By: Field Level Media
Tiger Woods puts the West Course at Winged Foot among the three hardest courses he has played in the world.
“I think it’s right up there next to Oakmont and I think Carnoustie as far as just sheer difficulty without even doing anything to it,” Woods said after a practice round ahead of Thursday’s start of the U.S. Open in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
“I think those three golf courses, they can host major championships without ever doing anything to them.”
Woods is one of only 15 players in this week’s field who competed in the last U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2006, when Geoff Ogilvy won at 5 over par.
And the course has been lengthened significantly in the past 14 years.
“It seems like every green you have to walk back a little bit farther,” said Woods, who conceded that technology has players hitting the ball to similar spots for approach shots.
The expected difficulty of this week’s U.S. Open — where the rough could be five or six inches long — makes the prop market equally as compelling as outright winner bets this week.
PointsBet is one of the sportsbooks offering winning score odds. Even par for the tournament would be 280. PointsBet is offering +100 for the winning store to be at even or higher.
The book is offering +160 odds on the winning score being between 277-279 (1 to 3 under) and +350 to be 276 (4 under) or better.
Only one of five previous U.S. Opens held on the West Course was won with a score under par. That was Fuzzy Zoeller at 4 under in a playoff over Greg Norman in 1984. In addition to Ogilvy, the others were won with over-par scores: Bobby Jones (6 over) as an amateur in 1929; Billy Casper, 2 over in 1959; Hale Irwin (7 over) in 1974.
PointsBet is also offering a cut-line score market: +300 for the cut line to fall at 5-over 145 or lower, +125 for 7-over 147 or higher and +150 for it to fall at exactly 6-over 146.
Best PGA Prop Bets for the US Open
The five previous U.S. Opens held at Winged Foot have featured two playoffs, a pair of one-shot victories and Irwin’s two-shot win over Forrest Fezler.
But PointsBet is offering the brave bettor +275 odds on the winning margin being at least four strokes. The shortest odds are on a one-shot victory (+250), with a playoff (+350) followed by two-shot (+400) and three-shot (+550) margins.
Leading wire to wire at any major is a herculean task, much less accomplishing the feat on one of the world’s most difficult tracks.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson leads those prop markets, including +5000 by PointsBet and +1200 by William Hill.
If anyone can manage the feat, it’s likely Johnson. He is the first player since Woods in 1999 to hold the 54-hole lead or co-lead in four consecutive starts, and he has played 18 of his past 20 rounds in the 60s.
He’s also the pre-tournament favorite at most sportsbooks. That includes +850 at William Hill and FanDuel and +900 at PointsBet.
Second-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain is the clear second betting favorite at +1000 at all three books. Third-ranked Justin Thomas is +1400 at William Hill and FanDuel and +1500 at PointsBet.
Xander Schauffele has +1400 odds at FanDuel and is +1600 at the other two.
Between the four of them, Johnson, Rahm, Thomas and Schauffele own two combined majors, so there is plenty of room to sift through the 144-player field for experienced major resumes and players entering on hot streaks.
The former includes Woods while the later certainly does not.
Tiger Odds at the US Open
The 15-time major winner has played in only four events since the PGA Tour’s restart in mid-June. His best finish was a tie for 37th at the PGA Championship, and Woods failed to qualify for the Tour Championship for the second consecutive year.
There is little evidence to believe that Woods will be a factor this week. He is not among the top 15 favorites at +5000 at PointsBet and William Hill.
Woods has admitted being affected by the lack of a buzz from the gallery, but his fans can get their fill of Woods action on the prop market.
He is -200 to make the cut at both books, while Woods is +800 at William Hill to finish in the top five, +400 to finish in the top 10 and +175 to secure a top-20 finish. He is also +5000 to lead after the first round.
Several books are also offering Woods-related match and group bets.
William Hill is offering Woods at +100 to finish the tournament ahead of Australia’s Adam Scott (-125). PointsBet is offering the same matchup odds on Woods with Scott at -134, and another matchup with Woods +100 vs. England’s Tyrrell Hatton (-134).
Will Woods be the top finishing American? He’s way down the list on that wager at PointsBet, where at +3300 he sports the same odds as second-year pro Matthew Wolff and struggling Rickie Fowler. The book also has Woods in a group bet at +325 against Australia’s Jason Day (+325) and Englishmen Justin Rose (+325), Paul Casey (+400) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (+400).
Come the weekend, most eyes are expected to shift away from Woods and to the first page of the leaderboard.
Johnson and Rahm battled it out throughout the FedEx Cup playoffs, and they are expected to be in the hunt again this week.
PointsBet is offering Johnson at -113 in a tournament prop against Rahm (-119), while Rahm has shorter odds at -106 to rip off a longer drive this week than Johnson (-115).
At a course such as Winged Foot, sheer distance won’t make as big of a difference if balls are routinely coming to rest in that wicked rough.
So while bettors might flock to Bryson DeChambeau for his -110 odds to produce a drive longer than 378 yards this week, the smarter play might be for a tournament win by a player such as Webb Simpson, who finished last season 18th in driving accuracy while averaging a respectable 296.2 yards off the tee.
The sixth-ranked Simpson claimed his lone major title at the 2012 U.S. Open and can be had for +2500 at William Hill and +2800 at PointsBet.