(Courtesy: Golf Digest)

Most days of the year there’s nothing to look forward to. There’s no real reason to be happy, no real occasion to be joyous — but this, is not one of those weeks.

No, this is U.S. Open week. One of the four weeks of the year where golf fans and gambling degenerates wake up to find a little pep in their step, a hint of glee in their hearts and palpable itch on whatever thigh or glut where their wallet usually resides.

It’s a time of renewed hope. It’s a cause for celebration — for tomorrow, we could wake up rich(ish).

This year, the U.S. Open returns to the site of it’s second playing — Shinnecock Hills Golf Club — and the story lines abound. Can we see another first time major winner? Will Phil Mickelson finish the career grand-slam? There’s more, but I’ve got to get to the casino and place these bets.

The U.S. Open has seen its share of predictable winners, runaway champions, Cinderella stories and where’d-he-come-from shockers. So — who will find themselves basking in the lap of major glory this time Sunday afternoon? I’ve got a few ideas…

Here are your can’t-miss, no-doubt, sure-fire, mortal locks for the U.S. Open:

U.S.  Open
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club – Southampton, New York
June 14 – 17, 2018

ODDS to Win:
Dustin Johnson 8/1
Jordan Spieth 18/1
Rory McIlroy 14/1
Justin Thomas 14/1
Jason Day 16/1
Rickie Fowler 14/1
Jon Rahm 20/1
Justin Rose 14/1
Tiger Woods 20/1
Hideki Matsuyama 30/1
Patrick Reed 30/1
Sergio Garcia 50/1
Henrik Stenson 30/1
Phil Mickelson 25/1
Brooks Koepka 25/1
Paul Casey 40/1
Tommy Fleetwood 30/1
Adam Scott 50/1
Bubba Watson 60/1
Matt Kuchar 60/1
Marc Leishman 50/1
Branden Grace 30/1
Louis Oosthuizen 50/1
Alex Noren 50/1
Patrick Cantlay 50/1
Tony Finau 60/1
Daniel Berger 125/1
Xander Schauffele 80/1
Brandt Snedeker 100/1
Brian Harman 125/1
Kevin Kisner 125/1
Charley Hoffman 100/1
Rafael Cabrera Bello 100/1
Tyrrell Hatton 150/1
Cameron Smith 125/1
Russell Henley 150/1
Ian Poulter 100/1
Martin Kaymer 125/1
Charl Schwartzel 100/1
Kevin Chappell 150/1
Jason Dufner 100/1
Francesco Molinari 50/1
Webb Simpson 60/1
Zach Johnson 80/1
Bill Haas 200/1
Bryson DeChambeau 40/1
Brendan Steele 200/1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 150/1
Ollie Schniederjans 200/1
Jimmy Walker 80/1
Emiliano Grillo 100/1
Gary Woodland 150/1
Adam Hadwin 150/1
Byeong Hun An 100/1
Pat Perez 200/1
Lucas Glover 250/1
Shubhankar Sharma 250/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 150/1
Jim Furyk 300/1
Shane Lowry 125/1
Kyle Stanley 100/1
Si Woo Kim 125/1
Haotong Li 200/1
Dylan Frittelli 250/1
Keegan Bradley 125/1
Charles Howell III 200/1
Graeme McDowell 150/1
Peter Uihlein 150/1
Danny Willett 200/1
Ross Fisher 200/1
Jhonattan Vegas 300/1
Chez Reavie 150/1
Trey Mullinax 250/1
Ernie Els 500/1
Kenny Perry 1000/1
Satoshi Kodaira 250/1
Doug Ghim 1000/1
Harry Ellis 2000/1
Noah Goodwin 2000/1
Matt Parziale 2000/1
Luke List 125/1
Chesson Hadley 150/1
Alexander Levy 300/1
Wenchong Liang 1000/1
David Bransdon 1000/1
Shota Akiyoshi 1000/1
Aaron Wise 100/1
Steve Stricker 150/1
Russell Knox 200/1
Thorbjorn Olesen 150/1
Patrick Rodgers 250/1
Sam Burns 300/1
Matt Jones 300/1
Braden Thornberry 300/1
Andrew Johnston 300/1
Matt Wallace 300/1
Brian Gay 300/1
Aaron Baddeley 500/1
Dean Burmester 500/1
Ryan Fox 300/1
Harold Varner III 500/1
Scott Stallings 500/1
Brian Stuard 500/1
Richy Werenski 500/1
Roberto Castro 500/1
Lucas Herbert 500/1
Lanto Griffin 500/1
Sungjae Im 500/1
Paul Waring 500/1
Matthieu Pavon 500/1
Tyler Duncan 500/1
Tom Lewis 500/1
Matthew Southgate 500/1
Richie Ramsay 500/1
Jason Scrivener 500/1
James Morrison 500/1
Eric Axley 1000/1
Mackenzie Hughes 1000/1
Michael Putnam 1000/1
Tim Wilkinson 1000/1
Scott Gregory 1000/1
Shintaro Ban 1000/1
Kristoffer Reitan 1000/1
Will Zalatoris 1000/1
Stewart Hagestad 1000/1
Sung-joon Park 2000/1
Dylan Meyer 1000/1
Sebastian Munoz 1000/1
Theo Humphrey 1000/1
Mike Miller 1000/1
Michael Hebert 1000/1
Cole Miller 1000/1
Franklin Huang 2000/1
Rhett Rasmussen 3000/1
Chun-An Yu 3000/1
Garrett Rank 2000/1
Ryan Lumsden 2000/1
Calum Hill 3000/1
Cameron Wilson 3000/1
Mickey DeMorat 2000/1
Michael Block 2000/1
Sebastian Vazquez 3000/1
David Gazzolo 2000/1
Timothy Wiseman 3000/1
Chris Babcock 2000/1
Luis Gagne 2000/1
Tyler Strafaci 2000/1
Will Grimmer 2000/1
Philip Barbaree 2000/1
Sulman Raza 3000/1
Chris Naegel 2000/1
Jacob Bergeron 2000/1
Scott Piercy 250/1
Ted Potter, Jr 300/1
Rikuya Hoshino 1000/1
Ryan Evans 1000/1

Mortal Locks:

Dustin Johnson — How can you pass up Dustin Johnson right now? Already a winner at another historic U.S. Open venue (Oakmont, 2016) and the most recent winner on the PGA Tour (FedEx St. Jude Classic last week) AND the current No. 1 player in the world — you can’t! Or at least, you shouldn’t. The juice here isn’t great for all the reasons I’ve laid out and more, but 8/1 still isn’t terrible. You’ll need to bet heavy if you want to get rich, but being right is always a nice consolation prize.

Justin Rose — Perhaps the only player on the planet as hot as Justin Rose is the guy mentioned just above him here. Rose has played some great golf — coming in chasing a win at Colonial and a T-6 at Jack’s place. Not only is Rose also a former U.S. Open champion, but he’s proven he’s one of the games best on the big stage. At 14/1, the ROI here is significant — and damn good when you consider just how well Rose has been playing coming into the week.

Bang for Your Buck: 

Bubba Watson — The fairways at Shinnecock are wide. Wider than almost ever before at a U.S. Open — and thanks to that fact, many are expecting this to be a bomber’s paradise. And when you think bombers, you think Bubba Watson. Now, many seem to think Bubba is a one-trick pony when it comes to majors, but that isn’t true. He finished second in this tournament in 2007 and was the runner-up to Martin Kaymer at Whistling Straits in 2010. At 60/1, you’d be remiss to overlook Watson this week.

Marc Leishman — I’m going to keep picking this guy until he wins a damn major. Bubba Watson may be the bomber you think of, but Marc Leishman can move it out there as well as anyone on Tour. He’s played great in majors in the past and is ready to win one. While he has cooled a bit as of late, it’s not a stretch to say that Leishman is more concerned about getting a shot in a major than he is winning another tournament. He’s already won four times world-wide and has status just about anywhere he wants it. At 50/1, don’t pass by this Aussie favorite.

Fun Under $5: 

Ian Poulter — I saw an interesting graphic the other day that predicted that Ian Poulter would win the U.S. Open based on the way he handles difficult courses. That was enough to put me over the top on a pick I was already considering here. Not only has Poulter been experiencing a bit of a career resurgence, he’s one of those guys who seems like when they need to win — they do. Consider what he did to get into the Masters this year? The only thing missing from his impressive resume is a major — and at 100/1, you’ll be as happy when Poults breaks through as he will be.

Bonus Bet: 

Phil Mickelson — Really? You’re not going to bet on Phil Mickelson? He’s getting 25/1 money in what is his last best chance to win the U.S. Open. Unless, of course, he does it next year. On his 49th birthday. At Pebble Beach. Some how, I think this one would still mean more to Lefty. After all, there’s nothing better than exercising some personal demons.

There you have it, friends and degenerates! Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a ton of beer in my trunk that yearns to be day drank. Until next time, go and choose wisely…


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