The top golfers in the world enter the 2013 U.S. Open seeking victory at the second major tournament of the season.
Based on the Official World Golf Rankings, the FedEx Cup standings and what Vegas is saying, there are plenty of contenders to keep an eye on. Looking at everything together, there’s bound to be a close race—if not a playoff—at Merion Golf Club this weekend in Pennsylvania.
So, which top-ranked golfer has the best chance of winning the 113th U.S. Open, and where should we expect to see the others finish?
Let’s take a look at what the latest expectations are for those who should be playing for a trophy on Sunday afternoon at Merion.
*All odds were obtained via Bovada and are up to date as of Tuesday, June 11 at 10:15 a.m. ET.
U.S. Open Odds for Top Contenders (visit Bovada for full listing)
Tiger Woods, 9-2 Odds
In the word’s of NBC announcer Dan Hicks, “Expect anything different?” There’s no question that Woods should be the favorite entering the 113th U.S. Open. He’s the top-ranked golfer in the world and the current leader in the FedEx Cup standings. He’s also looking to win his 15th career major tournament this weekend.
While Tiger has never played a round at Merion Golf Club, he is a three-time winner of the event. He hasn’t won since 2008, however. After his victory that year, he finished in the top 10 in his two following appearances, didn’t play in 2011 and finished tied for 21st place a year ago.
Woods has had a brilliant season, if we exclude his performance at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago. There, he finished in a tie for 65th after shooting eight over. Before that, he had won three of his last four tournaments. He also won the Farmers Insurance Open to get his season started.
Woods will certainly have a target on his back this week at Merion considering how well he’s played this year and his success at the U.S. Open in the past. Taking him down will not be an easy feat for any other contender, and, as the odds show, it’s likely that Woods finishes atop the field.
Predicted Finish: First Place
Brandt Snedeker, 28-1 Odds
Brandt Snedeker isn’t really one of the favorites to win this year’s U.S. Open, at least compared to most of the other top players in the world. Snedeker, who’s ranked second in the FedEx Cup standings and seventh in the world, only has the eighth-best odds to win at Merion—tied with Lee Westwood and Charl Schwartzel.
Snedeker started off the year about as hot as a golfer could be. He only won one tournament—the AT&T Pebble Beach Nationals Pro-Am—but finished in the top three in four of five events. He did well at the Masters and The Players too but has been cold the few last events, getting cut at the Memorial and at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Snedeker was forced to withdraw from the U.S. Open a year ago, citing cracked ribs, according to Rex Hoggard of the Golf Channel. Since 2006, he’s finished in the top 10 twice and in the top 15 three times. He was cut in 2009 after shooting six over through the first two rounds.
Seeing that Snedeker has come close to finishing on top at past U.S. Opens, could this finally be the year he wins it all? Snedeker has never won a major championship in his career and has arguably played better at the U.S. Open than at any of the other three. Don’t be surprised if Snedeker wins it all, despite the moderate odds.
Predicted Finish: 13th Place
Matt Kuchar, 20-1 Odds
Entering the U.S. Open, Matt Kuchar is closer to Woods than any other golfer in the FedEx Cup standings, sitting just 423 points off the lead. Kuchar, however, is only the fourth-ranked player in the world, behind Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott. At Merion, though, Kuchar has the same odds of winning as McIlroy and better odds than Scott.
Kuchar is having a fantastic season thus far and has been nearly unbeatable the last few weeks. A 13-under finish at the Crowne Plaza Invitational earned him the runner-up spot in the final week of May. He topped that performance a week later when he took home the crown at the Memorial Tournament.
While Kuchar has been good this year, he hasn’t been great at the U.S. Open in previous years. He’s been cut five times in his career and has only finished in the top 15 twice, coming in 2010 and 2011. Last year, Kuchar finished in a tie for 27th place after shooting eight over.
Kuchar’s odds to win the U.S. Open are better than most, and he wouldn’t be a bad choice as a contender who’s somewhat under the radar. Woods, McIlroy, Scott and Phil Mickelson will likely be the big names everyone’s talking about throughout the week. Kuchar could be a player to keep an eye on.
Predicted Finish: Third Place