishman has enjoyed a solid 2018 to this point, although he's been unable to produce wins in the big tournaments. He's now closing in on four years without a major title, and the 29-year-old will be desperate to scratch that particular itch.

Ahead of the competition getting under way, McIlroy highlighted the par threes at Shinnecock as particularly difficult holes to play, per TaylorMade:

TaylorMade Golf @TaylorMadeGolf

“The par three 7th and 11th are extremely tough greens to hit. If you miss them in the wrong places, a five could be a good score.” - Rory McIlroy #ShinnecockCountdown https://t.co/vmncDOJxDc

Justin Rose was the 2013 champion, and the signs have been positive for him in the buildup to the tournament. The Englishman was recently the class of the field in winning the Fort Worth Invitational in May.

Jon Rahm is another man seeking his first major, and there were signs at the Masters, where he finished fourth, that he's beginning to feel more at home on the biggest stages. If the Spaniard puts it all together, his big hitting off the tee can be an asset around this course.

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