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Image for Matt Cooper Matt Cooper - Updated October 14, 2022

U.S. Open: How to Bet, Tips, Odds and Betting Markets

Us Open How To Bet

How Does The U.S. Open Work?

Although best known as the U.S. Open, the tournament’s full title is the United States Open Championship and it is one of the four events in the golfing year that are known collectively as the major golf championships.

They are the four events that define a golfer’s career. Some very fine performers have failed to win a major and it is a gap in their CV that prevents them from being discussed among the elite in history.

The Masters is the first major to take place every year (in April), the British Open is the oldest major of them all (initiated in the 19th century), and both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship are over 100 years old.

First played in 1895, the U.S. Open became a 72-hole tournament in 1898. It has settled into the third week of June on the schedule.

International golfers rank the tournament as the third most-prestigious major, after the Open and Masters but, for many Americans, the U.S. Open is the equal of those events and arguably more important than one or other of them.

It is governed by the United States Golf Association and has a fearsome reputation for being the most difficult of the major championship tests.

In recent years the USGA CEO Mike Davis, who stepped down in 2021, has routinely presented the host course in a set fashion, typically a long test with narrow fairways, thick rough, and hard, fast greens.

On occasions the conditions have been known to get out of hand, presenting the players with an almost impossible examination. This has prompted controversy and criticism.

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Tips for the 2023 U.S. Open

The tournament will be played on the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club in California, the first time the layout has hosted a major championship.

It did, however, welcome the 2017 Walker Cup and a number of Americans thrived there.

Perhaps most notable was California’s very own Collin Morikawa won four points from his four matches. Will Zalatoris also won all three of his matches. Scottie Scheffler, meanwhile, played twice, winning his singles and losing a foursomes. 

If Morikawa rediscovers his form he’ll dip below +2000 and he is currently +2200 at BetMGM. While, if Zalatoris finally gets a first win at PGA Tour level, he too might head south of +2000. He is also currently +2200 at BetMGM.

A couple of others to watch out for over the next 12 months are Maverick McNealy and Doug Ghim who combined to win their two foursomes matches and both also went 2 for 2 in singles.

U.S. Open History

The very first U.S. Open was contested on a nine-hole course at Newport Country Club on Newport Island with the players making four circuits in a day. The winner was Horace Rawlins, a 21-year-old Englishman who played at the host club.

Brits dominated the early championships and it was only in the 1910s that the tournament was considered a major, at that time alongside the British and U.S. Amateur Championships, as well as the British Open.

Between 1926 and 1994 American golfers completely dominated.

In fact, they won all but three editions in that period – the exceptions were South Africa’s Gary Player in 1965, England’s Tony Jacklin in 1970, and the Australian David Graham in 1981.

Since Ernie Els won the first of two U.S. Opens in 1994, international raiders have landed 12 of the 28 tournaments played.

U.S. Open Past Champions

The first golfer to win the championship more than once was the Scot Willie Anderson and he actually claimed his second, third and fourth victories in consecutive years from 1903.

John McDermott was the first American winner in 1911 and he defended his trophy a year later.

He was succeeded by Francis Ouimet, a local amateur whose spectacular triumph was heralded across the nation and has remained legendary ever since, even inspiring the film ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’.

Before the Second World War forced the tournament’s cancellation, Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, and Ralph Guldahl became multiple winners.

In the post-war era, Ben Hogan dominated, winning in 1948, 1950, 1951 and 1953. In the latter year, he also won the Masters and British Open but was unable to attempt a completion of the Grand Slam because the PGA Championship coincided with his British Open win at Carnoustie.

Arnold Palmer won the title just once, in 1960, forcing the then-amateur Jack Nicklaus into second.

Two years later, now a professional, Nicklaus was victorious and he would be so again three times.

Johnny Miller would win just the once, in 1973, but it was a sensational performance and changed the nature of the championship. He thrashed a superb final round of 8-under-par 63 in which he hit all 18 greens in regulation. Only three other players broke 70 that day.

A year later the USGA responded to Miller’s brilliance by setting a harsh test which became known as ‘The Massacre at Winged Foot’. Not one player broke par in the first round and Hale Irwin won with a total of 7-over-par for the week.

In 1988 and 1989 Curtis Strange won back-to-back titles, but shortly afterward the internationals started to thrive.

Tiger Woods is a three-time winner of the U.S. Open. His first victory came at Pebble Beach in 2000, a stunning display in which he finished the week on 12-under and fully 15 strokes clear of second placed Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Eight years later he was desperate to play at Torrey Pines, a course that meant much to him, and he did so even though he had fractured his leg. In one of the most astounding performances in golfing history he drained a 10-foot putt on the 72nd hole to force a play-off.

The last thing he needed was another 18 holes, but even that was not enough to defeat Rocco Mediate. Woods eventually prevailed after the 91st hole of the week.

In 2018 Brooks Koepka repeated Curtis Strange’s feat of successfully defending his title.

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Where is the U.S. Open played?

Unlike the Masters, but as with the PGA Championship and British Open, the U.S. Open travels around the United States of America.

The venues tend to be traditional and older courses, ones considered to be classic examinations, although newer courses such as Chambers Bay and Erin Hills have been included in recent years (with mixed success).

A notable feature of host courses is that the USGA sends an Open Doctor to update and renovate the test.

For a long while, Robert Trent Jones undertook this role and he was followed by his son Rees Jones.

How do Players Qualify for the U.S. Open?

The full field of 156 players is made up of roughly half who qualify by right and another half who earn their place.

Among those exempt are champions from the previous 10 years, winners of the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Junior Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur, and British Amateur, winners of the other three majors from the previous five years, winners of the three previous PLAYERS Championships, plus the reigning BMW PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open winners.

Winners of multiple PGA Tour titles in the previous 12 months, the Olympic gold medallist, the top 10 from the previous year’s event, those who played in the TOUR Championship, and the top 60 in the world are also exempt.

It is also known for the USGA presents players with special exemptions.

Thereafter the field is made up of qualifiers. Local Qualifying takes place over 18 holes at over 100 courses nationwide.

High-quality players skip this stage and join those still standing at Sectional Qualifying, played over 36 holes at various U.S. locations, plus in Japan and Europe. It is a famously long and grueling day.

How to Bet on the U.S. Open?

The obvious starting point is the tournament result: you can back a player to win, to place (top five, top ten, etc.) or each way (half the stake on the win, half on the place).

Beyond that, there are a number of other alternatives.

First Round Leader is a very popular market, as are group options: Top American or Top European, for example.

You can also back one player over another in 72-hole and 18-hole match bets which are mythical contests in the sense that the players don’t know they have been pitted against one another.

In each round there will also be two or three ball contests relating to the official tee times groupings.

This is a tournament in which research will pay dividends, usually with regard to the course and conditions.

Ante-post Betting on the U.S. Open

You will be able to bet on the next U.S. Open within hours of the last one finishing and these ante-post markets will remain open all year.

Real value can be captured this way but also beware that each way terms tend to be more restrictive.

In the week of the tournament itself books are hungry for golfing punters and also wider sports fans.

Big offers will be available, plus great place terms. Hunt around and get the best terms you can find.

A number of patterns have emerged down the years which have become vital reading for punters.

For example, this has not been a championship for underdogs in recent years.

It has been dominated by players in the world’s top 25, by players who are not making their championship debut (and have already finished top 25), and who have already recorded a top three finish in the season.

Why is the Host Course Important for Betting?

The course and the conditions have a huge impact on the outcome of every championship. A few recent examples explain this.

Both Jon Rahm and Tiger Woods had an emotional attachment to, and a fine record at, Torrey Pines ahead of winning there.

Rory McIlroy triumphed at Congressional in 2011 on a course that suited him perfectly – it was wet and long.

Other golfers have revealed themselves as championship experts, excelling in the task of showing great patience. Retief Goosen and Brooks Koepka are both two-time winners who typify the required skill set.

Smart punters would have researched those results and conditions.

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Image for Matt Cooper


Matt Cooper

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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]

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