The US Open returns to the American home of golf. Oakmont Country Club, just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is considered to be one of the toughest challenges for any golfer. It's the course that has hosted the US Open the most - 2016 will be the ninth occasion.
The last Oakmont hosting - in 2007- Angel Cabrera claimed his first major with a score of +5; and the 2016 is going to be even harder. The rough is extremely high and thick - so the winner will need to have a high driving accuracy.
You can hit 72 greens in the Open at Oakmont and not come close to winning. - Arnold Palmer
The greens are as quick as these players will ever see - so the champion will need to putt extremely well. The scoring is going to be bad, that hints that maverick players who go gung-ho will be at a disadvantage.
The first tip of the tournament is that a winning score of +4 or more is 13/8 in some places. I would take some of that action.
The 2016 US Open winner is going to have immense patience, experience, and quality. For betting purposes, that excludes a lot of potential candidates. It excludes Rory McIlroy - who while he birdies more holes than anyone else, also makes a huge amount of bogeys. It excludes Jason Day - not for those reasons, but because the weather in Pittsburgh is meant to be hot and humid next week, and Day is experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Jason Day had flu-like symptoms before the Masters. He told @ToddLewisGC he’s been battling a cold as he prepares for the Open.
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) June 13, 2016
Actually it reduces the field to these three recommendations. Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, and Rickie Fowler.
On a tricky course where the key is to make par and avoid bogeys? Spieth is your man. 10/1 as the third favourite is great value - especially when Day and McIlroy are the two considered more likely.
When you want someone in form, who is determined to redeem himself after the Masters, and has the patience to win - Spieth should be the clear favourite.
I've been avoiding Mickelson in the last few majors. He's old, out of form, and is generally priced really badly.
But Mickelson is in much better form these days. This is a course that should suit him, he's got the experience to cut through Oakmont, and be patient when he needs to be. He's chasing the career grand slam by capturing his first US Open.
He also scores well on two key stats for this week. Mickelson is in the top 30 in three-putt avoidance, and 11th in bogey avoidance.
He's also 32/1 in some places. That's worth an each-way bet.
I wouldn't have thought Fowler was a contender on Oakmont usually, but the stats show up in his favour. T32 in three-putt avoidance, and first in bogey avoidance are two key indicators, and his driving accuracy is better than most of the contenders.
Fowler is in decent form, and the 33/1 price is attractive. Like Mickelson, there are too many indicators to completely ignore Fowler, so an each-way bet will do nicely.
I'm picking Reed as my final selection because he's too big a price for what he should be. Reed is an excellent putter, a brilliant scrambler, ranked 11th in the world. He doesn't make too many birdies, but he avoids bogeys.
Yet, he's 60/1 to win.
His major record is improving, and he could feature on Sunday.
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