US Open: Expect the unexpected
Cape Town - Now that the public are starting to believe South Africa’s
Major drought will continue, is there an upset in the offing?
READ: The 6 South Africans in the field at the 118th US Open
The one thing about Major golf is that - here comes the
cliché - anyone can win it if you are in decent position on the weekend.
Shinnecock Hills is being spoken about by the players like Augusta is your
local mashie, Phil, Tiger, Rory - they’ve all confessed to loving it. But it’ll
be a test, the greens will be ramped up to scary speeds and the rough is ready
to gobble up any wayward shot.
There is some positive mojo to be tapped into after Retief
Goosen won here in 2004. Good, positive mojo if you ignore that his playing
partner in the final round was Ernie Els, who slumped to a final round 80.
That’s the test and prospect facing the world’s best this week.
Branden Grace is SA’s best bet for a first Major win since
But he’s only 14th favourite and comes with big odds at 40/1. Before you get to his name,
you have the likes of last week’s winner and world No 1 Dustin Johnson,
the man he replaced Justin Thomas, red-hot Justin Rose (can we claim him as a
SA winner because he was born in Johannesburg?) and then the usual suspects
like Rory, Rickie and Jordan.
You can see the predicament and the size of the task facing
Grace as the leading Saffa. Louis Oosthuizen is next best and he’s tipped in at
60/1. Odds long enough to get you interested but then again, there’s a reason
for such a juicy offer.
So who will follow in Brooks Koepka’s footsteps this
Let’s rule the bulky American out
first because no player has defended the title in the last decade. The trends
also point to a player under the age of 32 - that rules out Louis. Only two of
the last 10 were in the top 30 in the world when they won - that makes it
really tough for 34th-ranked Grace to buck the trend. The last sign
to be looked at is the current trend of first time winners - nine in the last
10 Majors were first-timers.
That brings three high-ranked players into the equation -
Rickie Fowler (20/1) who was a contender at the Masters, Jon Rahm (23/1) who
has won plenty and ready to tick Major winner off his list and Hideki Matsuyama
(34/1), quietly under the radar, but was T2 in last year’s event. Outside of
this trio? Well, anyone around the top 25 heading into the weekend have a great
BET.co.za has boosted the price on Branden Grace, Hideki
Matsuyama or Justin Thomas to win to 9/1.
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