The second major of the golf season takes place this week as Shinnecock Hills hosts the US Open.
Widely regarded as the toughest of the four majors, the US Open is played on a variety of courses, which are tailored to be tight tight, tough with accuracy a premium requirement.
And this week will be no different as Shinnecock Hills Golf Club – a links-style course – will present a massive challenge, as they host the event for a fifth occasion.
Shinnecock Hills is steeped in history and they claim to be the oldest formal golf club in America having been formed in 1891, along with the oldest clubhouse. They are also rightly proud to have admitted women from when they first opened, something many major venues are only now catching onto.
It is the first time since 2004 that the US Open has been played at Shinnecock Hills, but you shouldn’t be expecting low score with the last three winners here coming home at -4, Level and -1.
My, my I’m looking ‘Ship ready! pic.twitter.com/pCfFO11T3Z
— Shinnecock's Hills (@ShinnysHills) June 13, 2018
See below as we run through the tournament for you including facts, odds and picks from our own golfing professional Cliff Jackson and Betfair.
FIELD: As you would expect, the world’s greatest golfers are in New York state this week, the world’s top-20 are all in the field, with Dustin Johnson back as world number one. Brooks Koepka is the returning US Open champion and is on hand to defend his crown on ‘The Hills’.
QUOTES: Koepka is back for his defence, but that was in doubt a few months ago as he has been beset with injuries, but he is now back to fitness and form.
“You go from playing some of the best golf I’ve probably ever played to probably being at the lowest point professionally that I’ve been. It wasn’t easy,” he said.
“The past, I guess, six months, maybe eight months, we kind of knew about the wrist injury a little bit longer than we told people. But I knew it was bugging me and just couldn’t quite figure out what it was.”
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 13, 2018
Dustin Johnson enters this week back on top of the rankings, and favourite for the title, and he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I think it’s a fantastic venue,” Johnson said.
“It’s all about the second shot. You’ve really got to hit good quality second shots into these greens. Some of the greens are big, but the surface area where you want to hit your ball is small. So you’ve got to hit good golf shots. If you miss it in the wrong spot, I mean, you have a very, very tough time getting it up and down.”
Our resident golf expert is Cliff Jackson. Cliff is a leading youth coach and PGA professional at the famed Seaton Carew Links – one of the oldest courses in the world.
A brilliant field for a brilliant event, the US Open is as good as it gets. A tough choice here, but I really fancy Justin Rose to go close here, and I would also throw Jordan Spieth in there, he is not getting a lot of gossip around him, but such a wonderful player can’t be underestimated.
And don’t discount Phil Mickelson, he came close last time the event was staged at Shinnecock Hills and so he knows what it takes to compete here.
We caught up with Betfair’s Joe Dyer to get their views on this week’s action
Dustin Johnson timed his return to winning ways perfectly and goes into the US Open as the clear 8/1 favourite on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Strip out the WGC Matchplay and DJ has finished no worse than 17th in 10 tournaments with a pair of wins, including last week’s St Jude Classic, a runner-up slot at Pebble Beach and four further top 10s.
No wonder he’s back as world no.1 and no wonder he is the punters’ choice to win at Shinnecock Hills, a course that looks tailor-made for the big man’s talents.
Already a US Open winner on a long par 70 (IOakmont, 2016) the linksy feel of the New Jersey layout, likely wind and poa annua greens are all ticks in the DJ box.
The eight places paid at 1/5 the odds means you will make a profit if he comes home in the leading octet but without lifting the trophy.
Rory McIlroy takes the mantle of second favourite at 12/1 but Betfair’s Steve Rawlings says a tough US Open will not be suited to the Ulsterman and he is easy to pass over.
Fellow Ryder Cupper Justin Rose should find matters more to his liking and he can be backed at 16/1, alongside Justin Thomas and Jason Day.
Backers of Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods are all 18/1 this week, while you will get 20/1 about defending champion Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth.
Henrik Stenson and Hideki Matsuyama are 30/1 to finish top of the pile and you can get 35/1 on a pair of picks in the Betfair each-way column, Branden Grace and Phil Mickelson. You can read the full column here >>> https://betting.betfair.com/golf/us-open/us-open-2018-each-way-betting-tips-110618-6.html