It's been a unique year in the sports world because of the coronavirus pandemic, and golf has been no exception. Tournaments were postponed, and when golfers finally returned to the greens, they've done so without fans in attendance.
Among those postponed tournaments was the U.S. Open, which was supposed to take place in June. Instead, it's happening this week, as the event will get underway Thursday at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. It's the first time that the course has hosted a major tournament since the 2006 U.S. Open.
It's also only the second major tournament of 2020. The Open Championship was canceled, while the Masters Tournament was postponed to November. The only major that has taken place so far was the PGA Championship, which Collin Morikawa won in August.
Now, it's time for the U.S. Open, albeit three months later than originally scheduled. Here's a list of odds for the tournament, followed by predictions for the top contenders.
Top Odds to Win
Dustin Johnson +850 (bet $100 to win $850)
Jon Rahm +1000
Justin Thomas +1400
Xander Schauffele +1600
Rory McIlroy +1800
Collin Morikawa +2000
Bryson DeChambeau +2800
Webb Simpson +2800
Daniel Berger +3300
Jason Day +3300
Patrick Reed +3300
Patrick Cantlay +3500
Hideki Matsuyama +3500
Tony Finau +4000
Tommy Fleetwood +4000
Tyrrell Hatton +4000
Justin Rose +4500
Tiger Woods +4500
Complete list of odds available at DraftKings
Tiger Returns to Top 10 at U.S. Open
It's been a while since Tiger Woods has had a strong showing at the U.S. Open. He finished tied for fourth at the 2010 U.S. Open, but he's finished no better than 21st in five appearances at the tournament since. He's missed the cut twice (2015 and 2018) and tied for 21st last year.
And Woods also didn't fare well in his last appearance at Winged Foot. In the 2006 U.S. Open, Woods shot a 76 in each of the first two rounds and missed the cut. That was only the second time he had missed the cut at a major tournament at that point in his career.
Still, Woods has experience at Winged Foot (he also played in the 1997 PGA Championship there), which is something that much of this year's field doesn't have. He hasn't played too well of late, finishing 37th or worse in the four tournaments he's played since July, but the 44-year-old is always capable of taking his game up a level on the biggest stages.
Woods may not be in his prime anymore, but he's due for a strong showing at a major tournament. He might not contend for the win this weekend, but he'll make the cut and notch his first top-10 finish at the U.S. Open since 2010, playing much better than he did in his last appearance at Winged Foot.
Johnson Continues to Play Well, Comes Up Short
Entering the U.S. Open, no golfer has been playing better than Dustin Johnson. The 36-year-old has two wins (The Northern Trust and the TOUR Championship) and two second-place finishes (the PGA Championship and the BMW Championship) in his past four tournaments.
Johnson has never played at Winged Foot, but it also hasn't matter what course he's been on lately. He's playing well everywhere he goes, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him among the top finishers again this weekend.
On Monday, Johnson was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year, and he enters the U.S. Open as the favorite to win. Over his past four tournaments, Johnson's worst two rounds have been a 70 and a 71, which shows how consistent he has been.
Expect Johnson to be battling for the win when Sunday's final round arrives. And although he's going to come up a little short, he'll add another top finish to his already impressive 2020.
Rahm Comes Away with First Major Tournament Victory
Jon Rahm has never won a major tournament, but he's been getting close. At last year's U.S. Open, he finished tied for third. And he's finished in the top 13 in six of the past nine majors he's played.
Of late, Rahm has also been playing well. He won the BMW Championship last month, then started September by finishing fourth at the TOUR Championship. So, while the 25-year-old Spaniard may not be playing quite as well as Johnson, he's been having strong showings.
It's time for Rahm to win his first career major tournament, and that will happen this weekend as he carries his recent momentum into the U.S. Open and outlasts Johnson and the rest of the field. Winged Foot is a tough course, and Rahm has never played a tournament there before. However, he spent a day there before the TOUR Championship to get in a round on the course, which could be useful preparation.
Rahm will get off to a solid start, then he'll need to play better than Johnson over the weekend if he wants to come out on top. He will, and he'll join the list of impressive golfers to have won a major tournament on Sunday.