US Open Golf Betting Tips, Stats & History - Thursday 14th June 2018

Golf Green at Pebble Beach California, USA

As one of the four majors, the US Open is widely regarded as one of the pinnacles of the men’s game in golf. It was first established in 1895 and over the last 120+ years it’s remained relatively true to its routes of allowing both amateur and professional players to play in the same completion.

The tournament is held every year and takes place across a range of courses throughout the US. The courses are one of the more interesting aspects to the event as they are generally set up to be about as tough as you find. Compared with regular PGA Tour events, the US Open on average plays several shots harder, highlighting both the severity of the courses and the fact that only the best players will prosper. 

The courses are chosen on a rota basis and each year will be at a different course. Course layout, severity, facilities and the ability to host tens of thousands of fans over the span of the 4 days are the main criteria for course selection. As it’s held in the middle of June each year means that the climate does play a role, with the North East of America hosting significantly more US Open’s than any other area across the US. 

US Open Golf Betting Tips for 2018

Regal Rahm to Reign at Shinnecock

It’s been a tough few years for the U.S. Open. The 2015 tournament was held at the woeful Chambers Bay, 2016 saw a rules officiating nightmare almost cost Dustin Johnson a deserved win and last year golf fans witnessed Erin Hills rolling over and having its belly tickled by Brooks Koepka. Those recent missteps have hurt the USGA but order should be restored to the second major of the year with a return to Shinnecock Hills.

Golf course designers have had to adapt their approach over the last 20 years or so to keep pace with a game that’s increasingly about power and less about finesse. There are some very clever ways to keep scoring down but too many courses have gone down the route of lengthening and making the greens as difficult as possible. Shinnecock Hills has clearly got longer but strategic hazards, penal rough and the wind act as the main defence rather than the greens. Those who can harness their power to hit fairways and greens will have a distinct advantage this week.

Jon Rahm (22/1)

Jon Rahm is not the sort of man to back away from a challenge. The Spaniard moved to America for college despite only having rudimental English and was speaking fluently inside a year. That thirst for a challenge and conscientious approach to difficult tasks has helped him no end on the golf course, as is clear by the fact he’s won multiple times on both the European and PGA Tours at the age of 23.

Rahm’s maiden European Tour success came at the 2017 Irish Open which was held at Portstewart despite the fact that he’d never really played well at links courses before. Rahm and his caddie, Adam Hayes, put together a rock solid plan which was executed to perfection that week. They’ll have another well-crafted plan of attack at Shinnecock Hills and there is absolutely no doubt Rahm has the skills to thrive in New York. He’s always going to be towards the top of the betting but Betfred are quoting 22/1 on Rahm winning which looks a great price.

Louis Oosthuizen (66/1)

Louis Oosthuizen has incredibly finished second at each of golf’s major championships. The 2010 Open Championship win is Oosthuizen’s only major triumph to date but he may be about the double his tally at Shinnecock Hills. The South African clearly has the links pedigree to cope with the rough, the test of short game and the tough weather conditions he’ll find in New York. He also has the length off the tee to set up plenty of scoreable approach shots and the accuracy to find the fairways.

The South African heads to the east coast of America with some very interesting form stats in recent weeks. He is a player who tends to blow hot and cold, often missing the cut but on the weeks where he does start well, he tends to go close. He missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer and then was tied 9th in the WGC Match Play and 12th at the Masters. Two more missed cuts followed before a fifth place finish at Fort Worth and a tie for 13th last time out at the Memorial.

He’s currently 33 in the world rankings but if was to be just a little more consistent from week to week he would easily be in the top 20. For a player with such a good major pedigree, odds of 66/1 with Ladbrokes make an each way bet on Oosthuizen bordering on a no brainer. He MIGHT not make the weekend but such huge odds make it a bet very much worth placing for the good chance he’ll be in contention.

Francesco Molinari (66/1)

There aren’t many golfers feeling better about their game right now than Francesco Molinari. The Italian utilised his incredibly controlled swing to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and go close to victory at the Italian Open the very next week. Molinari has also said that he believes Shinnecock Hill provides him with the best shot of winning the U.S. Open so far so back him each way, also at very big looking odds of 66/1 with Betfred.

Molinari has moved up to 18 in the official golf world rankings, not far off his career high. Top 20s at the WGC Match Play and Masters show he is capable of mixing it with the very best and now could be his time to really contend at a major. He will be full of confidence and with Betfred paying each way bets down to a huge seven places, odds of 66/1 really do look generous.

Shinnecock Hills Course Info

Shinnecock Hills is widely regarded as one of the very best golf courses in America. It’s a links style layout that has remained true to the architectural vision of William Flynn who did such great work in 1930. The players have been fulsome in their praise of the venue, claiming that the winner will be the man who plays the best golf, not the man who gets luckiest. The cream will rise to the top this week and it could well be the time that Jon Rahm makes the step up to become a major champion.

Shinnecock Hills was established over 125 years ago. A lot of work has gone into the layout since then and the 2012 redesign overseen by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore has done a great job of ensuring it remains a firm but fair test for the world’s best golfers. The introduction of new championship tees has taken the par 70 course to a challenging 7,445 yards with the compromise being the widening of many fairways. Still, this is not the safe haven for bombers that Erin Hills was last year and will be particularly tough if and when the wind blows.

Qualification & Format

Golf Scorecard, Tees, Balls and Club

One of the reasons why the US Open holds such high esteem in the golfing world is that technically any player with a handicap of 1.4 or better can qualify to play alongside the professionals. Each year the field will include 156 players and from that a host of qualifiers are played for access into the event. 

Amateur players can gain entry by either being the winner or runner –up from the previous year’s US Amateur, the winner of the Amateur Championship, the top ranked amateur in the world, US mid-amateur and US junior amateur champions. 

From the professionals, the top 60 from the Official World Golf Rankings are all exempt, along with previous major winners, winners of high-profile tournaments such as the Players, BMW PGA and Tour Championship, including that of players on the senior tour as well. A series of qualifying events are held around the world, open for both professional and amateurs alike. 

Format

The tournament itself includes four rounds, which starts on the Thursday and run through to the Sunday. Each round includes 18 holes in total and the format is that of strokeplay. After 36 holes a cut is made, with the top 70 and ties or players within 10 shots of the lead. The remaining players all get to play over the weekend and the player with the lowest number of strokes across 72 holes will be deemed the winner.

Play-offs

As of the 2018 tournament, if there is a tie for the lead after 72 holes, those players will advance to a two-hole aggregate play-off to determine the winner. This means the scores are taken across both holes played. If any players remain tied after these two holes, they will continue to play one hole at a time in a sudden death format.

18 Hole Play-Off

Prior to the 2018 rule change, The US Open was unique in that it was the only one of the four majors that played an 18-hole play-off the following day should one or more players be tied on the same score. The players would all start from scratch and then the winner would be the player with lowest score over 18 holes. If scores were still tied then a sudden-death format would be played. Since 1895 the US Open has only ever had 33 play-off rounds, only three in the last 25 years, the latest won by Tiger Woods in 2008 at Torrey Pines.

Last 5 US Open Play-Offs

YearWinnerWinning MarginRunner(s)-up
2008 Tiger Woods (USA) 1 shot (18 holes) Rocco Mediate (USA)
2001 Retief Goosen (RSA) 2 shots (18 holes) Mark Brooks (USA)
1994 Ernie Els (RSA) 1 shot (19 holes) Loren Roberts (USA)
Colin Montgomerie (SCO) +4
1991 Payne Stewart (USA) 2 shots (18 holes) Scott Simpson (USA)
1990 Hale Irwin (USA) 1 shot (19 holes) Mike Donald (USA)

Lead-up Tournaments

The US Open has a couple of high profile tournaments that lead up to the event in the form of the Fed Ex St. Jude Classic the week before and the Memorial Tournament, the week before that. The two events are often seen as part of a busy swing for the professional tour, with the major of players looking to hone their skills in order to be ready for one of the biggest prizes in golf. 

Host Venues

Pebble Beach Golf Course Fairway

The course rota is one of the most anticipated and debated in the golf when it comes to the US Open. As mentioned earlier, the USGA who host the event generally look to pick the hardest tests possible for the US Open. The majority of courses that you will see are links based, but not always exclusive to this style, with the likes of Pinehurst No.2 and Congressional being two examples. But courses such as Pebble Beach and Whistling Straits are some of the best links style courses in the world, let alone in the US. 

One thing that is worth noting is that the USGA often go back to tired and tested venues, but also include those that either haven’t hosted for a number of years and have been improved and occasionally new courses to the tour altogether. Below is a list of the next 10 venues for the US Open.

Upcoming Venues of the US Open

YearCourseLocationCourse Yardage
2018 Shinnecock Hills Golf Club Southampton, New York 7445
2019 Pebble Beach Golf Links Monterey County, California 7040
2020 Winged Foot Golf Club Mamaroneck, New York 7258
2021 Torrey Pines (South Course) La Jolla, San Diego, California 7628
2022 The Country Club Brookline, Massachusetts 7033
2023 Los Angeles Country Club Los Angeles, California 7200
2024 Pinehurst Moore County, North Carolina 7588
2025 Oakmont Country Club Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 7255
2026 Shinnecock Hills Golf Club Southampton, New York 7445
2027 Pebble Beach Golf Links Monterey County, California 7040

Whilst dozens of golf courses across America have been lucky enough to host a US Open, there are a few courses that get frequented on the rota more than others. No course has held more tournaments that Oakmont Golf and Country Club, with 9 in total stretching from 1927 through to 2016. Baltusrol Golf club is second with 7 and Oakland Hills is third with 6. 

US Open Most Used Courses

Course

US Opens Held

When

Oakmont Country Club

9

2016, 2007, 1994, 1983, 1973, 1962, 1953, 1935, 1927

Baltusrol Golf Club

7

1993, 1980, 1967, 1954, 1936, 1915, 1903

Oakland Hills Country Club

6

1996, 1985, 1961, 1951, 1937, 1924

Merion Golf Club

5

2013 ,1981, 1971, 1950, 1934

Olympic Club

5

2012, 1998, 1987, 1966, 1955

Pebble Beach Golf Links

5

2010, 2000, 1992, 1982, 1972

Winged Foot Golf Club

5

2006, 1984, 1974, 1959, 1929

Prize Money

The US Open is actually the richest golf tournament in the world with a total purse of $12 million and the winner picking up a cool $2.16 million. To compare that to other majors, the Masters has a purse of $11 million with the PGA at $10 million. The Open Championships have a purse of £6.5 million, but this does fluctuate given the current state of the economy and exchange rates. 

Payouts for the Top 10 Positions in the 2017 US Open

  • Winner: $2.16 million
  • Runner Up: $1.3 million
  • 3rd: $804,023
  • 4th: $563,642
  • 5th: $469,460
  • 6th: $416,263
  • 7th: $375,278
  • 8th: $336,106
  • 9th: $304,188
  • 10th: $279,403

Statistics

As with all the majors, aside from probably the Masters as it resides at the same location each years, the courses and picked and selected to not favour one player type each year. As you can see from the table above of the courses over the next 10 years with the lengths, you get short courses such as Shinnecock and long courses such as Torrey Pines. 

The list of winners over the last decade doesn’t really show an awful in terms of correlation in terms of driving distance either. Whilst previous winners such as Koepka and Dustin Johnson are undoubtedly bombers, the likes of Jordan Spieth, Martin Kaymer and Webb Simpson are definitely not players you would associate with hitting the ball out of sight.

US Open Winners

Year

Player

Nationality

Venue

Winning Score

Margin

2017

Brooks Koepka

US

Erin Hills

-16

4

2016

Dustin Johnson

US

Oakmont

-4

3

2015

Jordan Spieth

US

Chambers Bay

-5

1

2014

Martin Kaymer

Germany

Pinehurst No.2

-9

8

2013

Justin Rose

England

Merion

+1

2

2012

Webb Simpson

US

Olympic Club

+1

1

2011

Rory McIlroy

Northern Irish

Congressional

-16

8

2010

Graeme McDowell

Northern Irish

Pebble Beach

E

1

2009

Lucas Glover

US

Bethpage

-4

2

2008

Tiger Woods

US 

Torrey Pines

-1

Playoff 

The main key ingredient we think that links all of the winners is being solid off the tee (hitting lots of fairways, not necessarily long) and having a good short game. The US Open tracks are set up to be very tough with 5 out of the last 10 events winning at scores of level or over par. Players are going to make bogeys, but making sure that they limit them to just that and not double, triple or even worse really keeps a round going. 

Winner's Nationality

The Americans have dominated the event though and put claim to 83 winners in total. To put that in perspective, Scottish players are the next most successful, with 13 winners overall. But, the Europeans have made a bit of comeback in recent years, with winner such as Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer winning 4 of the last 8 US Open’s. 

Pie Chart of US Open Winning Nationalities

Most Sucessful Players

There are currently 4 players who are tied with most wins (4) overall at the US Open, these are Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones (amateur), Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus. They also just so happen to be some of the best players to have played the game. Tiger Woods is the most successful from the modern era, with 3 wins to his name. 

Record Scores

Rory McIlroy had one of the most incredible 4 days in US Open history back in 2011 when he destroyed the notoriously difficult Congressional Country Club, shooting a score of 268, which equated to 16 under par, the lowest US Open score ever. 

His 8 shot victory was mightily impressive, but it failed to beat the greatest margin of victory ever recorded at a US Open of a staggering 15 shots by that of Tiger Woods in 2000 at Pebble Beach. What was most staggering about the victory or manner of victory even, is that Woods’ score was 12 under par, meaning he was the only player to be under par that week. Just let that sink in. The only player under par from 150+ players and his score was 12 under! It’s widely regarded as one of the most dominating victories on a golf course of all time. 

Bar Chart of Record US Open Winning Margins

In terms of general scores posted, a huge range can occur at the US Open, which is what it’s one of the most exciting majors. As we’ve stated, in the last 10 years alone wining scores as high as +5 have won it, with scores as lows as McIlroy’s record of 16 under and pretty much everything in between. As a middle ground you would be looking at around 5 under, but again, it has so much to do with the course set up and weather that it’s tough to really back up these assumptions. 

Other Records

The oldest winner of the US Open was that of Hale Irwin in 1990 at 45 years and 15 days, with the youngest being that of John McDermott, aged just 19 years and 10 months in 1911. 

The amateurs, in all honesty tend to struggle at the event and there hasn’t been an amateur winner since Johnny Goodman in 1933. The last highest ranked amateur was that of Jack Nicklaus in 1960, finishing second to none other than the great, Arnold Palmer.

History

The US Open has been about since 1895, making it one of the oldest golf tournaments in the world. Interestingly enough, the first tournament was actually played by just 11 players, 1 of which was an amateur. The event took place at the Newport Country Club. At the time, the golf course only had 9 holes, so in total 36 holes were played (4 rounds of 9) with all of them being played in the same day.

The first winner of the US Open was that of Horace Rawlins, who won the tournament aged just 21 years old. Much to the American’s dismay, Rawlins just so happened to be English as well! Rawlins went on to pick up a sizeable paycheque of $150 from the $335 prize pool. On top of that a gold medal worth $50 was also received by Rawlins, before his home club was formerly presented with the Open Championship Cup trophy for that year. 

Interestingly enough, the British dominated early US Opens and it wasn’t until John McDermott’s win in 1911 that the first American finally got on the board. Of course, as the sport started taking off across the pond, the dominance of the American’s really started to show, with them winning way more US Open’s than any other nation or area. Since 1950, only players from 6 other nations have won the US Open. 

The actual date of when the US Open or any of the four majors for that matter were officially crowned a major, is unknown. Many date it back to around the 1960’s when Arnold Palmer wanted to win the PGA and The Open after already winning the Masters and US Open to complete his Grand Slam. It would appear that all the four events were regarded as the biggest and best in the world, so naturally have fallen into place as the major tournaments in golf. 

Ben Hogan

Golfer Ben Hogan
Credit: Jimhealey24, Wikimedia Commons

Ben Hogan is widely regarded as one of the best and most important golfers of all time. In an illustrious career both on and off the course, Hogan picked up 9 majors in total, with four of those coming from the US Open, the tied most victories of any player ever. 

Hogan was famed for a silky smooth swing and his ball striking was often thought of to be the best ever. In fact, his book ‘5 Fundamentals of Golf’ is still one of the most popular golf teaching books of all-time and his theories are as apparent today as they were over 50 years ago. 

His win back in 1948 was probably the most impressive of his 4 US Open wins. He managed to shoot 8 under par, which was the lowest aggregate score at the US Open. But, what makes it more impressive is that this record stood for over 50 years until Tiger Woods shot 12 under at Pebble Beach in one of the most amazing US Open victories ever.

Whilst Hogan never did complete the career Grand Slam (winning all four majors in a calendar year), he went very close in 1953, winning the Masters, Open Championship and US Open. 

Francis Ouimet

Golfer Francis Ouimet
Credit: Henry Leach, cropped, Wikimedia Commons

Francis Ouimet is a name that you might not be all that familiar with, but is a hugely important figure within both the US Open and the game of golf in general. Ouimet went on to be the first amateur winner of the US Open at the 1913 event and really managed to put golf on the map for a lot of non-professional and social players. 

His win in 1913 was made even more impressive when he managed to beat two of the best players in the world in a play-off following a tied 72 holes previously. The players in question were Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, both professional golfers at the time. Ouimet’s score of -1 would comfortably beat both Vardon’s and Ray’s scores of +5 and +6, respectively, and would go down as one of the biggest sporting upsets of all-time. 

His win brought golf to the masses in the US and also tied in with the countries dominance within the US Open. In fact, many people truly believe that had Ouimet not been able to seal the deal in the playoff on the Monday, it would have set American golf back decades, such was the importance of his win. 

Rory McIlroy

Congressional Golf Course
Credit: Geoff Livingston, flickr

McIlroy is one of the best golfers of the modern era. With 4 majors to his name at the age of just 28, he’s likely going to go down as one of the best of all-time. He sprung onto the scene in 2011 with his first major win at the US Open in Congressional. But, it wasn’t the fact that he was able to win the event, it was more the manner of the win.

You see, McIlroy went on to shoot a record breaking 16 under par for a total score of 268. He ended up winning it by 8 shots in total, which is one of the biggest margins of victories ever seen as well. Basically, the then 22-year-old had blitzed hundreds of years’ worth of golfing records within just 4 rounds. 

But, his record at the US Open since that win has been pretty poor for his standards. He’s actually missed the cut on 3 of his following 6 events and just one top 10 finish to speak of. 

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