Odds On US Open

By Chris DatresJune 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. Open
OK, class, lets review our previous chapter and pat ourselves on the back a little bit. I had Sergio Garcia as one of the favorites at THE PLAYERS and he kept that putter in check to take home the big prize. Now if only I had used my hunch and taken him in my golf pool. I wont be making the same mistake this week. The USGAs annual examination will test the 156 players on a track that most of them know ' Torrey Pines. The difference will be that the rough is a lot higher, the greens are a lot faster, and the grounds will be a lot firmer than they are during the moist conditions in January at the Buick Invitational. So without further ado, heres the rundown of who you need to put in your five this week.
Phil Mickelson (3-2): When you think of Phil at the US Open, you think of a lot of heartbreak ' Paynes putt in 99, the 3-jack from short range on the 71st hole in 04, the pitiful driver on the 72nd hole in 06. Phils tired of wearing the bridesmaid dresses, and frankly, he wouldnt look all that good in a periwinkle tea-length gown anyway. To make matters more interesting, the USGA put him in a group with Tiger Woods for the first two rounds. Since 2002, Phil is 4-4-2 against Tiger in rounds when they play together but two of those wins came at last years Deutsche Bank Championship when Phil outlasted Tiger to win the tournament. Its time, Phil. Youve caught enough bouquets. Its your turn to actually throw one.
Jim Furyk (3-1): Furyk has donned the green chiffon bridesmaid gown each of the last two years but hes at least reached the altar, having won at Olympia Fields in 2003. Torrey Pines has been set up in a way that doesnt cater to the medium-length hitters but as weve learned from Furyks performances, he keeps it in the fairway and he stays in contention. And really, thats all you need to do to win this tournament.
I promise no more wedding dress jokes. You can find Marty Hackels advice elsewhere on this website, Im sure.
Tiger Woods (4-1): This could be the most controversial ranking since the undefeated Auburn Tigers got left out of the BCS a couple years back. But I have serious questions about his comeback. I know he came back from his previous surgery to win at Torrey Pines but thats a different setup. I dont think the US Open is a good setup to be making your first start in 8 weeks, I dont care who you are. Granted it was under much different circumstances but we saw what Winged Foot did to Tiger when he came back from his fathers death in 2006. This start wont have the same result as that one; hell certainly make the cut here. If Tiger does win, forget that you ever read thisor send me hate mail, your choice.
Sergio Garcia (6-1): If ever there was a major for Sergio to win, it would be this one, but only if he can channel the same game he had at Carnoustie last year and Sawgrass this year. But inevitably, hell hit a flagstick or get a bad bounce off a tree or a spectator will accidentally hit his ball into deeper rough and hell complain once again. Nows the time for Sergio to step up. But if he doesnt, itll give me more of a reason to take him at Birkdale next month.
Yes, I think there are only four real favorites. The US Open is a far different animal than any of the other majors. But there are a whole host of double-digit odds guys that could take this title this year.
Bubba Watson (15-1): As I stated earlier, Torrey Pines has been set up with the bomber in mind. Theres no bigger bomber on the PGA Tour this year than Bubba. He got himself a top-5 last year at Oakmont and Ive got to think that all of these practice rounds that he plays with Tiger will come in handy and equal a couple of wins. Why not start with a big fish?
Geoff Ogilvy (15-1): Speaking of bombers, heres another one whos had success at the US Open; he is the 2006 champion after all. And remember that when he won at Winged Foot, it was after having won the WGC-Accenture Match Play. Ogilvy captured the WGC-CA Championship back in March so that could be a harbinger of a repeat performance.
Vijay Singh (15-1): The BIG FIJIAN (tired of those commercials yet?) says that hes fully healed from the oblique muscle injury that hes fought since THE PLAYERS. And hes back to using the long putter again. So maybe thats the real reason why they call him the Big Fijian. Well, he can also hit it like a mile, too.
Angel Cabrera (20-1): The Duck hasnt quacked too loudly this year. Hes 37th on the European Tour Order of Merit with his only top-5 coming in a quarterfinal loss at the Match Play in February. Hes also fighting history at this event as no one has repeated since Curtis Strange did it 19 years ago. But one difference you will notice this year is that Cabrera will be chomping a lot of gum. Hes given up cigarettes which is a good thing since San Diego municipal laws dont allow smoking in their public parks. It could be a big jump for Nicorette.
Anthony Kim (25-1): We havent heard much from Kim since he smacked the field around at Wachovia. Kims also a Southern California guy who has the mindset that can be a benefit and a curse at a US Open venue. A benefit because if those long drives continue to catch fairways, he has the iron play to really contend. But its a curse if those hammered drives end up in the ankle-high rough.
Retief Goosen (25-1): Its been easy to forget about Retief lately but this guy hasnt won 2 US Opens because hes some hack at the local driving range. If he can get his putter back to where he had it when he won at Shinnecock in 2004, I think he could be a real wildcard on the Torrey layout.
Trevor Immelman (30-1): Trevor said in his press conference on Tuesday that he would retire if he won the Grand Slam this year. I think its pretty safe to say that his quest will come to an end this week. But he did get his game back last week at Memphis and if he can keep that same thing going this week, hell be halfway home to collecting his 401k.
Justin Leonard (40-1): In keeping with the tradition of including the previous weeks champion, Leonard has one tool in his bag that can be very lethal at these US Opens ' his putter. However, hes missed 3 of his last 4 cuts and has never had a top 10 in an Open. So tread lightly.
Colin Montgomerie (75-1): Montys back to knock himself over the head again. He likely wont even make the cut given that his play lately has left a lot to be desired. But wouldnt it be fun if he was in contention again and he could avenge that poor 2nd shot on the 72nd hole two years ago? And remember, the last time there was a major played in Southern California, Monty got edged out in a playoff at Riviera by Steve Elkington in 1995.
Ernie Els (80-1): Its amazing how far the Big Easy has fallen since he won the Honda back in March. We thought then that he was back and 2008 could be a real big year for him. Since then, he has changed swing coaches, employed another mental guy, and skipped a couple of tournaments. My suggestion to Ernie is take a little trip down south to Tijuana this week, throw down a couple of tequila shots, maybe even eat the worm too and then come back rarin to go. Hes a lot better than what hes put out the last 2 months and it would be nice to see the old Easy again.
Any OTHER European (100-1): Sergio would be a tough pick simply because no European has won the Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970. But if you look at the rest of the eligible roster ' Rose, Donald, Casey, Dougherty, Westwood, Harrington, and Poulter ' its hard to believe one of these guys wont crack an egg at some point. Donald has played the best of the group at Torrey Pines, having finished second here in 2005.
Kenny Perry: The Memorial champion decided to bypass sectional qualifying for his national championship in order to concentrate on making his nations Ryder Cup team. Its especially on his mind because it will be played in his home state of Kentucky. Perry has stated that hes never played well at Torrey Pines and didnt want to go through 36 holes the day after winning the Memorial to do it. The Ryder Cup is just an exhibition, really. The US Open is a major championship. If hed rather work his schedule toward the Ryder Cup instead of a major, can fans be confident when hes on the Cup team and hes got to earn a crucial point at Valhalla?
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was one of three celebrities to tee it up last Friday to try to break 100 at Torrey Pines. He shot 84. In honor of that
Over/Under number of US Open competitors that shoot higher than 84 ' 8
The US Open hasnt finished with an under-par score since Retief Goosen won at Shinnecock in 2004. Also note that Tiger Woods has finished under-par at an Open just two times ' his two wins in 2000 and 2002.
Over/Under final score ' 287 (+3 )
Last year, Oakmont yielded just 8 rounds under par for the entire tournament. Angel Cabrera shot two of those eight en route to his title. Because of the familiarity that a lot of these players have with this course, I think that number will be a bit higher this year.
Over/Under number of under-par rounds ' 15
Last year, all 12 amateurs met an untimely fate at the hands of the Oakmont setup and didnt make the cut. This year, 10 amateurs will tee it up and one player who is getting a great tutorial about Torrey is Stanford sophomore Jordan Cox who has played the last two days with Tiger.
Over/Under number of amateurs to make the cut ' 1
Over/Under on number of players who will choke this week ' 2
Over/Under best round of the tournament ' 66
Over/Under worst round of the tournament ' 87
This prop is only in play if Phil gets to the 72nd hole in the lead. Hes had a very bad tendency to spray it left off the tee when leading lately. Some of the tourneys that come to mind include his loss at Winged Foot, his drive at 18 at the 2007 Northern Trust that he lost to Charles Howell III, and of course, his push into the trees at Colonial a couple weeks back. So Phil, if youre leading, hit a 3-wood, even though its a par 5. And please dont dunk it in the water on your approach.
What will Phil make on the last hole of tournament?
EAGLE +750
BOGEY +125
PAR -150
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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”