IT’S US Open time – pain for the players, joy for one champion… and hopefully some extra cash in your back pocket.
This season’s third major is an excellent chance to make some money, but I would advise against backing world No 1 and defending champion Brooks Koepka.
2 Dustin Johnson could be the man to beat at this week’s US OpenCredit: AP:Associated Press
And even if your bet misses the cut, at least you can enjoy the scenery of Pebble Beach.
But no one wants that, so here are SunSport’s top tips for golf’s most brutal tournament.US Open 2019 odds
8-1 Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka
9-1 Dustin Johnson
10-1 Tiger Woods
16-1 Jordan Spieth
20-1 Patrick Cantlay
22-1 Justin Rose
25-1 Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Rickie Fowler
30-1 Justin Thomas
33-1 Adam Scott
US Open 2019 tips
Everything points to DJ winning at Pebble.
Everything, except the fact he blew it so spectacularly in 2010.
The monster-hitting American led by three going into the final round but fell apart with a closing 11-over 82.
He is a different man now, though, having conquered his demons to lift the US Open trophy in 2016.
And he loves the course, finishing inside the top ten a whopping ten times in 13 events. He’s also brilliant at putting on Poa Annua greens and has success playing in California.
A combination of poor putting and bad driving has seen three-time major winner Spieth plummet to 28th in the world ranking.
2 It’s taken a while but Spieth’s game looks to be coming into shape at just the right timeCredit: AP:Associated Press
But he is turning the corner with the trusty putter and finished third at the PGA Championship last month before two more top tens.
A street fighter with a big heart, Spieth has the guts to win another US Open crown having captured his first in 2015 – at Johnson’s expense.
Slow play aside, there is a lot to love about 27-year-old Cantlay’s game.
He picked up his second PGA Tour title by winning the Memorial earlier this month with a red-hot closing round of 64.
The American finished tied-ninth at the Masters and in a share of third at the PGA Championship.
His US Open form is not great – one top-25 as an amateur in 2011 – but he is a grinder with exactly the sort of temperament needed to win this tough test.
Why I’m not backing Brooks
Quite simply, it is too much to ask two-time defending champion Koepka to do it again.
With four major titles under his belt, the 29-year-old American has shown he has the bottle – although that was called into question when he almost blew a seven-shot lead during last month’s PGA Championship.
Maybe it was not the best idea to deny stunning girlfriend Jena Sims a good-luck kiss before the start of the final round.
Only one person has ever won three US Opens in a row: Willie Anderson from 1903-05.
Koepka saves himself for the big ones but picking up his fifth in nine starts will probably prove a stretch too far this time round.
What about Tiger Woods?
I’m happy to write off his missed cut at the PGA Championship because winning the Masters took so much out of him.
And Woods, 43, showed some extended time off did him well with a tied-ninth finish at the Memorial in his last outing.
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But the 15-time major winner always said winning one major makes it a great season and I wonder if he has taken his foot off the gas a little after his Augusta heroics.
He deserves too – it was arguably the greatest sporting comeback ever – but I don’t think 10-1 represents good enough value.
That said, he did win this title on this course by 15 shots in 2000 and tied fourth in 2010 so I’m happy to be proved wrong.
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