The 115th US Open starts on Thursday and it is fair to say that players’ opinion has been divided.
It might be best summed up by former Masters’ winner Charl Schwartzel who suggested: “I think it’s a course that involves a hell of a lot of luck.”
There is a traditional links feel to the course no water and only one tree on the course but there are huge undulating greens and it is likely that the best putter will win the event.
Rory McIlroy is the 15/2 joint favourite at BetVictor with Masters Champion Jordan Speith and the latter is, arguably, the best putter in the world at present.
Rickie Fowler (22/1 BetVictor) gets the vote; since the 2014 Masters he has finished in the top 15 in all five Majors and all four WGC events.
BetVictor are paying ¼ odds six places and, granted the luck that Schwartzel suggests the winner will need, the recent Players’ Champion must go close.
Americans have won just three of the last eleven renewals however and at this Links-esque course it could easily be 3 from 12 by Sunday evening.
Of the home contingent, Justin Rose warmed-up with an unfortunate play-off defeat last week in the Memorial and tees off alongside two of golf’s finest; Masters Champion Jordan Spieth and big-hitting Aussie Jason Day.
Rose is 16/1 with BetVictor to win a 2nd US Open Title however appeals at both 11/2 (EW ¼ 1-2-3-4) to be the tournament’s top European golfer and likewise 15/8 to be the top Englishman of the field and the latter appealing of the three.
Hideki Matsuyama is similarly attractive at 4/5 with BetVictor to be the Top Asian in the field, bidding to build on his excellent T5 at The Masters in April.
The 23-year-old is on a par with Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy in his native Japan and looks over-priced at 33/1 to build on his excellent record in majors, and likely to be sitting at golf’s top table sooner rather than later.
The Gold Cup is today’s feature event at Royal Ascot and Mizzou (9/2 at BetVictor) has long been my recommendation for the race on good or faster ground.
Four-year-olds have won the race for the last three years and the selection ran out a ready winner of the Sagaro Stakes on his reappearance on similar ground over two miles here back in April.
That form has been franked by the subsequent win of runner up Vent De Force, re-opposes this afternoon, in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown and this race has been his target all winter.
The unbeaten Forgotten Rules (5/2) and the Gallic raider Bathyrhon (10/1) can follow the selection home in a fascinating renewal of this most valuable and prestigious contest.
In the Britannia I thought most things went against Mutarakez (5.00) at Haydock yet his class saw him through and a 6lb rise might not stop him landing the hat-trick. At 7/1 (each way 5 places this afternoon with BetVictor) I would be very disappointed if he wasn’t in the frame although there are any number of potential improvers including Stoute’s Capel Path.
I nominated the King George V Stakes for Dissolution (5.35) as soon as the colt finished runner-up to Time Test (runs 3.05) at Newbury on his reappearance and whilst a 6lb rise for that effort looks punitive he looks sure to appreciate the step up in trip to 12 furlongs and Ryan Moore takes the ride for Sir Michael Stoute.
The pair teamed up with 11/2 favourite Colony in this corresponding race in 2008 and he is 6/1 at BetVictor; the only negative is he can be slowly away and in a 21-runner handicap he can’t expect to come from last to first in the short Ascot straight.