2021 U.S. Open odds, preview, and course notes
Less than a month since Phil Mickelson defied Father Time and won the 2021 PGA Championship, the 51-year-old from San Diego will tee off at the U.S. Open — the one major he has yet to win.
Mickelson was a surprise sensation at last month’s major, held at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, but at +4500 odds, he’s once again an unassuming pick in a loaded 156-player field.
U.S. Open 2021
Sun, June 20 2021, 1:30 PM
While Mickelson may not be the best bet at historic Torrey Pines, he does possess a few advantages at this course.
For one, he grew up practicing on Poa annua, a unique grass type known for its unpredictable and bumpy surface. Mickelson can also bomb it off the tee, which will come in handy on Torrey Pines' 7,765-yard layout.
Typically a par 72, Torrey Pines' South Course will be played as a par 71 for the 2021 U.S. Open, with the par 5 sixth hole modified to a par 4 around 515 yards in length.
Torrey Pines course notes and relevant statistics
The West Coast course is an annual stop on the PGA Tour for the Farmers Insurance Open, though at that event players complete one round of golf on the North Course, which will not be utilized this week.
The South Course is one of the most difficult courses on tour and produces one of the lowest birdie or better percentages each season.
The last time the U.S. Open visited Torrey Pines' South Course in 2008, eventual winner Tiger Woods and runner-up Rocco Mediate were the only players who finished the tournament under par.
This iteration of the U.S. Open could see similar scores. In addition to the tricky Poa putting surfaces, Torrey Pines will present plenty more difficulties from tee to green.
Both length and precision off the tee will be critical at this course, where fairway accuracy stats are usually 10% lower the week of the Farmers Open.
The penalty for an erratic shot is a bout with long and thick Kikuyu rough that can swallow a ball whole. Nearly 50 bunkers also fill out the area.
The best opportunity for players to make birdies will be on the three par 5s, which range from 568 to 612 yards.
The 11 par 4s measure between 387 and 515 yards, with five of them more than 450 yards in length. The par 3s stretch from 173 yards to 223.
As is normally the case on the PGA Tour, strong iron play is a must. Other statistics to consider before placing your bets include strokes gained off the tee, bogey avoidance, strokes gained putting on Poa annua, and total driving (which combines a player's driving accuracy ranking with his distance ranking on tour).
Best bets for the 2021 U.S. Open
World No. 3 Jon Rahm (+1000) is the favorite this weekend, and it's difficult not to root for him after his shocking withdrawal from the Memorial earlier this month. While holding a six-shot lead at the conclusion of the third round, he was forced to withdraw because of a positive COVID-19 test.
Statistically, Rahm is one of the best players heading into this tournament. He also played well on the West Coast earlier this season, as he posted a seventh-place finish at the Farmers Open and fifth at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.
For a bit more value, however, look to Xander Schauffele at +1400 odds. The San Diego native placed second at the Farmers and 15th at the Genesis. In four appearances at the U.S. Open, he has also finished no worse than sixth.
Schauffele ranks first on tour in all-around ranking, third in adjusted scoring average, eighth in strokes gained putting, 21st in total driving, and 22nd in strokes gained approaching the green.
Featured groups at this week's U.S. Open:— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 15, 2021
🏌️ Collin Morikawa
🏌️ Justin Thomas
🏌️ Brooks Koepka
⛳️ Dustin Johnson
⛳️ Rory McIlroy
⛳️ Justin Rose
🏌️ Max Homa
🏌️ Xander Schauffele
🏌️ Phil Mickelson
⛳️ Will Zalatoris
⛳️ Scottie Scheffler
⛳️ Jordan Spieth pic.twitter.com/EgpZQaV5UU
Another West Coast guy who should contend this week is 2021 Memorial winner, Patrick Cantlay (+2000). After a surprising string of missed cuts at the Players Championship, Masters, RBC Heritage, and Wells Fargo Championship, he bounced back for a 23rd-place finish at the PGA Championship and a win at Muirfield Village in June. The Long Beach native also landed third at Pebble Beach in February and 15th at the Genesis.
For a longer shot, back Will Zalatoris (+4500) to continue his rise in the sport, despite not even owning an official PGA Tour card. The 24-year-old from San Francisco came in sixth at the 2020 U.S. Open and eighth at this year's PGA Championship. He also showed up during the West Coast Swing and posted a seventh-place finish at the Farmers and 15th at the Genesis.
How to watch the 2021 U.S. Open
The winner of the 2021 U.S. Open will receive $2.25 million of a $12.5 million purse, plus 600 FedEx Cup points.
You can catch the action on the Golf Channel on Thursday from 12:30 to 7 p.m. ET, on Friday from 12:30 to 6 p.m. ET, and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon ET.
NBC will provide live coverage on Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. ET, on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. ET, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, and on Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. ET.