Starts - 17th September
Course - Winged Foot G.C
Par - 70
Length –7,477 yards
Grass - Poa Annua and Bentgrass
Defending Champion - Dustin Johnson
Overall Profit/Loss: +21pts
Pre-Event Six to Watch
5th Xander Schauffele - 16/1
T13th Patrick Reed - 35/1
MC Justin Rose - 55/1
3rd Louis Oosthuizen - 80/1
T56th Abraham Ancer - 90/1
MC Chez Reavie - 175/1
In-Play Bets: +21pts
19 September 2020 ( -4 Points)
2pts Bubba Watson Top 5 finish - 9/1 @ Betway
2pts Brendon Todd to beat Matt Wolff - 6/5 @ Betway
18 September 2020 ( +25 Points)
1pt Each Way Sungjae Im (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6) - 100/1 @ William Hill
1pt Michael Thompson Top 10 finish - 18/1 @ Betway
1pt Zach Johnson Top 10 finish - 14/1 @ Betway
1pt Will Zalatoris Top 10 finish - 14/1 @ Betway
Designed by A.W. Tillinghast, Winged Foot was last used for the 2006 US Open and before that the 1997 USPGA Championship. Winged Foot is a severe test with only 4 players breaking par in 1997 and nobody under par in 2006 (the winning score was +5).
Winged Foot has hosted six US Opens and only one has been won with a score under par. Its difficulty can in part be attributed to its length, and the fact there are just two par 5s, the 5th and the 12th. The 12th played 640 yards in 2006 and actually played over par, whilst the 5th was much easier and was the only hole on the course that played under par!
In 2006 the 1st, 14th and 18th proved to be the 3 hardest holes, but given 17 played over par, pars are the name of the game here rather than birdies.
There have been several changes to the course since 2006. It is 213 yards longer overall with the biggest change being on the 17th, which has gained an extra 55 yeards. Several holes have also swapped par since 2006, the fifth hole becoming a par 4 from a par 5 (despite only being 13 yards shorter) and the ninth hole now plays as a par 5 instead of a par 4. We should expet the fifth to be a difficult hole this year.
As with all US Opens, the greens will be lightning fast with thick rough for those who miss the fairway. The fairways at Winged Foot in 2006 were relatively narrow but in recent years the US Open has had wider ones so it will be interesting to see how the course is set up after coming in for heavy criticism in 2006.
The 2004 US Amateur was also held here, won by Ryan Moore.
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
The US Open has been moved to September for the first time in its history. Please be aware this will change the course conditions. We have seen the effects moving a tournament can have from The Players Championship moving from May to March, so we must factor this into our analysis.
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals; Scottie Scheffler withdrew this week.
The world's top 50 players have had somewhat of a monopoly on Major titles in recent years given that the last 33 champions have been been in this bracket.
The US Open has been a younger man's Major in recent times with the last 11 winners being 35 or less. Of those, 10 were under 32.
It has also been an event which has favoured first time Major winners in recent years with 8 of the past 11 claiming their first Major. However, it's not an event to record your first ever win in America, with only one winner from the past 11 having not won on the PGA Tour before.
As with The Open Championship, experience of playing in a US Open before is essential. In the last 10 years only 1 player has won a US Open without previously having a top-25 finish and every winner in the last 10 years has made at least one previous US Open appearance.
In an event known for the thickest rough it would have been unthinkable a few years ago to predict the last four winners of the US Open would be Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka (twice) and Gary Woodland - players not known for their driving accuracy. However, big hitters have flourished in recent years. The fact that Phil Mickelson should have won the US Open here in 2006 despite being 51st in the Driving Accuracy stats shows us that we shouldn't be afraid of picking a player who follows the Johnson/Koepka/Woodland mould.
The top-4 at Winged Foot in 2006 don't give us any great clues about what to look for stats wise. Their Driving Accuracy ranged from 8th to 51st. Driving Distance showed a tighter dispersion (ranked between 6th - 29th), as did Greens in Regulation (ranked between 13th - 31st). Total putts gives us the clearest indication given that the top-4 in 2006 ranked between 7th and 13th. We want to make sure any pick has the ability to make those crucial par putts in this event.
The 2006 US Open at Winged Foot had an incredible finale from a betting perspective with three players trading at less than 1.35 on the Betfair Exchange. The 18th proved to be a real challenge as the three players eventually finishing 2nd all made a mess of it, handing the title to Geoff Ogilvy. Phil Mickelson had a Van De Velde moment when he only needed a par for the title, or a bogey for a playoff, but recorded a double bogey after attempting a ridiculous 2nd shot. Prior to that, Colin Montgomerie also managed to make double bogey from the middle of the fairway when a par 4 would have won him his first Major.
This is a course to think about laying off/cashing out if your pick is a couple ahead playing the 72nd hole.
18 of the past 21 US Open champions have been within 4 shots of the lead after round 1 so don't look too far back if betting in play. Even more relevant is the need to be in the top 6 at the halfway stage. Only 1 person in the last 24 years has won having been outside the top 6 at halfway. The past 21 champions have all been within 4 shots going into the final round.
Six To Watch
Xander Schauffele - 16/1 @ William Hill
Although we are not overjoyed by his price, Xander is our pick of the favourites. His performance at East Lake was particularly impressive, finishing 5th for SG: Off the tee, 1st for SG: Putting and 2nd for scrambling. Form figures of 3-6-5 in the last three US Opens are simply too good to ignore - with no weaknesses in his game, Xander is perfect for the toughest test in golf which simply explains his liking for this major. He has only finished outside the top 25 once in his last 10 starts since lockdown which shows the consistency to his game. It will be of upmost importance that the winner has confidence in every area of his game.
Patrick Reed - 35/1 @ William Hill
All the talk has been that it is going to be a grind and the winner will have to scramble well. The pantomime villain is the first name that springs to mind in that category. Patrick is terrific around the greens as showed at East Lake when he ranked 1st for Scrambling. Even more impressively, he ranked 2nd for SG: Off the tee and 1st for driving accuracy en route to his top 10 finish. He has been trending in the right direction for some weeks now and he looks an ideal fit for this course.
Justin Rose - 55/1 @ William Hill
Another scrapper who springs to mind is former US Open champion Justin Rose - he appears to be the forgotten man out of the world's elite. Is considered "out of form" at the moment although was 9th at the PGA three starts ago and 25th at his last appearance, the Northern Trust. He ranked 12th for SG: Off the tee that week, 9th SG: Tee to green and 5th GIR so his game appears in solid shape. Justin thrives at difficult golf courses, finished 3rd and 10th in his last two US Opens, and is too big at 55/1 given his pedigree.
Louis Oosthuizen - 80/1 @ BetVictor
The South African is playing really steady golf with form figures of 25-13-33-6 and has become a consistent performer in majors in the last 5 years. He already has an Open Championship under his belt and missed out on a playoff in this event in 2015 by one, in addition to a 7th place last year. Out of the 60/1-100/1 category Louis is our pick of the bunch.
Abraham Ancer - 90/1 @ Bet365
This test looks set to call for a great driver of the ball, which Abraham does very well. He is 33rd for SG: Off the tee this year and as an added bonus for Winged Foot he is 11th for Scrambling. He finished 14th at East Lake without the handicap on his last start and is becoming increasingly more comfortable in this company. He may well take inspiration from Collin Morikawa's fearless performance at the PGA last month, and at 90/1 it is worth chancing him contending.
Chez Reavie - 175/1 @ BetVictor
Chez finished like a train at the Safeway Open en route to his 3rd place and, more importantly, his stats impressed too. He ranked 1st for driving accuracy, 1st for SG: Approach the green and 1st for SG: Tee to green. Known for finding fairways, Chez could keep out of the rough more than most and if he keeps that level of iron play he could have more birdie chances than others. He was also in the top 50 for scrambling on tour last season which will help around here. One final bonus, he finished 3rd at the US Open last year. He could be one to keep an eye on at a big price.
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20th September 2020
Matt Wolff cut through the field yesterday with a 65 that could have easily been a few shots better. He will today aim to be only the second person in the last 24 years to win the US Open from outside the top six at halfway.
Its a case of deja vu for Matt as his main challenger is Bryson DeChambeau. Matt won his sole PGA Tour title at the 3M Open in 2019 by holing a huge eagle putt at the last to deny Bryson. The tables were turned in July this year as Bryson overcame Matt's three shot lead after 54 holes to win by three.
Matt described himself as "antsy" at the Rocket Mortgage and it's difficult to imagine that won't be the case again today as he goes for his first Major. He describes his agent's battle with stomach cancer as putting things into "perspective" but it's hard not to imagine him dropping a couple of shots early on. He only has a 3 star Golf Betting Club Pressure Performance Rating and as such, we don't see him as the most likely winner today.
Bryson DeChambeau was impressive yesterday in the way he dug out a score when all was not going well for him. A level par 70 may have been his worst score of the week but a number of putts grazed the hole and he'll relish reeling in Matt as he did at the Rocket Mortgage. As outlined in his Player Profile, each time he has been in contention and trailing over the past 7 months he's posted a score no worse than 66. The deficit is only two today and whilst we don't expect Bryson to post a 66 or better, we do think he is the most likely winner from here.
Those of you who backed our Six To Watch at the start of the week have some interest remaining as 80/1 Louis Oosthuizen goes into the final round in 3rd and 16/1 Xander Schauffele sits 4th. Louis, Xander and Hideki Matsuyama are lively outtsiders to lift the trophy should the front two slip up significantly.
As outlined in our Preview, please note several players traded heavily odds on in 2006, only to collapse at the final hole. Do think about cashing out any bets with a hole to go if you are risk averse.
19th September 2020
-2 Cabrera Bello
With the wind up and the greens drying out we saw much higher scoring at Winged Foot. Only three players broke par and only six remain under par.
The 4/1 favourite after round one, Justin Thomas, slipped back with a horror run of five dropped shots in seven holes. His driving was particularly wayward but he steadied the ship well coming home and remains a 5/1 shot.
Patrick Reed somehow scrambled his way to an even par round to take the lead but he'll need to improve his long game considerably if he is going to win. He has yet to crack the top 60 either day for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee. We'd obviously love to see him finish the job as we put him up as one of our Six To Watch at 35/1 but we have our doubts and don't see any value backing him at 9/2.
One man who is driving the ball well is Bryson DeChambeau. He's hit 50% of fairways to date and considering the length he has off the tee it's no surprise he's ranked 7th and 2nd the first two days for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee. He was widely written off before the start but conditions have suited and he'll certainly be in contention come Sunday.
The stats tell us only one man in the past 24 years has won from outside the top six at the halfway stage so the winner is likely to come from those six players currently under par. We don't see any value at present in the outright market but have identified bets in others.
2PTS BUBBA WATSON TOP 5 FINISH - 9/1 @ BETWAY
Bubba is probably the last person you'd expect to prosper at a US Open but Winged Foot appears to be bringing the best out of him. Whether it is the severly undulating greens or the necessity to shape the ball both ways, he has risen to the challenge admirably. He's ranked inside the top 15 both days for SG: Off The Tee and yesterday was 9th for SG: Approach. His family and friends have been affected by Hurricane Sally over the past few days and this may inspire Bubba to give them something to cheer. He's spoken of the need to keep "battling" and it may be the wider goings on will inspire him to post a high finish.
2PTS BRENDON TODD TO BEAT MATT WOLFF - 6/5 @ BETWAY
Brendon had an uncharacteristically poor day with the irons yesterday but can be backed to win his two ball against Matt Wolff. Matt prospered on day one with soft conditions but struggled yesterday as the wind picked up and the course played firmer. Brendon is an accurate player who relishes firm and fast conditions and he is favoured to win this one.
18th September 2020
-2 Six players tied.
There was much hype about this year's US Open being the 'toughest ever' but yesterday didn't play out that way. Soft greens and easy pin placements ensured 21 players broke par and Justin Thomas in particular made it look quite easy. Many were seen hacking fairway woods out of the dreaded rough to the fronts of the greens which was not the punishment we were warned of for a wide drive.
One thing is for sure, the course will get tougher as the week goes on - the question is how tougher will it play today. Well firstly, the forecast is for the wind to be more of a factor which should dry out the course naturally. Pin placements are sure to be tougher but they are probably saving the best for the weekend. The USGA certainly won't want to let the scoring get embarrassingly low for a US Open.
With all that said, Thomas played some tremendous golf and was gaining over a shot on every strokes gained category. If he can maintain that level of consistency all week he will go on to win - but an afternoon start with the course starting to firm up is enough to put us off him at 4/1.
It is looking like a tricky one to call after 18 holes, although we have selected one each way play. It is the Top 10 market which gets our early attention as Betway are offering stand-out odds on three players who we think will enjoy the conditions getting tougher. All of our selections have morning starts in the hope they get the best of it.
1PT EW SUNGJAE IM - 100/1 @ WILLIAM HILL (1/5 - 1,2,3,4,5,6)
All the talk now is about the course getting gradually tougher as each day goes on and it reminded us the Arnold Palmer Invitational in which the exact same happened earlier in the season. Tyrrell Hatton won despite playing the weekend in 73-74 and Sungjae played it in exactly the same strokes to finish 3rd.
He has opened up with par 70 and sits 5 shots back, but he was joint leader for greens in regulation, 7th for fairways hit and 8th for distance. If his putter can heat up a little Sungjae could stick around all week and offers good value at 100/1. He was 12th for 72 hole score at the Tour Championship in his last start after a second round 64 and something similar today will put him right in it.
1PT WILL ZALATORIS TOP 10 FINISH - 14/1 @ BETWAY
Will has lit up the Korn Ferry Tour since Lockdown with eight top 10s including a win. He fought back beautifully to get to level par yesterday and should take great momentum into today. Ranked 17th SG: Off the tee and 6th SG: Approach and the fearless youngster has the game to sneak a top 10. #
1PT ZACH JOHNSON TOP 10 FINISH - 14/1 @ BETWAY
Zach is also one of the group at level par and should the course begin to firm up that will play into his hands significantly. Both of his major wins were in these conditions and he won't mind a bit of wind today either. He has shown glimpses of a return to firm in recent weeks with a 7th at Wyndham and an 11th at the Travelers and might have enough fight to stick around all week.
1PT MICHAEL THOMPSON TOP 10 FINISH - 18/1 @ BETWAY
Michael has previous of good finishes at tough golf course - 2nd at the 2013 US Open and a win a the 2013 Honda Classic demonstrate this. He returned to the winner's circle at the 3M Open a few weeks ago which should give him the confidence to believe he can compete. Ranked 11th for SG: Approach and 7th for fairways yesterday which show his long game good shape.