The stage is set at Winged Foot Golf Club to produce one of the toughest recent U.S. Open tests. Whoever emerges victorious from the 144-man field will have earned the title with near-perfect golf for 72 holes while being challenged mentally.
Let's try to figure out who that player is going to be and make some money.
"You're probably better off with a 4-iron from the middle of the fairway than you are a 7-iron from the rough because you're not going to be able to advance that 7-iron to the green," Gary Woodland said.
"I'd still take hitting fairways over hitting it 350 in the rough here," added Rory McIlroy.
"I'm hitting it as far as I possibly can up there. Even if it's in the rough, I can still get it to the front edge or the middle of the greens with pitching wedges or 9-irons," said Bryson DeChambeau.
2019 - Gary Woodland (-13)
2018 - Brooks Koepka (+1)
2017 - Brooks Koepka (-16)
2016 - Dustin Johnson (-4)
2015 - Jordan Spieth (-5)
2014 - Martin Kaymer (-9)
2013 - Justin Rose (+1)
2012 - Webb Simpson (+1)
2011 - Rory McIlroy (-16)
2010 - Graeme McDowell (E)
Tiger Woods is valued at +4500, which is probably his highest price ever at a major championship. But he's still not a wise bet. Sorry, Tiger fans.
Woods' game isn't nearly sharp enough for him to play well at Winged Foot. He doesn't produce the length off the tee anymore to make up for his inaccuracy. Those accuracy woes also put him behind his peers who drive the same distance.
Putting issues have plagued Tiger all year, too. He's lost strokes putting in five straight events, forcing him to make a bunch of 10-footers to save par. It's going to be a rough - and short - week for the 15-time major champ.
Betting outlook: Red light. Save your money or look elsewhere on the betting board.
Dustin Johnson enters as the favorite to win the U.S. Open and his second major title. The reigning FedEx Cup champion and 2019-20 PGA Tour Player of the Year is playing exceptionally well, but banking on that form to continue at +800 is a risky approach. Yes, he can easily win, but Johnson could also step backward after seeing his bank account grow by $15 million.
Meanwhile, passing on Jon Rahm is a scary proposition. He's won the two most difficult events during the 2019-20 season, taking the Memorial and the BMW Championship. Rahm won those tournaments because he has no weaknesses, which is mandatory to tame Winged Foot. He would be the outright pick to win if odds weren't a factor, but +900 is too short to back.
Of the remaining favorites, Xander Schauffele is the most enticing option at +1400. His U.S. Open track record is remarkable, with no finish worse than a tie for sixth in three career starts. He's also playing great after posting the lowest 72-hole total at the Tour Championship despite not winning.
There's value in this range, starting with Hideki Matsuyama at +3000. He possesses one of the best short games in the field, which will come in handy around Winged Foot's tricky greens. Matsuyama has also improved his putting, which was the 28-year-old's biggest weakness. He's gained strokes on the greens in three of his past four events, and he'll be a threat if that continues.
Patrick Reed (+3500) is another short-game specialist, and there's a major-championship title on his resume. He'll need to depend on his wedge play and putting to contend. Luckily, that's what has made him a frequent PGA Tour winner.
There are a few others in this range worth considering. Tony Finau (+3000) seems to always show up at majors, but his propensity to miss short putts is a little worrisome. If Adam Scott can keep the ball in the fairway - which he struggled with at the BMW Championship - he'll be contending late on Sunday. And finally, Matthew Fitzpatrick (+4500) plays tough courses extremely well, and he fits the profile of a player who can win at Winged Foot.
Players to avoid in this range: DeChambeau, Justin Rose, and Rickie Fowler.
A long shot would need to play nearly flawless for 72 holes. However, there are a few players to target who might be a safer top-10 or top-20 bet because they check a lot of boxes.
Xander Schauffele (+1400)
It's Schauffele's time. All signs point toward the 26-year-old claiming his first major championship, and he's up for the challenge.
"... My style of golf is as hard as possible," he said at the PGA Championship. "I think I might have a good chance at even-par winning a major. I'm definitely a grinder type. I don't mind trying to (make) good bogeys and stuff like that. The harder it is, the better it is for me."
Schauffele's history at U.S. Opens also can't be ignored. He's finished tied for fifth, sixth, and third in his only three appearances. His mindset, his skill set, and his current form are the perfect combination to win this week.
Patrick Reed (+3500)
Reed's ability to save par from nearly everywhere makes him a strong contender. He hit a ton of fairways during his last start at the Tour Championship, which is encouraging. If he continues to keep the ball in the short grass and bail himself out with his short game when he doesn't, Reed will have a good shot at major title No. 2.
Matthew Fitzpatrick (+4500)
Fitzpatrick possesses a lot of the same traits as the aforementioned players, but he doesn't hit balls quite as far as the other two.
However, his accuracy off the tee will provide him with plenty of opportunities to hit greens in regulation and sink rare birdie putts at Winged Foot. The Englishman is one of the best putters in the field, and if he stays consistent with his flatstick for the whole tournament, Fitzpatrick's lack of driving distance won't matter.