The third major championship of the 2021 PGA Tour season is this week at Torrey Pines’ South Course in San Diego as it hosts the U.S. Open for the second time.
Jon Rahm is favoured on the golf odds.
U.S. Open officials and their TV partners love having the U.S. Open or PGA Championship somewhere on the American West Coast because it allows for prime-time TV coverage. Torrey Pines hosted the very memorable 2008 U.S. Open when Tiger Woods, essentially playing on one leg due to injury, beat Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole Monday playoff. A few years ago, the 18-hole playoff was ditched in favour of two holes of aggregate. Tiger will not be playing this week as he continues to recover from severe leg injuries in a car accident. There are scheduled to be 14 players teeing it up this week who played in 2008.
The defending U.S. Open champion is Bryson DeChambeau. The 2020 tournament was delayed until the fall due to COVID and DeChambeau finished at 6-under 274 – the only player under par – to win by six shots at extraordinarily tough Winged Foot in New York. Torrey shouldn’t play anywhere near that tough. The South Course is a par 71 at around 7,650 yards.
Torrey Pines also hosts the annual Farmers Insurance Open early each year, although the North Course also is a part of that. Patrick Reed won that this year at 14-under 275, five up on the field. Tiger won that tournament at Torrey seven times in his career.
No question one massive storyline this week will be Phil Mickelson, who last month became the oldest major champion (50, but will be 51 on Wednesday) by winning the PGA Championship. Lefty already is a legend and Hall of Famer, but his status would rise even more by completing the career Grand Slam this week. Mickelson has finished second in the U.S. Open an incredible six times. He has won the regular PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines three times, last in 2001. Mickelson is +4000 this week.
U.S. Open Golf Odds
Jon Rahm is the +800 favourite to win his first major championship. We last saw the Spaniard a couple of weeks ago at the Memorial where he was leading by six shots after his third round Saturday only to be forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID test. He was officially cleared to play the U.S. Open over the weekend with a pair of negative tests. Rahm’s best U.S. Open finish was T3 two years ago.
There’s a logjam at +1200 with Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. DJ won the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont and comes off a T10 this past weekend at the Palmetto Championship at Congaree but missed the cut in both majors this year.
Koepka won the 2017 & ’18 U.S. Open and was second in 2019. He didn’t play last year due to a back problem. DeChambeau as noted is the defending champion but hadn’t contended in a previous U.S. Open.
Spieth won the 2015 U.S. Open in Washington state but has struggled in the tournament since then. McIlroy was the 2011 U.S. Open winner and has been Top 10 each of the past two years.
Players from 10 different countries have won the U.S. Open but not from Canada. Last year, Taylor Pendrith was the surprise top Canadian at T23. Adam Hadwin was 54th, while Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes missed the cut. Conners is +4800 this week with Hughes at +18900, Hadwin at +19200 and Pendrith +25600.
2021 U.S. Open Golf Predictions
Take Rahm and Koepka for Top 10s but the winner is Xander Schauffele at +1400. That dude is due as he hasn’t won a major yet but has been no worse than sixth in the past four U.S. Opens.