While the RBC Canadian Open is happening now north of the border, I’m looking ahead to the PGA’s next major, the U.S. Open next week. The field will take to The Country Club in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, home of the 1913 U.S. Open, where Francis Ouimet came out the victor. He was the first amateur to win the U.S. Open title, defeating the top players of the game in his first championship appearance. Fire up the reel, there’s no better time to watch or rewatch the 2005 film, "The Greatest Game Ever Played," telling the story of Ouimet played by Shia LaBeouf.
Looking ahead to some betting options, there are two players that I insta-clicked. These early buys are with no research, no look at the course, but instead, players that caught my attention and had odds worth buying.
How many times are we going to keep saying that Schauffele is due? Sure, he won in 2022 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans but that was a team event and it’s probably fair to say that his partner Patrick Cantlay carried him through. Schauffele has five wins on tour but his last solo win was in 2019 in the Sentry Tournament of Champions. This year, he’s top 10 in strokes gained total behind players like Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. That’s a solid list of players to be near the top of the list with.
Looking at his U.S. Open history , Schauffele is second on tour in strokes gained total, finishing T7 or better since 2017 with his best being a T3 in 2019 at Pebble Beach. Overall, he also has a good history in majors. Schauffele is seventh in strokes gained total in all four majors. One of the players ahead of him is Dustin Johnson, and it's unclear at this point whether or not we will see him in the U.S. Open since he is now playing on the LIV Tour. Since 2017, Schauffele has played in 20 major events, has only three missed cuts and has 13 top-20 finishes, nine of which are in the top 10. He hasn't won a major and has some of the shortest odds on the board, which is not enticing, but he’s certainly a player I’ll be looking to back for a top-10 run.
I believe in magic. We’re seeing it with Rafael Nadal winning ATP’s first two majors of the year as a 36-year-old after winning his first at 19. Here at this course, an amateur won the title, beating two of golf’s most decorated players. Now, let’s see what Willy Z can do. He has a much smaller sample size compared to Schauffele but since making his way from the Korn Ferry Tour and finishing with a T6 in the 2020 U.S. Open, Zalatoris leads the tour in strokes gained total in majors. Since 2020, he has played in six major events (seven if you count the 2021 Open he withdrew from) and has missed just one cut (though it was last year’s U.S. Open), finishing T8 or better in five, including runner-up in the 2021 Masters and this year’s PGA Championship. I’ve been saying since 2020 that I will back Willy Z until he wins and I’m holding my word.
Both players are just early clicks, which means straight outright plays. Come next week, I’ll be doing a deeper dive into other players and betting options.