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Tiger? Here Are 10 Bettor Bets

By Matt Youmans  (VSiN senior editor ) 

A reminder that time flies is not needed, but this is one. Ten years have passed since Tiger Woods last won a major. It's easy to picture a long putt dropping and the fist-pumping celebration.

Since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines north of San Diego, Woods has been through an assortment of adventures, including runs with porn stars and an Olympic ski racing star. Tiger has not made a serious run for his 15th major win in quite a while. Will that change this week at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Long Island?

Few serious bettors are banking on Woods to win on the links-style course in Southampton. His 20-1 odds are no bargain considering his recent putting problems and difficulties finding the fairway with a driver. But Tiger's iron play is sharp enough to again make him a U.S. Open threat, and he will be a popular bet.

In honor of Tiger's 10-year anniversary, here are 10 players who rank as better investments:

DUSTIN JOHNSON (9-1)

The Westgate sports book in Las Vegas lowered DJ from 12-1 to single-digit odds after his impressive win at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis last weekend. Sharp bettors would typically try to beat the favorite and search for a better payout in a 156-player field. Johnson's game plays well on U.S. Open courses, as he won this major in 2016 and finished second in 2015. He's hot at the right time.

RICKIE FOWLER (14-1)

After proposing to his girlfriend on a beach last week — she said yes, of course — will Fowler be distracted or more focused to resume the pursuit of his first major win? That's a question for Dr. Phil. Fowler's second place at the Masters in April was his latest close call and his eighth top-5 major finish. He's an extremely talented player who often gets derailed by one bad hole or one poor round. His putting has been inconsistent lately, but it would be no surprise if Fowler lands on the leaderboard on Sunday.

JUSTIN ROSE (14-1)

There have been no thorns in Rose's game lately. He hits it long and straight and is playing as well as anyone in the world, winning the Fort Worth Invitational in May and tying for sixth at the Memorial. Rose ranks second behind Johnson in PGA Tour scoring average this season. He has eight top-5 finishes in majors and won the U.S. Open five years ago. He can handle tough courses with his precision iron play. If the putts are dropping, Rose can win his second major.

JUSTIN THOMAS (14-1)

The best players usually survive the toughest courses, and Thomas ranks No. 3 in PGA Tour scoring average (69.4) and No. 2 behind Johnson in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. Thomas won last year's PGA Championship after tying for ninth at the U.S. Open. JT will play with DJ and Tiger in the first and second rounds.

JASON DAY (16-1)

A bomber off the tee and a surgeon on the greens, Day has what it takes to conquer Shinnecock. He owns five career top-10 U.S. Open finishes. He leads the Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting this season. Day has been dogged by health issues the past few years, but that's not a concern now.

PHIL MICKELSON (25-1)

This is the only major win Mickelson is missing and, while it seems a fairytale storyline, he's got a legit shot this week mainly because of course form and current form. Mickelson, who ranks second to Day in Strokes Gained: Putting, must be feeling good after firing a final-round 65 in Memphis. Lefty has six runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open, including in 2004 at Shinnecock. Phil is in a positive place mentally, raving about this course layout, so he appears up to the challenge.

HENRIK STENSON (30-1)

Driving accuracy will be imperative at Shinnecock, and Stenson leads the Tour in driving accuracy. Almost all of his analytics point to a strong showing this week. The 2016 British Open winner obviously knows how to navigate a links-style layout. A year ago, Brooks Koepka won the U.S. Open at this same price.

ADAM SCOTT (60-1)

The Aussie's motivation left a lot to be desired the past two years, and it has been easy to avoid him at long odds. But it appears he's back, fighting to make this field via qualifying, and his arrow is pointed up with a quiet resurgence so far in 2018. Here's another reason Scott made this 10-player cut — he shot a back-tee course-record 63 at Shinnecock five years ago.

XANDER SCHAUFFELE (80-1)

A long driver who loves par-5s, Schauffele started hot and tied for fifth in last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. The 24-year-old might lack the all- around game to win this week, but he's capable, and these long odds are the X-factor. Some sharp golf handicappers are jumping on his bandwagon.

MATTHEW FITZPATRICK (150-1)

The young English star's talent is no secret on the European Tour, and he should feel at home on the Shinnecock links in cool weather, especially if it's windy. He won the 2013 U.S. Amateur in Massachusetts. The price is right for a roll of the dice.

Five more players to watch: Tommy Fleetwood (30-1), Louis Oosthuizen (50-1), Tony Finau (60-1), Emiliano Grillo (100-1), Brian Harman (125-1).

 

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