The 123rd United States Open Championship heads to the west coast of America. The Los Angeles Country Club (LACC) has never hosted a major, in fact its last significant event was in the 1940s. We are all set for a Hollywood storyline with the shock news of Saudi investment into the PGA Tour. Sophie Walker delves into the betting markets to give her best plays of the week.
Major Talk: US Open 2023 betting preview podcast
There will be distraction once again for Rory McIlroy, who was vehemently opposed to LIV Golf, after the news of the shock merger with the PGA Tour just last week. However, the believers in LIV could be energised and walk into the week as winners. Keep an eye out for Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Brooks Koepka starting fast.
The US Open Field US Open 2023: The Course
156 players head to the third major of the year, California dreamin’ of a victory. 102 were exempt, with the remaining 54 qualifying by a unique regional qualifying system at 13 venues with over 10,000 golfers participating. LIV player Sergio García chose to compete in the 36-hole regional competition in order to avoid missing his second major in 24 years, having previously sat out of the PGA Championship. Unfortunately, he will not play alongside Tiger Woods, who has withdrawn due to injury.
US Open 2023: The Course
The North course at the LACC measures at 7,200 yards, and unusually for a par 70, it features five par 3s and three par 5s, one more of each than is typical for a U.S. Open. As mentioned previously, the club hasn’t hosted a major, but redesign plans in 2006 were put in place to do so. Architect Gil Hanse suggests the key to playing well is strategy from the tee. A dry barranca spreads through the course, requiring players to hit diagonally across it on certain holes. There are also numerous elevation changes on the property.
US Open 2023: Best Course Fit
The huge Field size can be cut down relatively easily. No amateur has won the US Open since 1933, the oldest winner was Hale Irwin at the age of 45, and the last 11 winners have all been ranked inside the top 30 in the world. 2022 champion Matt Fitzpatrick, a past winner of the US Amateur, has emphasized the importance of having a good record on USGA course setups. This sways me towards American players, as seven out of the last 11 winners of the US Open have been American.
I’m favouring players who do well on the west coast.
I’m giving the edge to players who excel on the west coast, after failing to capitalise on Brooks Koepka [12.610] +1161 winning three majors within the state of New York. I won’t make the same mistake twice. The five-time major champion isn’t on my list as he doesn’t like playing on the west side of the country.
US Open 2023: The Favourite
Scottie Scheffler [8.780] +787 is the best player tee to green this season without question. Surely at some point the putter has to slow down - the Texan finished inside the top 10 of both of this year’s majors without holing a putt. Scheffler has had eight top 10s in his 13 major appearances, missing out by two shots in last month’s US PGA Championship. The world number one is once again the favourite this week, and did I mention he is a US Junior champion? This further supports my hypothesis for USGA course profile fits.
US Open 2023: The Contenders
He had five top 10s in a row to start his US Open career, but this run was halted with a 14th place finish in Brooklyn last year. The San Diego native is “Mr Consistent”, leading the consecutive cuts made stat (25). Schauffele [23.030] +2203 is also sixth in approach, and 11th in SG putting for the season. With the third best stroke average on tour with 69.47, his odds are surely worth some value.
The Californian [18.990] +1799 first qualified for the US Open at 19 years old, and is known for his strategic play and patience. At age 31, Cantlay has finished inside the top 15 in all of his last four majors. He has a scoring average of 69.5, and sits second in average birdies per round at 4.6. The birdie fest has him at the top of the PGA Tour par 5 chart – remember, there are five of these at LACC. The UCLA alumni hasn’t won a major before, but don’t let this put you off, as five out of the last seven winners of the US Open had never won a major before either.
Five of the last seven US Open champs were first time winners.
Viktor won the 2018 US Amateur Championship in California. He has had an unbelievable 12 months, finishing top 10 in his last three majors, as well as winning the Memorial Tournament earlier this month. The Norwegian is now fifth in the world ranking, and is the best player on the tour at playing shots from the rough, a feature that is always prominent at US Open venues. His short game is also much improved, which will free up his superb long game. Following his Memorial Tournament win, the 25-year-old said: “On the harder golf courses, you can hit good shots and you're just going to miss some greens.” At [16.800] +1580 he is very much one to consider in LA this week.
US Open 2023: The Outsider
Justin Rose [41.820] +4082 captured the US Open at Merion in 2013, and the Englishman is on a comeback in 2023 thanks to a win at Pebble Beach in February. Rose finds himself inside the top 30 in the world thanks to his stellar approach to shots and world-class short game. With a Ryder Cup spot on his mind, the 42-year-old already has one top 10 in a major this year, and has value in his odds for the LACC.
Good luck to you all, and let’s hope that the surprising news of the merger does not take away from a wonderful week of golf. Feel informed and ready to make your US Open 2023 picks? Check out Pinnacle’s unrivalled odds and US Open markets here.