US Open Golf Betting Preview

US Open Golf Betting Preview

US Open Golf Betting Preview
by T.O. Whenham

The second jewel in golf's Grand Slam takes place this weekend. It was supposed to be the inevitable second victory for Tiger Woods en route to a Grand Slam and a place in history (not that he doesn't already have one). Things didn't quite work out that way, but this tournament still sets up to be interesting. It is hosted by a municipal course, albeit a spectacular and very famous one. Torrey Pines in San Diego is the host of the Buick Invitational every year, and the South Course will host the Open. As is typical with this tournament, the course is set up at its very nastiest. At 7,643 yards it's also 379 yards longer than the longest ever US Open. Here's a look at six storylines that will have to factor into your US Open golf betting decisions for this tournament.

Tiger's knee - No joint will get more attention over the next week than the one that joins Tiger's left foot to his body. He had surprise surgery on his knee right after the Masters, and he has only started playing full rounds again this week. That makes this tournament a huge challenge. He'll be rusty, and we don't know how his knee will hold up, so if he were any other player we would rule him out without a second thought. He's not any other player, though. He's the favorite, and his potential payout (5/2) is almost a third of the next lowest choice (7/1). How you deal with him depends on your view. On one hand, you could reason that he wouldn't come back if he weren't ready, and he owns the Torrey Pines course - he's won the Buick Invitational in five of the last six years. On the other hand, this course setup is going to be so challenging that a player will have to be sharp to win. His price offers no value, but anyone who bets against will certainly be nervous when the tournament starts.

Phil's homecoming -
Mickelson is from San Diego, and he has moved back there. He knows the Torrey Pines course as well as anyone because he played it as a kid. He's never won the US Open, but he has finished second four different times, and he has eight top 10 finishes. He's also playing pretty well this year, and he has a win just a couple of weeks ago at the Colonial. Phil is the second choice in the field at 7/1. He's also seems to be as hungry as we have seen him in a long time (no jokes about his waistline). He missed the cut last year while struggling with a wrist injury. Now he's back, and in my eyes he's considerably more attractive than Tiger.

Length matters -
Because this course is so long it would seem likely that long hitters would have an advantage. We can't know for sure until we see how it plays, but recent history can give us a clue or two. Angel Cabrera won last year largely because he could hit it long. Bubba Watson is the biggest hitter on tour, and he finished fifth last year despite lacking valuable experience in the majors. He's a potentially interesting longshot at 150/1 this year. J.B. Holmes is the second longest hitter, and he's also at 150/1. Adam Scott is hitting it just short of 300 yards per drive this year, and he certainly doesn't seem undervalued at 40/1.

Time for an American? -
It might sound strange, but Americans haven't been doing too well at their national championships. They haven't won the tournament in the last four years. Before that, though, they had won seven of the previous 10, and 19 of the previous 22. It's not unreasonable to think, then, that an American is about due to win it again. Of course, suggesting that any team or player in sports is "due" is a lazy argument. If you are a patriot, though, you might be okay - five of the 12 players with the lowest odds to win are Americans.

Putting - The greens at Torrey Pines South will be the fastest the players have seen all year. That means that a player not only has to be able to get to the greens in regulation, but also putt like a demon once they get there. That probably rules out guys like Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, or Trevor Immelman who haven't exactly been burning up the greens this year. On the other hand, it could set up well for someone like Padraig Harrington (22/1). He can drive it well, and he's the second best putter on tour this season.

Weather - With a course this tough bad weather would absolutely wreak havoc on scores and tip the scales in favor of the more experienced players. It is too soon to have an accurate weather forecast for the weekend, but the weather forecast is clear and sunny on Thursday. Chances are it will be nice throughout the weekend - it is San Diego, after all. It might not seem relevant to mention a factor that probably won't be a factor. It is, though - ideal weather conditions mean that there is one less reason why one of the logical winners won't win.

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Re: US Open Golf Betting Preview

Behind the lines

Tiger Woods favored to win U.S. Open


Out since April because of knee surgery, he will return to competition at Torrey Pines and is listed at 5-2 to win at one betting website. Phil Mickelson and 'the field' have next best odds at 5-1.

Tiger Woods, playing for the first time since knee surgery in April, is listed as a strong favorite to win the U.S. Open, which will begin Thursday at Torrey Pines South Course.

According to Sportsbetting.com's updated odds, Woods is listed at 5-2 to win, strong numbers for a golfer who missed the cut the last time he had a long layoff between the Masters and the U.S. Open in 2006.

Phil Mickelson and "the field" have the next best odds at 5-1, followed by Sergio Garcia at 15-1 and Geoff Ogilvy, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk at 25-1. Trevor Immelman, who won this year's Masters, is listed at 30-1 with four other golfers.

------

Over the last 20 years, there have been five golf playoffs to decide the U.S. Open but none since 2001.

Maybe that explains why Las Vegas Hilton's sports book has "Will there be a playoff?" Yes (+270) or no (-330), as one of the best paying proposition bets available for this year's tournament.

That means a winning $100 bet on a playoff this weekend would pay $270, while a winning $330 wager on a playoff-less U.S. Open would pay $100.

As expected, there are numerous proposition bets connected to Woods and Mickelson. Here are a couple listed at the Las Vegas Hilton: Woods' first-round score? Over 72.5 (-110) or under 72.5 (-110); Mickelson's first-round score? Over 72.5 (-140) or under 72.5 (+120); will Woods or Mickelson win the U.S. Open? Yes (+190) or no (-220).

Bodoglife.com also has several Woods/Mickelson U.S. Open proposition bets: Will Woods miss the cut? Yes (+500); will Woods achieve a hole in one? Yes (+4,000); will Mickelson achieve a hole in one? Yes (+ 4,000); where will the winner come from? U.S. (8-15), Europe (10-3), rest of the world (11-2), Australia (10-1).

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2008 U.S. Open Preview

Tiger Woods will be looking to make a triumphant return to the course this week when he arrives at San Diego's Torrey Pines for golf's second major of 2008, the U.S. Open.

Woods has been out of action since having arthroscopic surgery on his knee just a couple of days after The Masters back in the middle of April. Since then professional golf has been without its marquee attraction. However, the likelihood of Woods missing a major has always been slim, and he'll return to the tour for the California tournament.

And Woods will be thrust back into golf's spotlight immediately, as he's been put with Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott in a grouping of the players sitting first, second, and third in the current world rankings; they're scheduled to tee off at 11:06am ET Thursday.

The world's No. 1 player had only taken part in five PGA Tour events before hitting the shelf with the knee injury. Woods won each of the Buick Invitational, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, and Arnold Palmer Invitational, ended up fifth at the WGC-CA Championship, and then was the disappointed runner-up finisher at The Masters.

The Buick Invitational was also at Torrey Pines, a course that has treated Woods well in the past. Tiger has won the Buick Invitational on the San Diego-area course six times in his career, including four straight times from 2005 to 2008 (he also won in 1999 and 2003). Back in January's event Woods took the trophy by eight strokes over Ryuji Imada, with Rory Sabbatini, Stewart Cink, and Justin Leonard rounding out the Top 5.

Mickelson ended up in a tie for sixth place at Torrey Pines in January, but he has also had past success on the course. Mickelson has won the Buick Invitational three times over the course of his career - back-to-back in 2000 and 2001, and previously in 1993. Either Woods or Mickelson has earned the win at Torrey Pines in eight of the past 10 years.

Mickelson, though, has never won the U.S. Open, infamously blowing a late lead at Winged Foot in 2006. Lefty has four second-place U.S. Open finishes on his resume (2006, 2004, 2002, and 1999), and three other Top-10 results (fourth in 1995, 10th in 1998, seventh in 2001). At last year's U.S. Open at Oakmont, Mickelson missed the cut.

Woods has won the U.S. Open twice in his career - in both 2000 and 2002. Over the last five years Woods has finished second at this major twice (in 2005 and 2007), and back in the pack three times (20th in 2003, 17th in 2004, and missing the cut in 2006).

And what about the third member of the prestigious grouping, Adam Scott? He's only played in the U.S. Open six times, and he's missed the cut in four of those tournaments (including last season). Scott ended up in 28th place in 2005, and in 21st place in 2006.

That puts Scott farther back on the Vegas list for this year's U.S. Open, as he's pegged at 25/1 odds to capture the trophy. Woods, of course, is sitting as the 6/5 tournament favorite, with Mickelson next on the list at 8/1 odds to finally get his first U.S. Open win.

Other top contenders for the Torrey Pines event include Jim Furyk (15/1), Padraig Harrington (20/1), Retief Goosen (20/1), Vijay Singh (20/1), and Ernie Els (20/1). Trevor Immelman, who beat Woods by three strokes at The Masters this year, is tied with Scott, Justin Rose, and Geoff Ogilvy at 25/1 odds, with K.J. Choi, Luke Donald, and Steve Stricker all at 30/1 odds. Cink and Sergio Garcia are just behind that trio at 35/1.

2007 U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera is then pegged at 40/1 odds to repeat as the tournament winner, with Aaron Baddeley and Mike Weir bigger underdogs at 45/1. Check your favorite sportsbooks for all the latest odds and prop bets for the U.S. Open.

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U.S. Open betting preview and notes for Torrey Pines
By LEE KOSTROSKI

Phil vs. Tiger. Tiger vs. Phil.

That’s where much of the discussion begins and ends this week as the second major championship of the 2008 season tees off at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. Not only are they both heavily favored entering this week’s U.S. Open, Tiger Woods (+250) and Phil Mickelson (+700) have been paired together (with Adam Scott starring as the third wheel in this threesome) for at least the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday.

That’s because they are currently ranked No. 1 and 2 in the World Rankings (while Scott is No. 3).

Any guesses on which group will get the most airtime on ESPN starting on Thursday?

There is a reason these two are such overwhelming favorites this week. Oh by the way, every other golfer in the field is +2000 or higher in case you haven’t checked.

First of all, this is Mickelson’s home course. He grew up in San Diego. He won the Junior World Championships here in 1980. His first win on the PGA Tour came on this course in 1993 when he claimed the Buick Invitational crown. He’s also won the Buick Invitational here two other times.

His most recent win at the Buick was back in 2001, however, since that time he has four top 8 finishes in his last seven appearances.

Not bad at all. Sounds like Mickelson will be right at home this weekend, right?

Well as comfortable as he is here, nobody has dominated this course like Tiger Woods. He also won a Junior World Championship here in 1984. Tiger won the Buick Invitational here back in January claiming his fourth straight title at Torrey Pines. Not only did he win, he dominated second place finisher Ryuji Imada by a whopping eight strokes.

Woods has played in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines 11 times in his professional career. He has won the tourney an incredible six times. Not only that, he has only finished out of the top five once. However, it’s been well documented that Tiger has not played in a tournament setting since the Masters in April and he is not 100 percent physically by his own admission.

How much will the layoff and injury affect his performance this week? We’ll all find out very soon.

Now that we know why these two are such solid favorites, we have to realize that there are other golfers in this field that actually have a chance to win no matter what the masses are saying.

What will it take this weekend to stake claim to a major championship win?

First of all, long hitters will have a big advantage. This course is set up to play 7,643 yards which makes in the longest in U.S. Open history. You must also be accurate as the rough and narrow fairways at Torrey this week will be unforgiving as they always are at the U.S. Open. Many are predicting an over par winning score. That is definitely a strong possibility as the last two U.S. Open winners each finished at 5-over par.

Here are a few players not named Tiger or Phil to keep a close eye on:

Sergio Garcia (+2000) –
While I’m not a huge fan of his, he is a long and fairly accurate off the tee. He also won the Players Championship a bit more than a month ago and finished fourth at last week’s Stanford St. Jude so he is playing well right now.

Paul Casey (+8000) – He hasn’t had a great year to date, however he seems to rise up for majors. In 2007 he finished in the top 10 at the U.S. Open. He actually had two top 10 finishes in 2007 majors. This year he finished 11th at the Masters. He has the driving distance (33rd on the tour) and the accuracy (77th on the tour) to make a run here.

Stewart Cink (+4000) – While Cink has not had a great history at the U.S. Open (missed the cut two of the last five years) he is on quite a roll this season. He has made 12 of 13 cuts in 2008 and has finished in the top 10 six times. Cink already has two second place and two third place finishes this year. While he hasn’t broken into the winner’s circle yet in 2008, he has been very consistent and this could be his week.

If recent history holds form, someone outside the top 10 in the World Rankings will have a great shot at winning. The last three U.S. Open Champions have been Michael Campbell, Geoff Ogilvy and Angel Cabrera and all were ranked outside the top 10.

Will Tiger or Phil break that string and bring the crown back to the top 10? Obviously nobody knows for sure, but if the drama on the course can equal the storylines leading up to this week’s U.S. Open, we’re definitely in for a good one.

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