Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are among the top favourites headed to the 2018 U.S. Open on Thursday.
Johnson, who is paired with Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas, has a first Open title since 2016 in his sights at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island, New York.
Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson will be joining McIlroy and Spieth. McIlroy knows what it takes to win a major, having been victorious on four previous occasions.
2018 U.S. Open Odds (per OddsShark's Stephen Campbell)
- Dustin Johnson +800 (bet $100 to win $800)
- Rory McIlroy +1400
- Justin Thomas +1400
- Justin Rose +1400
- Jordan Spieth +1600
- Jason Day +1800
- Tiger Woods +1800
- Rickie Fowler +1800
- Brooks Koepka +2000
- Jon Rahm +2200
- Hideki Matsuyama +2800
- Phil Mickelson +3000
- Henrik Stenson +3000
- Branden Grace +3300
- Patrick Reed +4000
- Bryson DeChambeau +4000
- Tommy Fleetwood +4000
- Sergio Garcia +5000
- Bubba Watson +5000
Johnson to Win Second Open Title
He missed the cut in 2017, but Johnson has been rediscovering his best form this year. The 33-year-old won the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tennessee, so far in 2018.
The latter victory meant Johnson reclaimed his spot as No. 1 in the global rankings after a walk-off eagle, per CNN.
Renewed confidence means Johnson will do better at Southampton this year. More important, Johnson's game will suit the notoriously tricky course at Shinnecock Hills.
It's a links-style course with wide fairways, ideal for Johnson's driving power. Johnson's formidable form with the driver will help him make quicker work of some of the longer pars on a course that could stretch to 7,445 yards.
If he can keep his nerve when approaching the greens, Johnson will have enough in his repertoire to take the title.
Rory McIlroy Set to Be Runner-Up
Like Johnson, McIlroy has upped his game recently. Unfortunately, the 29-year-old winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational has made a habit of finishing as runner-up in majors.
McIlroy came second at the Dubai Desert Classic back in January. He'll experience a similar feeling on Long Island despite pushing Johnson all the way.
History is on McIlroy's side, as few can match his record in this Open, having first won it in 2011.
McIlroy has the big-tournament mettle and track record to produce some of his best golf on a new course for this Open and make up for missing the cut the last two years.
Jordan Spieth to Miss the Cut
While Johnson and McIlroy are in form, Spieth looks anything but headed to this Open. The 24-year-old Texan's struggles include missing the cut at the Memorial Tournament earlier this month.
A flair with the putter has tellingly deserted Spieth during the first half of 2018, with Ryan Lavner of Golf Channel detailing his issues:
"Entering the U.S. Open, he's ranked 127th in putts per round, 161st in three-putt avoidance and 190th in strokes gained: putting. He's missing from both long range (192nd from 20-25 feet) and short (180th from 4 feet), and at times has appeared so frustrated with his stroke that he seemingly walks after his ball the moment he makes contact."
Not being able to rely on what was once a trusty short game will be a serious issue for Spieth on a course challenging enough to begin with. If he struggles approaching the greens and then continues to slump on them, Spieth will see many opportunities for par result in damaging bogeys.
In a field packed with talent, such mistakes could see one of the game's best players shockingly miss the cut.