2021 U.S. Open Betting Odds & Picks: These 5 Are the Best Course Fits at Torrey Pines
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryson DeChambeau.
This week’s U.S. Open offers a unique challenge as a major championship to both the players on the course and to bettors interested in the proceedings.
The tournament will be held at the South Course at Torrey Pines in San Diego. This marks the rare occasion in which a major championship is held on a course that is a regular stop on the PGA TOUR. Many of this week’s contenders are well-prepared after years of competing at the Farmers Insurance Open, as recently as this year’s event back in January. It’s rare for both the players and the public to have such a wealth of knowledge and data about a U.S. Open venue entering the week.
While the players may know the course, this week’s set-up likely won’t be a carbon copy of the Torrey Pines they see each year in January. The USGA relishes its yearly chance to test the best players in the world with tight fairways, thick rough and lightning-fast greens expected.
This week’s set-up should favor a few different kinds of players, with some familiar faces poised to compete for the third major of the season.
Bryson DeChambeau (+1600)
For many years, the golf world had a certain conception about the kind of player who was able to compete in or win a U.S. Open. The penal rough and narrow fairways should have favored accurate players who could keep the ball on the short grass, rather than those scrambling to make pars.
Last year, golf’s mad scientist Bryson DeChambeau re-corrected those ideas.
With his brute force off of the tee, DeChambeau was often found in the rough, but holding a wedge when his playing opponents were faced with a mid-to-short iron approach. With the fairways so narrow, many found themselves not only well behind DeChambeau, but also in the rough and unable to score in the same way he could. It’s no surprise that some of golf’s other longest hitters, like Matthew Wolff, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau and Justin Thomas were also in the top 10 last year at Winged Foot.
There’s no reason to expect this year’s event to deviate from that trend. With Torrey Pines playing over 7,600 yards, DeChambeau’s strategy should be just as apt in 2021.
Wilco Nienaber (+2100 — Top 10)
DataGolf built a tool that compares the skills needed at every course on Tour and assesses which players are best suited to the course. Despite DeChambeau’s presence as the premier bomber on Tour, it’s a lesser-known name that tops the list as the best fit at Torrey Pines.
That title belongs to 21-year old South African Wilco Nienaber, who made his PGA TOUR debut just last weekend. He wasted no time turning heads in the States, finishing T-14 at the Palmetto Championship and averaging over 360 yards off the tee.
If length is going to be a differentiating factor at Torrey Pines, Nienaber has a real chance to see his name high on the leaderboard this weekend.
Jason Kokrak (+7000 to win)
From a true longshot to a guy sneaking under the radar.
Jason Kokrak absolutely deserves a look this week.
Kokrak absolutely has the distance to handle the USGA’s set-up at Torrey Pines this week, ranking 22nd on Tour in Driving Distance and 22nd in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee.
He is also playing the best golf of his life. After his recent string of success, Kokrak has climbed to 22nd in the Official World Golf Rankings, having won his last start at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He has not missed a cut in 2021, stringing together 13 straight made cuts and five top-15 finishes in his last eight tournaments.
Adam Scott (+10000 to win)
While Torrey Pines may look and play differently than it does during its annual TOUR stop, success at the Farmers Insurance Open should be monitored. Deep down, the 18 holes still have the same DNA.
No player in the field has ranked higher in DataGolf’s True Strokes Gained metric at Torrey Pines than Adam Scott. His 10 tournament rounds at Torrey Pines includes a tie for 26th at the 2008 U.S. Open, which Scott closed with a Sunday 70.
This year, playing the Farmers Insurance Open in January for the first time in several years, Scott finished T-10, gaining more than a full stroke on the field both tee-to-green and with his putter.
Xander Schauffele (+1500 to win, +163 to top 10)
All eyes are going to be on Xander Schauffele this week thanks to a perfect storm of factors.
Schauffele grew up just miles from Torrey Pines, playing high school matches on the course. While he struggled early in his career at the Farmers Insurance Open, he appeared to right the ship with a top five in this year’s event. His background putting on West Coast Poa annua greens should be crucial this weekend. Schauffele recently switched to a new armlock-style putter, citing how effortless he thought the innovative style felt. In his first dalliance with the new putting technique at the Memorial Tournament, Schauffele finished T-11 and gained 0.33 strokes putting for the week.
Additionally, Schauffele has thrived at USGA setups in his career. In his four U.S. Open starts, Schauffele has never finished lower than tied for sixth, joining Bobby Jones as the only players to finish in the top 10 in each of their first four U.S. Opens.
Even as concerns about Schauffele’s ability to finish off his excellent play with a victory at tournament’s end grew after he fizzled late on Sunday at the 2021 Masters, bettors should be confident in his ability to compete this week.