When trying to pick a single winner from a field of 155 golfers playing in the U.S. Open, one looks for any edge they can get.
In golf, that edge comes from historical perspective.
This week, the U.S. Open is being played at Torrey Pines, site of Tiger Woods' famous triumph on a broken leg/torn knee ligaments in 2008. Since then, some clear trends have emerged about who wins this prestigious major, as the always-informative PGA Splits highlights.
In layman's terms, the criteria for the 2021 winner based on these trends is one Top 5 finish in their last five starts, one win in the last two years, they had to make the cut at the last major (PGA Championship), they have to be a Top 30 ranked player in the world and they have to be between 26-32 years old.
While that reads, you need to be a good young golfer to win the U.S. Open, which seems fairly obvious, it does narrow the field of 155 golfers competing to only 11 with a chance to win. Those golfers are, with odds from WynnBET in brackets, as follows.
John Rahm (+900)
Brooks Koepka (+1750)
Rory Milroy (+2000)
Jordan Spieth (+2200)
Colin Morikawa (+2200)
Patrick Cantlay (+2250)
Viktor Hovland (+2500)
Patrick Reed (+3000)
Hideki Matsuyama (+4000)
Daniel Berger (+5000)
Tyrrell Hatton (+5000)
Ok, so we have the betting favorite in there (Rahm), but we do eliminate the next three players with the best odds to win -- Xander Schauffele, Dustin Johnson and Bryson Dechambeau. We also have a couple of big payout potentials here in Matsuyama, Berger and Hatton, though Matsuyama won the 2021 Masters and only six players have won the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year, so I'm eliminating him. I would also fade Hatton, if for no other reason than Britts tend not to win this event. That gives us nine golfers to choose from on this list, but I'm not ruling out everyone from outside it.
Personally, I'm placing bets on Rahm, Cantlay and Schauffele to take home the title. Yes, I know Schauffele isn't on the list of 11 players, but he bombs the ball and is one of the best putters on tour, two elements that will be crucial to success this week. Rahm and Cantlay, likewise, are among the bigger hitters on tour and their precise iron shots give both a chance to make a lot of easy pars on a course that punishes wayward approach shots.
So those are my picks and that is the list of people history says have the best chance to win the 2021 U.S. Open. Of course, betting is a guessing man's game and this year is no different. But narrowing a field of 155 down to 11 is a pretty good start.