Weekly Preview: U.S. Open

Weekly Preview: U.S. Open

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

U.S. Open

Brookline GC
Brookline, MA

The PGA Tour heads to Massachusetts for the latest edition of the U.S. Open.

This is the season's third major and if it follows the lead from the first two, we might look back on 2022 as one heck of list of winners. Though the Masters was a dud, the winner, Scottie Scheffler is now ranked number one in the world, and he's bound to continue his fine play for years to come and Justin Thomas, the winner at the PGA Championship is already well established as one of the best golfers of his generation. If we add another elite player to the mix this week, the list of winners from this season's majors might go down as one of the best ever. Speaking of the first two majors, the Masters was wide-open in the week leading up because no one outside of Scheffler was playing all that well at the time and the opposite was true leading up to the PGA Championship, where so many were seemingly on top of their game, but what about this week? Oddly enough, it's right in the middle. We have a couple guys like JT and Rory McIlroy that are peaking, with a handful of others that are playing well, and then some that continue to struggle, like my PGA pick, Collin Morikawa. The thing about the U.S. Open is though, you can't count out someone just because they are struggling, this is a different beast

U.S. Open

Brookline GC
Brookline, MA

The PGA Tour heads to Massachusetts for the latest edition of the U.S. Open.

This is the season's third major and if it follows the lead from the first two, we might look back on 2022 as one heck of list of winners. Though the Masters was a dud, the winner, Scottie Scheffler is now ranked number one in the world, and he's bound to continue his fine play for years to come and Justin Thomas, the winner at the PGA Championship is already well established as one of the best golfers of his generation. If we add another elite player to the mix this week, the list of winners from this season's majors might go down as one of the best ever. Speaking of the first two majors, the Masters was wide-open in the week leading up because no one outside of Scheffler was playing all that well at the time and the opposite was true leading up to the PGA Championship, where so many were seemingly on top of their game, but what about this week? Oddly enough, it's right in the middle. We have a couple guys like JT and Rory McIlroy that are peaking, with a handful of others that are playing well, and then some that continue to struggle, like my PGA pick, Collin Morikawa. The thing about the U.S. Open is though, you can't count out someone just because they are struggling, this is a different beast this week and if any of these guys take to the course early on, that might be enough to get them out of their funk. Speaking of the course, Brookline has hosted a few U.S. Opens, but none since most of these guys were born, so it's basically a new venue.

All odds via golfodds.com as of 1:00 PM ET Wednesday.

LAST YEAR

Jon Rahm shot a final round 67 on his way to a one-stroke victory over Louis Oosthuizen.

FAVORITES

Rory McIlroy (11-1)

McIlroy's win at the Canadian Open this past week was very impressive. Not only did he get the best of a tough field, but he also fought off Justin Thomas down the stretch. That's no small feat for someone that's struggled to close in recent years. With that said, his struggles closing at the majors is still a real thing and although he's playing well right now, I don't think he should be favored, and he definitely should not be listed at this price.

Justin Thomas (12-1)

Thomas is rolling right now and for anyone that wanted to bet him to win this week, the results of this past week are exactly what you needed. It's not easy to win in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour, let alone when one of those weeks includes a major, so the fact that he came up short this past week is great news for anyone on JT this week. Thomas doesn't have a ton of value at this price, but he's so locked in right now, he's worth a look.

Jon Rahm (14-1)

The guy who is penciled-in as the favorite nearly every week finds himself as the third-favorite this week and that's thanks to the current form of the two guys in front of him. Rahm has played pretty well over the past month or so, but we haven't seen his best yet this season. He'll need that this week, and we just might get it as he's trending in the right direction and the pressure isn't as great this week with the spotlight elsewhere.

THE NEXT TIER

Sam Burns (25-1)

Burns is to the point now where he's a consideration at just about every tour stop on the PGA Tour but contending at majors is an entirely different level. With that said, I think Burns is up to being a guy who's also in the mix at the majors as well. If not for the play of Scheffler over the past few months, we'd all be talking about the rapid ascent of Burns over the past year. As it is, we all know he's talented, but now it's time to take it to the next level and win a major.

Will Zalatoris (25-1)

It's absolutely amazing that Zalatoris has yet to win on the PGA Tour. He might be the only guy that's ever been on a "best not to win a major" list before getting off the "best not to win on the PGA Tour" list. Whatever the reason Zalatoris has failed to win on the PGA Tour, it hasn't prevented him from becoming a staple at the majors. His inability to close on a weekly basis does not deter me at all from placing a win wager on him this week. He'll again be in the mix, but can he pull it off this time?

Viktor Hovland (30-1)

There are a lot of good option in this range, but I'm going with my gut here and predicting a big week out of Hovland. Part of the reason is that he was hammered for his lack of short game at the first two majors, yet he managed to make the cut and play well enough at the Masters to sneak into the top-25...without a short game! His accuracy off the tee this week will give him an edge on most of the field and if he can find his accuracy with the irons, it could be a special week. Basically, I'm betting on Hovland not needing his short game all that much this week.

LONG SHOTS

Davis Riley (80-1)

A decade ago, I would never have a bunch of guys on this list that have never won majors, but the PGA Tour is different now. These young players aren't afraid to punch above their weight and winning a major "before your time" is not really a thing anymore. Riley has played very well over the past couple months and while it's a stretch to think he can beat the best in the world at a major so early in his career, sometimes things like that happen. He's a long shot for a reason, but he does have a chance to win.

Abraham Ancer (100-1)

Ancer has been tough to peg this season as he's been all over the map, but of all the majors, this might be his best opportunity to thrive. Though bombers have had success in recent years at the U.S. Open, I'm not sure that will be the case this week as the not only are they dealing with tight fairways and long rough, but they also have small greens to work with, which means they'll be harder to hit out of the rough. Ancer should pick up some strokes on the field off the tee and if the rest of his game is in decent shape, he could pull off a miracle.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Justin Thomas - This is the time of year when there's no holding back. There's no more saving a player for later if he's a good play in the current week. JT is a great play this week, with the only downside being that a lot of OAD teams have probably saved him for this spot...at least the ones that didn't use him at the PGA Championship anyway.

Moderately-owned Pick: Xander Schauffele - I didn't have room for Schauffele above because he's not a favorite, and not quite in the middle-tier either. With that said, I had to find a place for him this week because his track record at the U.S. Open is very solid. Different courses of course, but some guys thrive on the USGA layouts and Schauffele seems to be one of them.

Lightly-owned Pick: Viktor Hovland - You want a Hovland at low ownership? This might be your best chance all season. As I mentioned earlier, Hovland comes in under the radar this week because a lot of people have written him off due to his trouble with the short game. If my hunch is correct though, his driver and irons...and putter could easily make up for that.

Buyer Beware: Cameron Smith - Smith has really upped his game this season. He won the PLAYERS earlier this season and he's seemingly been a factor at all the big events this year, but I'm worried about his accuracy off the tee this week. Smith is probably the most erratic in-round golfer on Tour, which is often okay as long as he gets hot within a round, but I have a been those rough patches, that will come, will be too much to overcome this week.

Last Week: Rory McIlroy - 1 - $1,566,000

Season Total: $9,701,441

This Week: Justin Thomas - With all the restrictions because of the players I've used already, this pick came down to JT or Hovland. While I like Hovland's prospects this week, JT is simply the safer pick. Safer pick with higher upside I should mentioned. Well, actually, they both have the same upside, but JT has shown the ability to win a major, so he has a leg up of course. The only thing working against this pick is that he'll be very popular.

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Justin Thomas ($11,900)
Middle Range: Davis Riley ($9,200)
Lower Range: Harris English ($8,500)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Last Week: Corey Conners - T6

Streak: 1

This Week: Justin Thomas - There's no reason to hold back here. Majors are tough when it comes to this format because the elite golfers are often all or nothing in that if they have it, they could win, but if they don't have it early, not many will grind it out all week. The good news on JT is that he's developed that tenacity and doesn't easily give up as he proved at the PGA Championship this past month.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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