2011 US Open Golf Odds: Graeme McDowell and the Top 5 Europeans Who Could Win

Alun VaughanContributor IIIJune 14, 2011

2011 US Open Golf Odds: Graeme McDowell and the Top 5 Europeans Who Could Win

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    Graeme McDowell: 2010 US Open Champion
    Graeme McDowell: 2010 US Open ChampionRoss Kinnaird/Getty Images

    This week, the Crogressional Country Club's Blue course is set to host the 111th US Open championship at a time in which Golf is as wide open as it has ever been.

    With so many great players around at the moment, this could be anyone's tournament and it looks as though the Europeans could have a big say in where the trophy ends up. Graeme McDowell was the first European to claim the title in 40 years when he won his first major last year and it would be no surprise if we were to see a successive European victory this time around.

    The top American pros will be looking to put in a good showing this week as they will be eager to keep the trophy stateside this year. The article will look at the Europeans who have a good chance of topping that leaderboard come Sunday. 

Graeme McDowell

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    Graeme Mcdowell: The decisive putt in the European Ryder Cup victory
    Graeme Mcdowell: The decisive putt in the European Ryder Cup victorySam Greenwood/Getty Images

    The reigning champion, Graeme McDowell will be looking to defend his crown this week but he knows it will be a tough task.

    The Northern Irishman made a name for himself when he claimed the title last summer, prompting a sudden global rise to fame. "G-Mac" is recognised worldwide after winning his first major at Pebble Beach, before going on to play a crucial role in the European Ryder Cup winning team.

    The man from Portrush had a fantastic year last year as he climbed his way up the world rankings through consistent performances earning him the world number four spot.

    Graeme McDowell now sits at No. 7 in the world rankings after a disappointing start to the year. Last Week in the SAAB Wales Open he went from seven-under par to one-over in a dreadful third round. McDowell knows he needs to step his game up if he is to stand a chance of retaining the US Open this week as he faces stiff competition.

    The world No. 7 has taken a few days rest back home in Portrush and will be hoping to hit form at the Congressional this week to prevent handing over his crown.

5. Sergio Garcia

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    Sergio Garcia
    Sergio GarciaSam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Sergio Garcia could prove to the dark horse of the competition. When the Spanish veteran will break new records this week as he makes his 48th consecutive Major appearance. A feat matched by no other.

    The 31-year-old has had little to cheer about in recent times but this achievement is one he will undoubtedly be very proud of. Garcia will not stop at that landmark however, as he will be looking to make a real impact on this tournament and force his way back into the reckoning.

    A cheeky little bet on Garcia could prove to be a very astute move as the Spaniard knows if he can start well this week, his experience and mentality could prove him to be a major player come the latter rounds.

4. Rory McIlroy

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    Rory McIlroy
    Rory McIlroyAndrew Redington/Getty Images

    Rory McIlroy will be looking to put rest to the nightmares of his fourth round performance at the Masters in April as he aims to steal the US Open trophy from his best pal, Graeme McDowell.

    Young McIlroy showed his mental vulnerability as he 'choked' on the last day at the Masters, eventually finishing joint 15, leaving many questioning his ability to cope with the pressure on the big stage. It was a disappointing display from the Northern Irishman at the last hurdle but he will have learnt from the experience and will be more determined than ever to prove he is good enough to compete for major honours.

    'His day will come' is a phrase branded around the golfing world in reference to the 22 year-old and it is true that he will one day be a world star but he has the ability to thrive under the spotlight already. 

    He will be fired up this week at the Congressional and it would not be a surprise to seen him storm off with an early lead in a major championship once again.

3. Martin Kaymer

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    Martin Kaymer
    Martin KaymerRichard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Martin Kaymer will partner Luke Donald and Lee Westwood at the Congressional this week which could provide great entertainment from the top three golfers in the world right now.

    The German has been battling it out with the Englishmen for that world number one spot in recent times, with all three having their moment as the main men. The 26 year-old currently sits at number three in the world rankings and will be hoping to win his second major this week in a push for that coveted world number one spot.

    Last year's US PGA Championship winner knows how to play in the Majors and knows he needs to hit top form on the Saturday and Sunday rather than risking too many mistakes in the first couple rounds. Kaymer will no doubt make the cut and whilst he may not get off to an outstanding start, do not be surprised if in the latter rounds the German pops up and claims his second major.

2. Lee Westwood

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    Lee Westwood
    Lee WestwoodDavid Cannon/Getty Images

    The world number two goes into the week as joint favourite with English compatriot and world number one, Luke Donald.

    Lee Westwood is yet to claim his first major championship but will be hoping that all changes this week as he steps into the US Open field as a clear contender. The 38 year-old has been playing in the St Jude Classic just days before the start of the US Open and insists it is a good preparation after finishing tied 11th on six under par.

    Westwood lost out to eventual winner, Robert Karlsson at the the St Jude Classic, who could prove to be another good bet at the US Open as a European contender.

    Lee Westwood will be up for this event and will be more keen than ever to bag his first major championship and knock Luke Donald off world number one spot. This could be a really big moment in the Englishman's career but hopefully the desire to claim his first major will not become a hindrance on him mentally. 

1 Luke Donald

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    World number one: Luke Donald
    World number one: Luke DonaldDavid Cannon/Getty Images

    Luke Donald will be one for the Americans to fear at the Congressional this week as he enters the tournament as joint favourite.

    The world number one, like Lee Westwood has still not won a major championship and this is the perfect time for the Englishman to prove he is worthy of his ranking. Donald goes into the tournament in good form after recently claiming the world number one spot with his win at the BMW PGA at Wentworth two weeks

    The Congressional is long course and will favour the big hitters, which Donald is not one which could be a real disadvantage for the favourite. The 33-year-old has improved his overall game massively in recent times and is starting to hit the ball further after a change of direction in his swing but questions over whether he can compete with the furthest drives are still evident.

    Luke Donald looks as though he will have a good tournament and will be expected to play some good golf throughout, but do not be surprised if one of the other Europeans mentioned in this article beat him to the prize.

A Good Time for European Golf

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    European winners
    European winnersRoss Kinnaird/Getty Images

    Graeme McDowell will be looking to hold onto his title this week but after a poor year it looks increasingly unlikely unless he hits his A-game this week.

    The reigning champion will be face stiff competition from the likes of Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan as the American pros will be looking to reclaim their home major championship.

    Golf is in an exciting period with no dominant force such as Tiger Woods anymore and the biggest threat to last year's champion is likely to come from a selection of players closer to home as the Europeans look to cause another upset.

    After the victory at Celtic Manor in the Ryder Cup, European golfers have really shown their ability to compete at the very top. The world ranking top-three consist of Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and of course number one, Luke Donald. The two Englishmen at the top will be looking to get their hands of their first major this week.

    The 111th US Open at the Congressional could be a golfing classic and it looks as though the Europeans will have a big say on where the trophy ends up, once again.