The United States Golf Association play a key role in the development of golf all around the world. Along with the Royal and Ancient, they set rules for what golf equipment can and can’t do with the aim of keeping the game more about skill than it is about technology. The USGA know that golf is hard and they intend to ensure that it remains a very difficult game to master.
When it comes to the major championship that they host – the US Open – the USGA like to remind the players that although they may be the best in the world, they’ve not yet mastered the game of golf.
The USGA do this by deliberately picking tough golf courses and then setting them up so that they play even harder. It is not uncommon to see a US Open won in an over par score and that looks to be an absolute certainty this week at Oakmont Country Club.
Oakmont is one of the most difficult tests of golf in the world. The par 70 includes a par three that measures 288 yards and a par five that stretches to 667 yards. It’s also a very tough test of accuracy. A number of strategically placed bunkers are waiting to gobble up any stray balls and the rough – both around the fairways and the greens – is especially penal. It is almost unbelievably hard to hit the greens in regulation but once there the players will find putting surfaces that are as fast as anywhere in the world.
When it comes to picking a winner for a US Open at Oakmont it is vital to pick a top class player. Almost all the previous winners here have gone on to win multiple major championships and it makes sense that we side with high quality players this week. At the moment it is fair to say that there aren’t any higher quality players than Jason Day. Day is the world number one, nobody has gained more strokes putting than the Aussie on the PGA Tour and he’s already a major champion. At 7/1 with BetVictor, Day is the favourite but he very much looks like the man to stop.
Patrick Reed is currently just outside of the world’s top 10 players and nobody doubts his golfing ability. He is also well known as one of the fiercest competitors in the world and would dearly love to bag his first major win at such an iconic and difficult venue. He is excellent at manipulating his ball flight and has a solid short game for when he misses the greens. At 50/1 with Betfred, Reed looks overpriced.
Another player who has the desired combination of ball striking ability and demon short game is Sergio Garcia. Like Reed, Garcia is yet to win a major championship but it would be a travesty if he finished his career without getting over the line in one of the biggest tournaments. Sergio’s going to have to remain patient and putt well but at 50/1 with Ladbrokes he looks a good each way bet.