Who could be the dark horse in this years championship?
The 117th U.S. Open kicks off on Thursday at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin, northwest of Milwaukee.
This is the first U.S. Open in Wisconsin, but the state's fifth major championship. This will be the first major with the winner's share exceeding $2 million. It is also the only U.S. Open since 1992 whose course will play to a par of 72.
At 7,741 yards it is the longest course in U.S. Open history. The four par fives are all over 600 yards, meaning the majority of the field will not be able to make the green in two. As well as the course being incredibly long, the length of the rough has also brought its own debate from the players.
Kevin Na isn't best pleased with the US Open set-up at Erin Hills. It looks pretty savage, but it's the US Open lads, what did you expect? pic.twitter.com/W9JlMoOAuy— IrishGolfer Magazine (@IrishGolferMag) June 12, 2017
Picking the winner of a golf tournament can be very challenging, especially a major championship. World Number 1 and favourite Dustin Johnson will be looking to defend his crown this week. His maiden major win came last year at Oakmont. Due to the length that Erin Hills possess and the fact DJ hasn't put a foot wrong all year (except when he fell down the stairs and missed The Masters in April), makes him the clear 13/2 favourite with the bookmakers. The last player to retain the trophy the following year was Curtis Strange back in 1989.
Other players to look out for:
Alex Noren - 50/1
A player who for some strange reason never fully seems to get the credit he deserves. The Swede has won five times in his last 22 starts, not even Dustin Johnson can match that sort of form. Winning the BMW Championship by two strokes last month was one of the most impressive come backs on the European Tour for many years. Going into the final day Noren found himself seven shots off the lead, but with a course record round of 62 he won the tournament by two strokes. A player that is clearly in fantastic form and should go well this week.
Lee Westwood - 100/1
We've been here before - tipping Lee Westwood to win his first major. Similarly it's been the same situation with Sergio Garcia who finally won his maiden major in April. There's no real reason to believe that this time will be any different for Westwood, but if he is to ever win a major trophy maybe the U.S. Open is his best chance. There has never been any question marks over Westwood's long game. He drives the ball incredibly accurately and gets a lot of distance off the tee. His iron play has also been a huge asset to his game down through the years. Westwood's putting is what usually lets him down, however due to the outrageous length of the rough at Erin Hills being accurate from tee to green could prove to be just as crucial as sinking putts.
Billy Horschel - 80/1
A player who has real firepower off the tee. The 2014 Fed Ex Cup champion has been in fine form lately winning the AT&T Byron Nelson back in May. He showed what a tough character he is by beating Jason Day in a play off. Finishing a tied fourth place in last weeks St.Jude Classic is another indicator as to how well he is playing. If he can keep his composure out on course than he certainly has a great chance to feature in the latter groups on the weekend.
David Lingmerth 200/1
There's a lot to like about Lingmerth's start in this major, too, finishing 17th at Merion and 12th last year at Oakmont. He is a relatively in-form player with a history of winning or contending from enormous starting odds. Lingmerth seems to be the type to follow when on a streak and his form on tough, championship courses cannot be a mere coincidence. He's also fared respectably in two USPGAs, won a Wells Fargo, been runner-up at Sawgrass and top-seven in the last two WGC-Bridgestone Invitationals. Could be a shout at huge odds.