(courtesy of swingbyswing.com)

Oh, joyous day! Major championship golf has come back into our lives this week and isn’t it wonderful? How I’ve missed the brutal conditions, pressure like a raging inferno, inflated money lines and idiotic prop bets! U.S. Open week is the second greatest week of every year and it is upon us!

The great thing about major championships is that it separates the men from the boys. The pros from the joes. The professional wagerers and the DFS “experts.” And for those of you scoffing at the record for old No. 1 this year, don’t forget — I’ve made more picking major winners than you’ve made lucking out picking cheap-o’s because you spent too much money early on taking Dustin Johnson. But I digress….

Majors make legends. Plain and simple. Win more than the next guy and you’ll be remembered as better. This week, it’s time to crown another champion — but will it be someone adding to their resume? Or a first timer making good on all that promise?

Before getting too much into it, here are a couple points to remember:

  • No player has ever won the U.S. Open the week after a win (Sorry, Daniel Berger)
  • The last six major winners have been of the first time variety
  • Erin Hills is making its debut on Tour; most players haven’t been on property before this week

So — without further adieu, here’s a look at who I’m taking the action on this week at Erin Hills in the 117th playing of the U.S. Open:

U.S. Open
Erin Hills – Erin, Wisconsin
June 15 – 18, 2017

ODDS to Win:
Dustin Johnson 7/1
Rory McIlroy 12/1
Jordan Spieth 12/1
Jason Day 12/1
Hideki Matsuyama 30/1
Justin Rose 20/1
Jon Rahm 15/1
Sergio Garcia 25/1
Rickie Fowler 15/1
Adam Scott 25/1
Henrik Stenson 30/1
Phil Mickelson 40/1
Justin Thomas 30/1
Brooks Koepka 30/1
Thomas Pieters 30/1
Matt Kuchar 50/1
Paul Casey 40/1
Patrick Reed 60/1
Louis Oosthuizen 40/1
Branden Grace 40/1
Bubba Watson 60/1
Brandt Snedeker 80/1
Martin Kaymer 60/1
Charl Schwartzel 50/1
Daniel Berger 60/1
Tyrrell Hatton 100/1
Jimmy Walker 100/1
Zach Johnson 100/1
Matthew Fitzpatrick 80/1
Shane Lowry 60/1
Lee Westwood 60/1
Jim Furyk 250/1
J.B. Holmes 100/1
Gary Woodland 125/1
Russell Henley 125/1
Charley Hoffman 150/1
Marc Leishman 100/1
Adam Hadwin 125/1
Russell Knox 200/1
Jason Dufner 50/1
Danny Willett 250/1
Alex Noren 50/1
Bill Haas 100/1
Emiliano Grillo 100/1
Rafael Cabrera Bello 100/1
Kevin Chappell 60/1
Kevin Kisner 50/1
Bryson DeChambeau 200/1
Byeong Hun An 100/1
Billy Horschel 80/1
Tommy Fleetwood 125/1
Webb Simpson 125/1
Graeme McDowell 150/1
Brendan Steele 150/1
Pat Perez 125/1
Wesley Bryan 200/1
Keegan Bradley 200/1
William McGirt 200/1
Ross Fisher 200/1
Kevin Na 200/1
Scott Piercy 200/1
Francesco Molinari 80/1
David Lingmerth 200/1
Lucas Glover 125/1
Bernd Wiesberger 150/1
Ryan Palmer 200/1
Martin Laird 250/1
Harris English 250/1
Jhonattan Vegas 300/1
Chris Wood 200/1
Daniel Summerhays 200/1
Andrew Johnston 300/1
Ernie Els 300/1
Angel Cabrera 500/1
Jeunghun Wang 300/1
Sean O’Hair 200/1
Si Woo Kim 125/1
Maverick McNealy 500/1
Roberto Castro 500/1
Steve Stricker 100/1
Bud Cauley 150/1
Alexander Levy 250/1
Brian Harman 200/1
Stewart Cink 200/1
Peter Uihlein 200/1
Jason Kokrak 300/1
Jordan Niebrugge 250/1
Brian Stuard 500/1
Chez Reavie 300/1
Stewart Hagestad 1000/1
Meen Whee Kim 500/1
Tyler Light 2000/1
Davis Love IV 2000/1
Roberto Diaz 1000/1

Mortal Locks

Rory McIlroy — It’s possible that I have never liked a player with more uncertainty headed into a tournament than I do Rory McIlroy this week at Erin Hills. Many will whine about Rory’s ribs or his new putter, but I say, “feh!” Put aside the fact that Rory hasn’t made a start on tour since the PLAYERS back in early May and realize two things: He’s well rested, and he lives for major championships. Listen, McIroy knows his legacy will not be judged by how many FedEx St. Jude Classics or AT&T Byron Nelson’s he wins. He will be judged on majors. So — the fact that the Northern Irishman has had well over a month to prepare, mentally and physically, for the task at hand should terrify the other 155 players teeing it up this week. It should also have you foaming at the mouth at 12/1.

Rickie Fowler — I’ve never really been the world’s biggest Rickie Fowler fan, but it’s not really his doing. I don’t much like anything that is over-hyped. While it’s true he has a phenomenal major campaign in 2014, he hasn’t done much in the big ‘uns since then. He has made progress, however, winning multiple times world wide in the two full seasons since. With that said, my gut tells me he’s either ready — or insanely close to being ready — to rid himself on the “best to never” monkey that is currently residing on his shoulders. At 15/1, Fowler is playing great and looking to silence the haters for good.

Thomas Pieters — I haven’t been in love with a Belgian bomber like this since Nicolas Colsaerts was tearing up fairways (btw, where have you gone, Nicolas Colsaerts? Partying it up with Anthony Kim?) in the U.S. and abroad. Thomas Pieters is the real-deal. He may be young, but don’t use inexperience as a crutch when trying to talk yourself out of betting on him. Pieters will make his U.S. Open debut this week, that’s true. But he made his Masters debut in April and finished T-4 and was a stalwart on the European Ryder Cup team last fall as a rookie. At 30/1, you’d be nuts not to make a move here.

Bang for Your BuckĀ 

Alex Noren — Since — and including — his U.S. Open win last year, Dustin Johnson has won six times world-wide. That’s only one more than the guy I’m taking next: Alex Noren. That’s right, Alex Noren has won five times in the last 12 months. Only DJ has been more prolific since Oakmont. With that in mind, it might be time for the Swede to make his presence known here in the U.S. He’s currently the 8th-ranked player in the world and comes into Erin Hills hoping to build on his T-10 showing at the PLAYERS. At 50/1, he’s worth a very serious look.

Billy Horschel — I really hope I don’t regret this move, but screw it, the numbers and trends all point in the direction of the guy with crazy pants. I’m taking Billy Horschel this week for a few reasons; none of which happen to be my gut. Horschel has a win already and, despite my missing out on that and losing money the next week, he’s been consistently good since, posting finishes of T-34 and T-4. Horschel also has a very good track record in our National Championship. Except for a missed cut in his first outing in 2006, Horschel has made the cut in his only other four appearances, never finished worse than T-32 and collected a T-4 finish at Merion in 2013. At 80/1, the juice is worth the squeeze.

Fun Under $5

Got a couple extra shekels lying around or some loose change from the couch cushions? Looking to add a little extra something-something to your viewing pleasure this week? Here are a couple extra little bets worth looking at thanks to some astronomical odds:

Steve Stricker (100/1) — Wisconsin native is staring down the barrel of his last best chance to eliminate the major goose egg from his resume.

Stewart Hagestad (1000/1) — Low-am from the Masters proved he can play, then backed that up by local qualifying to be here. Might it be time for another amateur shocker? Probably not — but for a couple bucks I’d hate to miss out if Hagestad can achieve the unthinkable.

Stewart Cink (200/1) — In case you haven’t noticed (and based on DFS starting percentage numbers, you haven’t!) Stewart Cink is a man revitalized and potentially on the verge of one of the best stories in golf history. He hasn’t won since outlasting Tom Watson in the Open in 2009, but has finished inside the top-25 nine times in 19 starts this season, including two T-10 finishes in his last three starts.

There you have it, friends and degenerates! It’s time to call out of work and watch some golf on T.V.! Until next time, go and choose wisely…



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