- Alf Musketa, ESPN Insider
Given the wet conditions at Merion, golfers and handicappers should benefit in some fashion this week at the U.S. Open. Long hitters will not have an advantage this week because, with soft greens, the entire field can hold the greens, fire at pins and putt aggressively. The rough is so thick throughout the course that, in my opinion, driving accuracy will be the key factor to winning. This isn't some revelation; rough conditions at the U.S. Open are famously difficult. But it's notable this week because Merion is quite short by recent standards, meaning we could see fewer drivers to begin with, even from players who aren't known for length off the tee.
Merion's East Course will play to a par 70 and a maximum of 6,996 yards, making it the shortest U.S. Open track in more than 15 years. The 11th hole is extremely vulnerable to flooding, and if it becomes unplayable Thursday, with more rain in the forecast, the tournament staff has prepared a couple of holes on the West Course just in case.
With all these peculiar conditions in mind, let's take a look at some of the best bets at the 113th U.S. Open.
Note: Odds courtesy of William Hill.US Sports Book in Las Vegas.
Tiger Woods (9-2)
Tiger recently finished 20 shots (T-65) behind winner Matt Kuchar at the Memorial in his most recent stop on the PGA Tour. Tiger struggled with the superfast greens and didn't drive the ball well. Yes, he already has won four times this season, but of the 14 majors he's won, only two of them came on par-70 tracks. Obviously, his legendary domination of par-5s has something to do with that record.
ESPN Insider's Alf Musketa, a Vegas handicapper, breaks down the best bets at the U.S. Open this year.