Golf Betting Picks – Who Will Win the U.S. Open in 2018?
Published on June 13, 2018
So who is going to win the 2018 United States Open? That seems to be a hot topic right now, so I figured I’d jump in and add my two cents.
There are so many golfers playing at a high level right now, and the golf course appears to be in immaculate shape. When the venue is this pristine, and the holes are this demanding, the cream tends to rise to the top.
That’s exactly what I expect to happen this weekend, especially if the track turns firm and fast.
I’m looking at this field, and I see a handful of players that seem poised to hoist the trophy at Shinnecock Hills this week, but there’s just one problem. Only one man will be crowned champion.
It’s my job to tell you who that last man standing will be.
I decided to get a little creative this time around. Rather than just select a golfer and tell you why I picked him, I’m going to play a fun little game.
If you are familiar with two-time U.S. Open champ Andy North and the “elimination game” he plays when trying to predict a U.S. Open winner, then you are going to enjoy my version.
Essentially, we are going to start with the entire field of golfers and just start narrowing it down until there is just one name remaining.
In order to do this, I will be selecting the different statistics and pieces of data that I deemed “fit for the occasion.” The end result will just be a single name, and that’s going to be my pick.
I promise it’s easier than it sounds, so just follow along.
The week will start out with 156 men, all sharing the same dream of winning the U.S. Open. The name of the tournament says it all, as exactly half of the spots (78) were reserved for qualifiers.
In my mind, this makes picking the winner a little bit easier than it would be if this was a typical PGA Tour event.
Take last week, for example. The FedEx St. Jude Classic had 156 men in the field, and I have to believe that when the week started, at least 140 of them had some realistic chance of winning the golf tournament.
That won’t be the case at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton this week, that I can assure you.
Since the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) were implemented in 1986, the lowest-ranked player to win the U.S. Open was Steve Jones in 1996, who was ranked 99th at the time of his victory.
I feel more than comfortable stating that an amateur or a professional ranked outside the top 100 in the world will not win this golf tournament.
In fact, because Shinnecock is going to be such a demanding test, I’ll take that a step further and say if you aren’t ranked in the top 50 in the OWGR, your chances of winning are less than slim and closer to none.
There are 20 amateurs set to tee it up this week and another grip of players not ranked inside the top 50 that have earned Thursday and Friday tee times at the 4th-ranked golf course in America. Sadly for them, none of those players are going to win the tournament.
By eliminating just those names, we have already narrowed the field from 156 to 51. Now let’s start weeding out which of the remaining 51 don’t have the necessary tools to compete on a track that will be this challenging.
Now that we have separated the field down to 51 men, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. All of these players are uber-talented; otherwise, they wouldn’t be here in the first place.
But in order to figure out which player is best suited to win the U.S. Open this week at Shinnecock, we have to do some digging and sort through some stats.
This C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor masterpiece can’t be conquered if you aren’t consistently hitting good golf shots, that is for certain. For this reason, if a player wasn’t ranked inside the top 50 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained from tee to green, I took them off my list.
In doing so, I was able to scratch off 19 players from my list of 51, including household names like Matt Kuchar and Marc Leishman. I just don’t see how someone is going to survive 72 holes at Shinnecock Hills if ball striking isn’t one of their strong suits.
I don’t want to keep you in the dark, so here’s a peek at the 32 golfers that, according to my recipe for a victory, still have a shot.
Now comes the hard part. Not only are all of these men world-class players, but they all know how to get the ball in the fairway and onto the green. So what about their short games?
Despite the premium being placed on keeping the ball in the short grass at Shinnecock, you’d better have your short game in check if you plan on contending.
Those who aren’t able to get the ball up and down from the precarious positions they’re bound to find themselves in will be fighting for a decent finish, but they won’t be threats to win the golf tournament.
That brings us to our next order of business, which is thinning down the field even more. Scrambling is going to be a key stat this week, as players will inevitably be missing greens and be forced to rely on their short games.
Take a look at what happens to the list of 32 contenders once you eliminate those players who are ranked outside the top 60 on the PGA Tour in scrambling.
Those names in red are now off our list, and we are down to our final 20. Simply put, if you aren’t in the top 60 on the PGA Tour in scrambling, this likely won’t be a course that sets up to your liking.
I hated having to take Phil off my list, as I would love to see him complete the career grand slam. But as I have said before…
Men lie. Women lie. Children lie. The numbers don’t.
Here we are, with just 20 names left of golfers who can win the U.S. Open this week. As you can see, selecting any of these 20 men seems more than reasonable, as each one of these players is more than capable of winning the U.S. Open.
This is where I have to add my personal touch. It’s time to combine what I have been seeing with the feelings that I am sensing about the upcoming week.
What I found interesting is that, dating back to the 2009 U.S. Open, 7 of the last 9 champs were “first-time major winners.” The other two (Martin Kaymer in 2014 and Jordan Spieth in 2015) made the U.S. Open their second victory at a major.
Now, I want to be clear. There is absolutely nothing that leads me to believe that Dustin Johnson won’t have a tremendous week, especially when you consider how DJ demolished the field a week ago in Memphis.
As for the way that world-beaters Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, and Jason Day have played this year? Again, nothing is showing me signs of anything less than each of them getting into contention and playing great.
But I am going to go somewhat out on a limb and against the grain here. I am not going to pick one of those undeniable studs who has already tasted major championship glory before. I get the feeling that we are going to see someone capture their first career major this week.
As painfully as this is to do, that means our list of 20 gets cut in half to 10.
I then glanced at the PGA Tour’s All-Around Ranking, which takes all the numbers and data from the PGA Tour and bottles them up into one very telling stat.
This statistic is supposed to rank golfers in terms of their overall skill set by totaling all their stats and combining them into one.
At Shinnecock Hills, having a full repertoire of shots will sure come in handy. Incidentally, I found that out of my remaining list of 10 contenders, 6 of them find themselves in the top 10 in the All-Around ranking statistic, so clearly, I am on the right track!
The six names we have left now are as follows.
Those of you who think I am just stringing you along to avoid announcing my pick couldn’t be further from the truth. This “game” wasn’t designed just to try and entertain my readers, although I hope you do find it as such.
But rather, I am going through this “narrowing down” process simply to find the best and most qualified candidate when it comes time to predict my winner.
After diligently concluding which stats would be the most important and uniting them with what I have been seeing and feeling, I am still left with 6 names.
I am trying to compare these guys by looking at each of their strengths and weaknesses, but the problem is, all these dudes can flat-out play and know how to get the ball in the hole.
I think distance off the tee will be a huge advantage this week, but all 6 of these guys have no problem “moving it out there” plenty. Jon Rahm would be the one exception of the guy in the group who I would consider I bomber, but here’s my dilemma with Rahm.
I had the privilege of watching Jon up close and personal play in the final round of a golf tournament, and let me just say, I was less than impressed with his behavior and antics on the course. No, I am not his mother, nor do I particularly care if Rahm wants to curse and throw clubs.
But I know if a player is wasting his energy complaining about bad breaks and is busy having a hissy fit on the golf course, I sure as heck am not going to pick him to win a golf tournament of this prestige.
One day, Rahm will temper his attitude on the course, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up winning multiple major championships. I just don’t think the anxieties and stresses that Shinnecock Hills brings over 72 holes is a good fit for someone who is that fiery on the links.
So that still leaves us with five very qualified individuals. As much as I love Patrick Cantlay and think he is going to win a lot of golf tournaments for years to come, I can’t say I feel as confident about his short game as these other names on the list.
He seems a bit scratchy around the surfaces, and that’s evidenced by him ranking 103rd on tour in scrambling from inside 10 yards.
Being a good chipper and pitcher of the ball isn’t going to get it done at Shinnecock. You have to be great. And that leaves us with only four names left.
We can go on and on and back and forth between these guys for a while longer, but it seems to be about that time to throw the rest of the stats out the window and just go with my hunch.
I am going to go with the guy that I think is more ready to win his first major championship than ever before.
I am picking Rickie Fowler to win the 118th United States Open, and I’m feeling good about it. Fowler, who is just a couple days fresh off his proposal to his now-fiancée Allison Stokke, couldn’t be in a better place or frame of mind than he is right now.
He finished runner-up to Patrick Reed at Augusta and hasn’t lost any momentum since. In fact, I think his 14th place at the Fort Worth Invitational and his 8th-place finish at the Memorial over the past few weeks is the perfect type of form I’d like to see out of the former Oklahoma State Cowboy entering the week.
Not winning or seriously contending the last couple events means his mind and stamina should be fully-charged. However, a 14th and an 8th tell me his game’s in good shape, and he is ready to put it all together.
Throw in a nice off-week in Southampton proposing to the woman of your dreams and some quick range sessions with longtime coach Butch Harmon, and I’d say that the 29-year-old resident of Jupiter, Florida, is more than ready to finally knock this monkey off his back.
Rickie Fowler is 19.00 to win at Bovada, and I think it’s a fair price, considering the plethora of other notable names at the top of the betting sheet. I am not just closing my eyes and picking Rickie because I like the way he dresses.
I chose Fowler as my pick to win the 2018 U.S. Open because I simply followed where the stats and the data took me.
I think I chose a pretty unique but fair formula when trying to project the outcome. In the end, Rickie Fowler is just the name that ended up falling right into my lap.
I’ll be watching all week long to see how this thing pans out and to see if I chose the right equation. I’m happy to answer any questions or concerns on Twitter, all you have to do is reach out and ask!
Enjoy the action from Long Island, and let’s hope to see lots of “orange” come Sunday!