us open pick prediction
Jun 14, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; Xander Schauffele plays his shot from the fifth tee during a practice round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

How hard is it to win the United States Open Championship? Two numbers tell the story. The 2021 U.S. Open, as usual, has 156 professional golfers competing for the trophy. How many of the 156 teeing it up this week have ever won the tournament before?

Let’s see where the value lies as we dive headfirst into our picks and predictions for the United States Open Championship at the South Course at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, CA.

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U.S. Open Betting Pick

The answer to the above question is nine. It is notable that those nine players, collectively, have won every U.S. Open since 2011 when Rory McIlroy this championship. At the time, it looked like McIlroy would win a few of these. A decade later, he’s among the second-tier favorites (he’s +2100). 

So it’s strange to look at the top of the tout board and seen Jon Rahm at +1050. Rahm not only hasn’t won a U.S. Open – he has never won a major championship. His tie for third in 2019, when Gary Woodland won, is his career best finish in a major. Apparently, the bookmakers haven’t forgotten that Rahm was decimating the field at the Memorial two weeks ago before a positive COVID-19 test compelled his withdrawal. 

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It probably isn’t worthwhile to assume that one of the nine past champions in the field this week has any edge. Except for Brooks Koepka (who repeated in 2018), each of the nine players who have won this event before was a first-time winner who has not won the U.S. Open a second time. And because the last player to win the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines is still recovering from his February car wreck, we can’t turn to Tiger Woods, either.

VALUE PICK: PATRICK REED TOP 20 (+100)

If you’re looking for sleeper picks, this week’s version of this column isn’t for you. The U.S. Open is an unforgiving competition that annually weeds out pretenders and wannabes. Reed won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January. He finished 10th at the 2020 Masters in November and 13th at the 2020 U.S. Open in September.

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He likes this golf course and he loves major championships. Doubling your money isn’t thrilling, but it beats the daylights out of losing. Reed should be able to scratch it around to a top-20 without having to exceed his usual level of play.

LONG SHOT PICK: MAX HOMA TOP 10 (+700)

Max Homa is an easy guy to root for. His renowned Twitter presence is endearing; one follower even managed to talk Homa into teeing it up with him somewhere down the line. Presumably, that’s a one-off. Personally, while on one level it would be a thrill to play with an elite touring professional, at another level it would probably be some combination of intimidating and embarrassing.

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The longest hitters you personally know are considerably shorter and wilder than any golfer in the top 50 in the world. After the third or fourth time you’re looking for your ball 90 yards behind the pro’s, reality sets in.

Homa is a California native who won the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in February. He finished sixth two weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament and had another sixth-place finish at the Valspar Championship in May. These odds are fueled by the boom/bust results Homa has had; Homa has missed four of his last six cuts. Still, +700 is too good to pass up.

PICK TO WIN THE 2021 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP: XANDER SCHAUFFELE (+1500)

Xander Schauffele was born in 1993 in – wait for it – La Jolla, California. This championship is being played mere miles from where he was born. He played high school golf at Torrey Pines. He was in the gallery in 2008 when Tiger Woods won the last U.S. Open contested on this golf course. On the surface, it all looks pretty easy.

It’s never easy, though. Before 2021, Schauffele had played the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines five times and never finished better than a tie for 25th. Something clicked in January, though, as Schauffele finished tied for second at the Farmers, five shots behind Patrick Reed. 

Schauffele has never won a major championship, but his recent record in the majors is remarkable. He tied for third at the 2021 Masters. He finished fifth alone at the 2020 U.S. Open. He tied for tenth at the 2020 PGA Championship. He finished tied for second at the 2019 Masters and tied for third at the 2019 U.S. Open. We don’t believe in players being “due,” but we do believe that players learn to win major championships by continuing to knock on that door until the door falls in.

BET TYPEPICK
VALUEPATRICK REED TOP 20 (+100 ODDS)
LONG SHOTMAX HOME TOP 10 (+700)
TOURNAMENT WINNERXANDER SCHAUFFELE (+1500)

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