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The toughest test in golf begins this Thursday, as 156 of the best players in the world descend upon a familiar championship venue. The 2014 U.S. Open will be contested at Pinehurst No.2, last holding a U.S. Open in 2005, but perhaps best remembered for that epic finish in 1999 between Payne Stewart and Phil Mickelson.
This is not that same Pinehurst No.2 golf course. In fact, it’s underwent a complete overhaul since that 2005 U.S. Open, with golf course designers (among them Ben Crenshaw) charged with the duty of restoring Pinehurst to it’s former glory early in it’s tenure.
For starters, this U.S. Open will feature hardly any rough, something that drastically strays from the stereotypical golf course set up we’ve grown accustom to from the United States Golf Association.
In place of the treacherous rough, players and viewers on television will see sand-like hazards lining the fairways, where balls that veer from the fairway will be at the mercy of the lies within the new conditions.
In other words, it should be a heck of a lot of fun to watch, even without Tiger Woods in the field. Woods, who is now the No.4 ranked player in the world, has not played in three months as he recovers from back surgery at the end of March.
The rest of the top players in the game will be on hand, including No.1 player in the world Adam Scott. But according to Bovada Sportsbook, Scott is not the favorite to win on 2014 U.S. Open odds. That title goes to 2011 U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy. If there is a player capable of blowing out a field outside of Woods, it’s McIlroy. After all, he’s did it before when he won by eight shots in 2011. Of course, McIlroy has had plenty of ups and downs since then, but appears to have turned a corner to playing more consistent and better golf. There’s no question that McIlroy can win this week, it’s a matter of putting four solid rounds together, something that he has had difficulty doing this year.
At 10/1, McIlroy is favored ahead of Scott to win. A victory would give McIlroy a second U.S. Open title and a third Major Championship overall (2012 PGA Championship).
Of course, Scott is eying Major win No.2. The new No.1 ranked player hits the ball better than anyone on the planet. Expect that trend to continue, but the deciding factor on Scott winning will be the putter. If he can master the turtleback greens of this Donald Ross design, Scott can win his second Major. Scott is set at 12/1 heading into the week.
The player that the majority of people will pay attention to this week though is Mickelson. Lefty recorded his sixth (yes, sixth) runner up finish at the U.S. Open, when he finished second to Justin Rose last year at Merion. Mickelson has five Major victories in his career, and is a U.S. Open short of becoming the sixth player in history to complete the career slam. The problem is that he hasn’t played very well all season, recording zero top-10s coming into the second Major of the year. But this is the U.S. Open, and Mickelson has a certain magic to turn it on. at 14/1, Bovada thinks he just might do it.
The list goes on and on from there outside of the top three. Bubba Watson is the only player able to win the Grand Slam this year, and Pinehurst could be an ideal layout for him.
And then there’s Jordan Spieth, who lost the Masters and the PLAYERS, but alas is still just 20 years of age.
Don’t forget the defending champion in Rose, or Sergio Garcia, who is still looking for that first Major win.
Check out the complete list of payouts heading into Thursday, below. LatestBettingOdds.com has the live lines from Bovada, which will update after each round so check back here for the first available odds.
2014 U.S. Open Live Betting Lines!