It’s time for bettors to stop obsessing about Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in major championships. Even if both were playing in the US Open, which starts Thursday, neither would have been among the favorites and chasing after long shots usually doesn’t translate to winning slips.
Instead people would be better served focusing on the favorites or those closer to the top of the board. Dustin Johnson, who was the No. 1 pick before the start of the Masters before he had to pull out with an injury, is the top selection again for the second major of the year. He has gone from 11-2 to 13-2 to 7-1, but some offshore sites have him at 8-1.
The world’s No. 1 golfer is a shaky best bet. There are questions if he is fully healed from the back injury he received when he fell down some stairs prior to the Masters. He has said that he has fully recovered, but there is some cause for concern. His first event back, the Wells Fargo Championship, he finished tied for second, but his next two events he was T-12 and T-13. The biggest red flag was his missed cut at the Memorial two weeks ago, a tournament that has a lot of similarities to a US Open course set up.
Also where is his mindset with the recent birth of his second child? Can he put that distraction out of his mind and concentrate on arguably the toughest major championship of the four. Yes, he is the defending champion, but back-to-back success is difficult to achieve. Only Ben Hogan and Curtis Strange have done it since 1946.
Others to Consider
The safe play might be to pass on Johnson and consider some of the golfers right below him. The lines have moved favorably on the next three. Rory McIlroy started at 10-1 and is now 12-1. Jordan Spieth came out as 9-1, but has jumped to 11-1 and in some places 14-1. Jason Day began at 10-1 and now has odds as high as 14-1.
The key to picking a winner for the national championship is honing in on players that can manage a golf course. Forget a swashbuckler’s style, which is why Mickelson has never won and Lee Janzen and Andy North won twice.
Look at a guy like Justin Rose, who is listed at 25-1 or Henrik Stenson if you want a long shot. He is at 35-1.
Best Prop Bets
It might be more conservative to avoid handicapping a winner and go with one of the proposition wagers.
One that stands out is a player finishing in the top 5. There is real value in this category with guys like Masters Champ Sergio Garcia (plus-450) and Bubba Watson (plus-1000).
The most unusual wager is whether Mickelson makes it to Wisconsin from Southern California in time to make his 2:20 tee time. He is off the board as a pick to win, but he is part of a prop bet. He will be two time zones away watching his oldest daughter graduate high school that morning. He figures if there is a four-hour rain delay, he can make it to the first tee. Weather reports are calling for a 60 percent chance of morning thunderstorms. At 10-1 he makes it, it just might be worth putting some money down.