US Open 2013 Preview

The big guns are out this week for the second major of the season, the US Open at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Adam Scott have been drawn together for the opening two rounds and this group is certain to attract a huge following.

Scott has only played two tournaments since winning the Masters, finishing in the top twenty in both. He has set out to commit himself to a more controlled season focussed on the biggest events and he looks likely to be in contention again this week.

Sergio Garcia is likely to be in the spotlight in the wake of his unfortunate “fried chicken” comments and will play with former Open champions Padraig Harrington and Stewart Cink. Three stars of the European tour will play together with Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer hoping to add their name to the roll of honour.

2010 champion Graeme McDowell is another playing a limited schedule this year and he won the Heritage between missed cuts at the Masters and The Players Championships. He has been drawn alongside Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson. Reigning champion Webb Simpson plays with Open champion Ernie Els and 2012 US Amateur champion Steven Fox.

US Open 2013 Betting Tips

Scott Stallings (tipped here at 35-1) was trading at 4-11 in the closing stages of the St Jude Classic but ultimately had to settle for second place. With Ryan Palmer (28-1) finishing fourth, we still finished well in profit but it would have been nice to have back-to-back tour winners following Matt Kuchar (28-1) in The Memorial.

Predictably, Tiger Woods is the only golfer in single figures in the bookmakers betting lists. He is priced at 11-2 for a tournament he won in 2000, 2002 and 2008. Woods has won four of the eight events that he is entered this season so you can understand his position at the head of the market.

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell gave Northern Ireland successive victories in this event in 2010 and 2011. It is difficult to recommend McIlroy after his disappointing start to the season but McDowell will have made this tournament a priority and will be a popular choice at odds of 28-1 with Stan James. He finished second to Simpson last year and can improve on his already impressive record in this event.

I respect the chances of Adam Scott and he will relish the chance to play with Woods and McIlroy during the opening rounds. I am not quite sure that he is playing well enough to win back-to-back majors and will pass him over on this occasion.

One player who must surely go close to major success this season is England’s Justin Rose. He does not have a great record in this event but has had three top ten finishes this season and could feature. Lee Westwood continues to suffer frustration at the major tournaments and seems to be struggling since his late collapse at Wentworth recently.

Matt Kuchar did this column a favour when winning The Memorial recently and he is slowly making his presence felt in the majors. He has finished in the top ten in three of the last five majors and he could be worth a bet at 25-1 with Paddy Power.

South African Charl Schwartzel has not quite hit form this season but showed that a return to his best could be imminent when eighth at The Memorial. He is priced at 36-1 on Betdaq. Our final selection is Bubba Watson. He had two top ten finishes in his first four events this season but has lost his form recently. He was fifth in this event in 2007 but can be a bit erratic. At odds of nearly 90-1 he is worth a speculative investment.

Matt Kuchar 25-1 @ WilliamHill
Graeme McDowell 28-1 WilliamHill
Charl Schwartzel 36-1 WilliamHill
Bubba Watson 89-1 WilliamHill