U.S. Open odds in Tiger Woods' favor at Bethpage Black
I've never bet on golf in my life, but if I was in Las Vegas this week I might place a wager on Tiger Woods. At even money, it's the best bet you'll find at a casino, with a better chance of coming through than betting on black in roulette. If Woods plays well, he wins. It's that simple. If he plays OK, he'll probably win. If he plays poorly, then a handful of other guys have a legitimate shot. Here's how I'd handicap the 2009 U.S. Open.
The Favorite and the Six Who Can Win
Tiger Woods (even money): Considering Woods won last year on a broken leg, he's the clear choice to win this year at Bethpage. He's rested, he's healthy and it's a course he plays well on. I actually can't imagine Tiger not winning this tournament.
Angel Cabrera (3 to 1): The
forgotten man who happens to be the defending Masters champion and a
former U.S. Open champion. Cabrera hasn't been consistent, but we know
he has all the facets of the game. He's playing at the peak of his
powers and he could be on a three-year run of excellence where he's
going to contend in big events, like Ernie Els and Sandy Lyle did.
Geoff Ogilvy (3 to 1): Ogilvy has the game and the mentality to win, and he can putt. He's impervious to all the other stuff that wears guys down at majors and he can handle a one-on-one situation on Sunday.
Phil Mickelson (4 to 1): Mickelson is not playing great, but it's a course he likes in a city that likes him. He'll be the sentimental favorite this week as he's dealing with his wife's illness. But he'll need something strange to happen to win, like Tiger losing his driver again. Phil can't win if Tiger plays well. Nobody can.
Retief Goosen (8 to
1): Case of horses for courses. Goosen has proved he has a U.S. Open
game and the New York crowd won't bother him. Could anything bother the
unflappable Goose? An Old West saloon brawl? An attacking bear?
Steve Stricker (8 to 1): He's playing really well right now and this is a good spot for him.
Stenson (10 to 1): His game is now at the level where he must be
included in the group of contenders. Plus he's not afraid of Tiger,
which is not true for most guys in the field.
Guys Who Could Maybe Win if Everything, and I Mean Everything, Goes Their Way
Harrington (10 to 1): His form has been down this year and he hasn't
challenged. Winning a major has more to do with how you're playing at
the time than who you are.
Zach Johnson (12 to 1): His ball flight is a low draw which is not great for the U.S. Open. At Bethpage, you need a high, soft shot and Johnson doesn't have one. On the plus side, he's having a good year and we know he can win a big one.
Paul Casey (15 to 1): He is a popular
dark-horse pick, but I don't see it. Casey is the one guy other than
Sergio I can see being negatively affected by the New York crowd. (The fans haven't forgotten his controversial Ryder Cup comments about Americans.) They
say you don't win the Open, the Open wins you. He doesn't feel ready
Brian Gay (15 to 1): He's not great on long courses, but he's great on tight courses. If you can win at Harbour Town, you can compete at a U.S. Open. Plus, he's playing well right now and that's so important.
Jim Furyk (18 to 1): You can't write off a former Open champ who can putt, but it's hard to see Furyk winning Bethpage.
Ernie Els (20 to 1): I give Els an outside chance, although that might be wishful thinking. He is playing a little better and he's had U.S. Open success.
Tim Clark (20 to 1): Wouldn't be the first time a guy won his first tournament at the U.S. Open.
The Thanks-for-Coming, It-Was-Great-to-See-You Guys
Vijay Singh (25 to 1): His time has probably come and gone. He doesn't put well enough to win a U.S. Open.
Anthony Kim (30 to 1): Doesn't have the intangibles yet to win majors. Plus, the U.S. Open requires patience, which is not how he likes to play. Throughout his career, this tournament will always give him trouble. Remember, he never played well at the Amateur either. The Masters, which rewards aggressiveness, is a much better fit for him.
Ian Poulter (30 to 1), Camilo Villegas (30 to 1), Sean O'Hair (30 to 1), Lee Westwood (35 to 1), Kenny Perry (35 to 1): These guys deserve a mention, and here it is.
Rory McIlroy (40 to 1): He's not ready for prime time. How on earth could he handle Tiger? Probably only Cabrera, Mickelson and Ogilvy have what it takes to do that.
Rocco Mediate (50 to 1): He should just try to enjoy the week. He earned it.
The No-Frigging-Way-He-Can-Win Guy
Sergio Garcia (100 to 1): There's no way in hell he wins this tournament. He lacks all of the intangibles it takes to win majors. He whines, he can't putt and he's got no fight in him. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong guy.
Wow, no love or line for Sean O'hair? He'll post a top 10 at least...
I know, I kinda agree. However, he has to win something for me to consider him a threat in what is the most demanding tournament out there. I know he has had some success, but not on any major level. I really like the guy and think he has a fantastic swing, but I want to see the results. I will say Jerry that I hope he makes me look bad and wins this thing.
Sergio never going to win a major? I am not a believer, but I think he
has the game if he can get his head out of his arse to get it together
I used to think he would win several, but I am losing my confidence in him. His attitude is awful, I can't recal a bigger whiner in the last thirty years of following the game. He acts as if he is owed something from the game, just becasue he is "Sergio". If Tiger drove the ball as well as Sergio, he would win every major by double digits, Garcia is that good from the tee. The fact is the majority of girls playing under 10 soccer (I have 2 in my house) have better attitudes than Sergio. Look at Duval, the guy has no reason to stick his neck out and embarass himself like he has except for the fact that he loves to compete. I have more respect for his courage as a player than I will ever have for Garcia. Duval is a grinder, Sergio is just plain soft.