US OPEN 2012: Assessing the middle groundJune, 2012
Three NCG writers look at the mid-range betting options...
MATT KUCHAR (28/1)
JW: What about Matt Kuchar, at 28/1? I think he represents an excellent option and is well fancied by many.
DM: By winning the Players Championship at Sawgrass last month, Kuchar proved that he has the temperament to win big tournaments. For me, he ticks all the boxes and I respect his chances. 28/1 is a great price and everyone seems to forget how well he went at the Masters. Third place in that tournament proved he can play well in majors, and I can’t find many weaknesses to pinpoint in his.
JT: He strikes me as a patient golfer and almost America’s answer to Luke Donald. I don’t think he’ll be phased if he drops a few shots on the front nine, something which will be crucial at Olympic. He also doesn’t have the weight of expectation that Donald carries which again will be important. I predict really good things and if I had to pick one player to back, Kuchar would be my man.
HUNTER MAHAN (40/1)
JW: Hunter Mahan is another player who has proved that he can win big events. For me, he really doesn’t do much wrong so do we fancy his chances?
DM: Mahan is a very steady player, but I don’t think his short game is quite there to make him a serious contender. By utilising small greens with steep run off zones, Olympic will provide a severe examination of a player’s chipping ability and it will take someone great in that area to win. Having said that he’s a very good price at 40/1.
By winning the Players Championship at Sawgrass last month, Kuchar proved that he has the temperament to win big tournaments.
DUSTIN JOHNSON (33/1)
JW: Dustin Johnson marked something of a return to form last week by winning the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, but I just feel that his inability to hit the driver this week will severely impact on his game because it removes his biggest strength. What do we think?
DM: I’m a huge fan of Johnson but Olympic isn’t his type of course so he should look for another major for me. As a longer hitter, he could benefit from having tees which are moved forward, but his inability to hit from left to right will make it extremely hard for him to win.
JT: I think he’s a little bit undercooked. We’ve already touched on the reduced impact for longer hitters, but Johnson has only just come back from injury and hasn’t played a lot of golf this year. Over four days that will show for me, so I don’t back him.
JIM FURYK (33/1)
JW: We’ve seen Jim Furyk placed at 33/1 despite not having won anything all year. His game is extremely solid but the price seems a little low in my mind.
DM: He’s a good player but I don’t think his putting is good enough to win the US Open.
JT: I just wonder if the price is based on people taking each way bets? If you’re looking for someone to finish in the top ten then Furyk would be a safe call to fulfil that bet.
RICKIE FOWLER (40/1)
JW: Rickie Fowler has been consistent this year, but at 40/1 people don’t seem to want to back him. Why do we think that is? His putting is a little suspect and he isn’t the most solid off the tee so does that rule him out?
DM: My guess would be the shocking 84 that he hit at Memorial has impacted heavily and pushed Fowler’s price up. People shouldn’t be duped into thinking that he hasn’t played well this year though because he has. He’s natural, streaky but extremely ballsy and won’t be scared of the course. I’d love to see him win.
JT: He’s got all the makings of a US Open winner for me, so at 40/1 I’m definitely having a punt. Whether this is his year or not is more questionable, but he’s supremely gifted and shows a lot of character every time he plays.