The 2018 US Open field is nearly set. And with just two weeks to go before the best golfers in the world tee it up on Long Island at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, oddsmakers believe Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are the players to beat.
The US Open field was nearly finalized this week with the conclusion of sectional qualifying. Seventy-four players on Monday earned entries into the 156-player field. Seventy-six others were already exempt.
Six spots are on hold in case a non-exempt player qualifies this week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The top 60 players in the Official World Golf Ranking after this weekend qualify for the US Open.
The Westgate SuperBook has 2016 US Open winner Dustin Johnson and 2011 champ Rory McIlroy the co-favorites at 12/1. Justin Thomas, #1 in the world, along with respective 2011 and 2015 US Open victors Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth, are next at 14/1.
A name most familiar lurks with the sixth shortest line. Three-time US Open winner Tiger Woods is listed at 16/1 at Shinnecock, odds he shares with Jason Day.
Rewriting Shinnecock History
The United States Golf Association (USGA) is hoping for a smoother US Open at Shinnecock than when the major championship was last held there in 2004.
Shinnecock, one of the five founding member clubs of the USGA, experienced rock-hard conditions 14 years ago that resulted in plenty of criticism and just two players finishing under par for the week.
Golf Digest opines this week that it’s “crucial that the USGA gets it right” in 2018.
“Shinnecock Hills is hallowed ground,” writer Guy Vocum states. “The events of a mini-disaster at Shinnecock during its last hosting in 2004 notwithstanding, this is the last place where a serious misstep should elicit from the USGA the light-sounding phrase, ‘We deserve a bogey on that one.'”
Players have been anxious to find what exactly awaits them in New York. McIlroy is in the area this week playing Shinnecock and practicing at other esteemed tracks on Long Island.
Phil Mickelson, who is at 30/1 to win the US Open, the only outstanding major Lefty needs to complete the career grand slam, also plans to visit before tournament week.
The US Open is considered the toughest major to win because of its strength of field, and second-to-none course difficulty. Par for the course for the eventual winner often involves making grueling pars, three-putt avoidance, and the ability to keep a calm head throughout it all.
Last year’s winner Brooks Koepka did just that. The long-hitting 28-year-old will again have a length advantage on the 7,445-yard par 70 setup.
Koepka is at 30/1 to repeat, and is coming off a runner-up finish at the Fort Worth Invitational in late May.
Bubba Watson, another long hitter of the golf ball, hasn’t fared well in a US Open in more than a decade. But two wins this year and T5 finish at the Masters might make his 50/1 US Open odds attractive.
Other previous winners in the field include 2014 Martin Kaymer (125/1), 2012 Webb Simpson (60/1), and 2010 Graeme McDowell (200/1). 2018 Masters champ Patrick Reed is at 30/1.