US Open Golf 2024 Tips: Jamie’s six names to know this week

 | Monday 10th June 2024, 15:39pm

Monday 10th June 2024, 15:39pm

jamie worsley pga tour

We are on to the third Major of the year and here's hoping for far less off the course drama here at the US Open compared to what we saw at the PGA last month.

As always, our golf tipster is here with his in-depth preview and six names to follow as part of your betting portfolio this weekend as part of his US Open Golf 2024 Betting Tips as Betfred are paying out ten places for the event this week...

US Open Golf 2024 Betting Tips

  • Brooks Koepka - 1/5 10 places - 2.5 pts ew @ 20/1
  • Cameron Smith - 1/5 10 places - 1.5 pts ew @ 33/1
  • Hideki Matsuyama - 1/5 10 places - 1.25 pts ew @ 40/1
  • Will Zalatoris - 1/5 10 places - 1 pt ew @ 60/1
  • Russell Henley - 1/5 10 places - 1 pt ew @ 70/1
  • Brian Harman - 1/5 10 places - 1 pt ew @ 110/1

*Click on the linked odds to add the selections directly to your betslip on betfred.com (or app)

We’re already halfway through major season and by the end of this week, we’ll have just The Open Championship at Royal Troon in July to go.

Scottie Scheffler made the headlines at Augusta in impressive fashion back in April and then stole the headlines at Valhalla Golf Club in the PGA Championship, following his surreal arrest on the Friday morning of the event. Though by the end of the week we were finally celebrating an overdue major championship breakthrough for Xander Schauffele.

This week’s it’s the turn of the US Open, and after a 10-year wait we finally get to see the glorious Pinehurst No. 2 in action once again.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Having been established in 1895, the US Open is the second-oldest of the majors - behind The Open Championship – and often the most challenging.

Players from the UK dominated the early years of the event, winning every renewal from 1895-1911. Though since John McDermott’s 1911 win, home players have taken control of their national open, winning 87 of the 123 renewals in total.

The record for most wins in the event is shared by four players on four wins apiece: Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905), Bobby Jones (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930), Ben Hogan (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953) and Jack Nicklaus (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980).

Hale Irwin (1974, 1979, 1990) and Tiger Woods (2000, 2002, 2008) come next with three victories each. Whilst a long list of two-time winners includes names such as Walter Hagen (1914, 1919), Lee Trevino (1968, 1971), Ernie Els (1994, 1997) and Brooks Koepka (2017, 2018).

There have been many standout performances in this tournament but none more so than Tiger Woods’ extraordinary win at Pebble Beach in 2000. On a brutally difficult week in California, Tiger not only finished as the only player under par, but he did so with an incredible 12-under-par winning score, 15 shots ahead of runners-up, Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez on +3. It was the most dominant performance in major championship history and is regarded by many as the greatest individual tournament display of all time.

Last five winners:

  • 2023 (Los Angeles Country Club) – Winner: Wyndham Clark (-10); runner-up: Rory McIlroy (-9)
  • 2022 (Brookline) – Winner: Matt Fitzpatrick (-6); runners-up: Scottie Scheffler, Will Zalatoris (-5)
  • 2021 (Torrey Pines) – Winner: Jon Rahm (-6); runner-up: Louis Oosthuizen (-5)
  • 2020 (Winged Foot) – Winner: Bryson DeChambeau (-6); runner-up: Matthew Wolff (E)
  • 2019 (Pebble Beach) – Winner: Gary Woodland (-13); runner-up: Brooks Koepka (-10)

The pinnacle of Wyndham Clark’s fantastic 2023 season happened in this event in LA last year, as he held off Rory McIlroy and many other quality contenders to become a first-time major winner. He returns to defend this week, looking to become the eighth player to successfully do so.

THE COURSE

Course history

The esteemed Donald Ross design, Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina, is back as our host course this week. It will be the fourth time the course – originally designed in 1907 and renovated by Coore and Crenshaw in 2009-11 - has been used in this event, whilst it also hosted the women’s version of the US Open in 2014; along with the 1936 PGA Championship, 1951 Ryder Cup and 1962/2008/2019 editions of the US Amateur Championship.

Previous US Opens at Pinehurst No. 2:

  • 2014 – Winner: Martin Kaymer (-9); runners-up: Rickie Fowler, Erik Compton (-1)
  • 2005 – Winner: Michael Campbell (E); runner-up: Tiger Woods (+2)
  • 1999 – Winner: Payne Stewart (-1); runner-up: Phil Mickelson (E)

Pinehurst has always produced a true US Open examination, with just one player finishing under par across the first two renewals of the event here, and despite Martin Kaymer’s mind-bogglingly good performance in 2014, he was still one of only three players to finish the event under par.

Course info

Pinehurst No. 2 is a par 70 and will play at a long 7543 yards. It possesses 12x par 4s (381-530 yards), 4x par 3s (184-228 yards) and 2x par 5s (588-617 yards).

This naturally rugged yet pristine venue is lined by tall pine trees throughout and features only subtle elevation changes; with the firm, sandy turf, course undulations and ability to run shots up onto the greens, it has somewhat of a linksy feel.

The fairways are wide, though fairly sloping and will lead to many an uneven lie, whilst it’s also possible for players to find an unlucky bounce away from the short grass.

There is no rough at this week’s course, instead, the fairways are lined with a mixture of bunkers and penal, sandy, wiregrass waste areas, which will leave errant drives in the lap of the golfing gods. The field will need to navigate them smartly if they have designs on conquering the most demanding aspect of Pinehurst: the green complexes.

Whilst the ultra-firm bermudagrass putting surfaces are large - measuring an average of 6500 sq. ft. – they don’t play so, with the typically Donald Ross crowned greens featuring severe run-offs and false-fronts at their perimeter on every hole. Which makes the greens-in-regulation percentages here some of the lowest you’ll find.

Many of the greens are multi-tiered and exceptionally well-contoured. This week’s competitors will not only need to putt well on them, but show both quality and restraint in approach, with pin-seeking leading to potentially disastrous consequences, as iron shots that look destined for the flag run out too far and into one of the tightly-mown collection areas around the greens, that only the best chippers in the field will field comfortable playing from.

The putting surfaces are also strongly bunkered. They’re often deep and have native grasses sprouting around/inside them, whilst with many sitting several yards away from the green, players will have awkward-length bunker shots to contend with; an unpleasant shot into any green, let alone those as quick as they’ll find this week.

There is a reason Pinehurst No. 2 regularly ranks among the best golf courses in the world and it’s these reasons that make it an ideal US Open venue. Every facet of the players’ games will be tested this week and clear birdie chances are almost non-existent. If we get the intended firm conditions, pars will feel like unearthing precious metals and I can’t wait to watch the world’s best attempt to tackle the iconic venue again this week.

THE WEATHER

So often the weather doesn’t play ball at major championships, to allow us to get the ideal conditions that are needed to see these venues at their very best. Although, this doesn’t appear to be the case this week.

Barring the possibility of some light showers over the weekend, conditions building up to the event are said to be hot and dry. This continues into the opening two rounds of the event, which should enable the course to have those famously firm conditions.

The players will therefore be thankful to find out that wind doesn’t appear to be much of a factor throughout the week, with a gentle breeze currently predicted and gusts reaching no higher than the mid-teens for the majority of the tournament.

KEY STATS

  • SG: Approach
  • Greens-in-Regulation
  • Proximity from 175yds+

The most prominent dangers at Pinehurst come on and around the putting surfaces, and players will need to be at their best with the irons to both master and avoid them this week.

Whilst it is not recommended to go hunting flags, merely hitting the putting surfaces is not always a guarantee of an easier life, with the tiered and undulating greens warranting players to hit approaches to the correct spots. Miss these spots and aside from potentially tumbling off the putting surfaces into those tightly-mown chipping areas and penal bunkers, players could also be left with an unenviable two-putt from the wrong position on the green.

In addition to this, a high portion of approaches will be hit with the long irons and we should focus our attention even closer on players who excel in proximity from 175yds+ this week.

  • SG: Around-the-Greens

With these crowned greens likely to play firm, the greens-in-regulation percentages will be low and I expect only those with the very best short games to fancy chipping from these short-grassed collection areas.

  • SG: Putting (bermudagrass)/3-Putt Avoidance

Positive experiences of putting on fast and contoured bermudagrass greens is an obvious plus, with 3-putt avoidance another key stat on greens where two-putting for par will be of more significance.

  • SG: Off-the-Tee/Driving Distance

I do feel the driver will be the least important club this week but that doesn’t mean we should completely dismiss it on a demanding all-round test. Longer hitters do hold more appeal on such a lengthy layout, as the accurate but shorter types are going to have even more trouble sticking these greens with longer approaches.

Having said that, the same can be said for longer and slightly more erratic drivers if they start missing the short grass too often. Ultimately, those most able to control their power and give themselves more short-mid iron shots from the fairways into these firm putting surfaces should be rewarded.

  • Par 4 Scoring
  • Bogey Avoidance

A couple of scoring stats to finish and with the volume of par 4s at the course and pars feeling like birdies on many holes, par 4 scoring and bogey avoidance both look like important stats.

TOURNAMENT TRENDS

  • Nine of the last 10 US Open winners had previously recorded a top-25 in the event. Wyndham Clark last year is the only one in that time who hadn’t.
  • Clark was also the only winner during that time to not have a previous major championship top-10. With eight of those also possessing a top-5.
  • Matt Fitzpatrick in 2022 was the only champion since 2014 to have not recorded a previous victory on the PGA Tour.
  • Nine of the previous 10 winners had a top-25 in their last three starts; eight had a top-10 and six had a top-5.
  • Current winning form is not especially important, with just four of the last 10 winners having recorded a previous win in that calendar year.
  • This is not an event that favours debutants, with Francis Ouimet in 1913 the last player to win the US Open on their first attempt.
  • Whilst it may not favour debutants, the last five winners have all been first-time major champions.

CORRELATING EVENTS (COURSES)

Pinehurst’s setup and lack of rough makes it different to many US Open/PGA Championship courses, and indeed regular tour stops, which means it is a tricky course to correlate for this week.

Merely looking at other tough, championship-like layouts, such as Muirfield Village, Bay Hill and Riviera, doesn’t feel like as much of a help this week, as the aspects that make those courses tough don’t completely match up to Pinehurst.

Having said that, there were some courses that I felt could offer clues.

2021 Palmetto Championship/2022 CJ Cup (Congaree Golf Club)

Located a few hours to the south in South Carolina, Congaree is another lengthy, flat and firm course with wide fairways. It has no rough and quick, undulating bermudagrass greens, which are protected by run-offs that lead into tightly-mown chipping areas.

Houston Open (Memorial Park Golf Course)

Memorial Park has been one of the most demanding tests on the PGA Tour since taking over hosting duties of the Houston Open in 2020. It is a relatively flat course, with wide fairways and large, crowned bermudagrass greens, around which players will be regularly tasked with chipping from tight lies when missing.

Wyndham Championship (Sedgefield Country Club)

Just an hour north of Pinehurst, Sedgefield Country Club is the most recognisable and regular Donald Ross course used on the PGA Tour. Though much shorter and scoreable, it features typically speedy Ross green complexes, that are similarly-sized to Pinehurst and it is among the more challenging all-round short-game tests on tour.

The Masters (Augusta National Country Club)

Whilst Augusta National features more dramatic elevation changes and bentgrass rather than bermudagrass greens, there is plenty that can bind these two courses together. Both have generous fairways that are bordered by tall pine trees, whilst there is little-to-no rough to be found at either course. They each feature some of the trickiest and quickest green complexes around, which are littered with severe run-offs and surrounded by collection areas that require players to be strong at getting it up-and-down from tight lies.

Old Course at St Andrews

Finally, whilst the linksy aspects to Pinehurst should correlate nicely with many hosts of The Open Championship, it’s the Old Course at St Andrews that appeals most of all.

Not only are they two of the most highly-regarded courses on the planet, but with wide fairways and complex, undulating putting surfaces/surrounds, they play somewhat similarly.

It is no surprise that each of the three previous US Open winners here at Pinehurst recorded their best Open Championship finishes at St Andrews, with Martin Kaymer 7th there in 2010, Michael Campbell 3rd at St Andrews in 1995 and Payne Stewart finishing runner-up in the 1990 edition at the Old Course.

THE FIELD

The US Open often generates one of the most eclectic fields of the year and that’s no different this week.

It features every member of the world’s top-50, which is again led by Scottie Scheffler, who continued his dominance of the men’s game with a fifth win in eight starts at last week’s Memorial Tournament.

Wyndham Clark returns to defend and he is one of 14 past champions in attendance; the others being: Matt Fitzpatrick (2022), Jon Rahm (2021), Bryson DeChambeau (2020), Gary Woodland (2019), Brooks Koepka (2018, 2017), Dustin Johnson (2016), Jordan Spieth (2015), Martin Kaymer (2014), Justin Rose (2013), Webb Simpson (2012), Rory McIlroy (2011), Lucas Glover (2009) and Tiger Woods (2008, 2002, 2000).

There were 13 qualifiers held around the world, taking place in the US, Canada, Japan and the UK. Among the players to qualify via these events were 2018 Open Championship winner, Francesco Molinari; LIV’s Dean Burmester, Eugenio Chacarra and David Puig; multiple PGA Tour winners such as Matt Kuchar and Daniel Berger; DPWT stars, Tom McKibbin, Sam Bairstow and Matteo Manassero; and the leading player on the Korn Ferry Tour this year, Tim Widing.

SELECTIONS

Market leaders: Scottie Scheffler 3/1, Rory McIlroy 9/1, Xander Schauffele 12/1, Collin Morikawa 14/1, Bryson DeChambeau 16/1, Viktor Hovland 16/1

*You can check out the latest US Open 2024 Golf Odds over on betfred.com

Scottie Scheffler’s form makes him the clear favourite again and it’s hard to envisage him not being at the business end of the leaderboard this week. Though the US Open can often be the most unpredictable of majors, and with plenty of luck needed on a setup that will prove ultra-penal for only minor mistakes, a 3/1 shot holds very little interest, and it’s a similar story for Rory at 9s.

Xander Schauffele has the game to contend just about anywhere and we may see the major championship floodgates starting to open after his win at the PGA Championship, whilst Collin Morikawa has been in excellent form for weeks and is starting to get back to his best in approach.

Bryson DeChambeau also held some interest after recent major displays, but I’d just worry about his chipping around this setup, indeed it was this main flaw that stopped his quality performance at Augusta turning into a serious contending display.

However, just behind these market leaders is a multiple US Open champion who has started to hit form this year, and with a 4th-place finish at Pinehurst to his name from 2014, I’m taking Brooks Koepka to join that exclusive list of three-time US Open winners this week.

Brooks Koepka

After his terrific performances in each of the first two majors last year, as he finished 2nd at Augusta and then won the PGA Championship at Oak Hill – another Ross design - many were expecting Koepka to be a real feature in our opening two majors of 2024.

The problem with this is that prior to both of those performances last year, he had shown promise in his starts on LIV in the build-up, whereas this year he’d largely struggled for form on the circuit before Augusta. Which led to that underwhelming 45th-place finish, where he performed poorly tee-to-green.

Koepka immediately followed that result with a 9th-place finish at LIV Adelaide and then a win in LIV Singapore. These improved performances translated to the PGA Championship, where he finished 26th due to a much improved tee-to-green display and could’ve finished even higher if it wasn’t for a disappointing 74 in round three. With a 9th-place finish in LIV Houston last week, the promising displays keep coming and he looks a player now primed for major contention.

His major credentials are clearly on show with three PGA Championships and two US Opens to his name. He has won them in a variety of ways, going low to win the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills and the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive with a -16 winning score, whilst he also handled tough conditions better than everyone in the 2018 US Open at the similarly-firm Shinnecock Hills, winning with a score of +1.

Koepka’s professional debut in the US Open came here in 2014, where he finished a hugely impressive 4th behind Martin Kaymer. His excellent record at Augusta, where he’s twice finished 2nd, should serve him well here, and with a top-5 in Houston and a top-10 at St Andrews, he looks to have a great chance of climbing to 12th on the all-time majors list with what would be a sixth success this week.

Cameron Smith

Despite not firing on his last two starts, Cameron Smith finished 6th at Augusta just five starts ago and with Pinehurst carrying some similarities to the Sandbelt at home in Australia, I’m expecting this elite short-game player to be a fine fit for this week’s US Open venue.

Smith had looked solid in the early part of the year on LIV, including finishing runner-up in Hong Kong in March. He carried this form over into The Masters with that 6th-place finish, where unsurprisingly ranked better than anyone with both areas of the short-game combined, ranking 2nd around-the-greens and 4th in putting.

He finished 2nd in Singapore two starts following that but didn’t fire in the PGA Championship, finishing 63rd (though he did lead the field around-the-greens) and we’ll also have to forgive a very poor 48th in LIV Houston last week.

The Aussie is making his debut at Pinehurst but he should feel very comfortable in his surrounds. Many of his compatriots from both the men and women’s US Opens in 2014 commented on how the firm, fast and sandy conditions here reminded them of the Melbourne Sandbelt. Indeed, it’s something Smith himself spoke of before last year’s US Open at Los Angeles Country Club, where he eventually finished 4th and he’s also alluded to the fast and firm greens in that part of the world as a reason to why he enjoys Augusta so much, a place where he has recorded finishes of 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th.

Smith also finished 4th in the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay, another fast and firm course, and with his solo major championship victory to date coming in the 2022 Open Championship at St Andrews, he has plenty in his favour to produce a strong showing this week.

Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama looked good across the bag when finishing 8th in the Memorial Tournament last week. Possessing one of the most appealing all-round statistical profiles for this challenge, I’m taking him to keep that going this week in North Carolina.

Matsuyama was all the rage for our first major of the year at Augusta, which came following a run of form that started with a superb come-from-behind win at the Genesis Invitational.

He ultimately underwhelmed there, finishing 38th and again failed to threaten the leaders at the PGA Championship, finishing 35th. Though there was little to be concerned about in each of those performances and with his 8th in last week’s Memorial a great result following a three-week break, he should be ready to perform this week.

Hideki is 3rd tee-to-green this season and ranks 6th in total strokes-gained. He’s especially excelling around-the-greens, ranking 1st and compliments it with a ranking of 19th in approach, where his long irons have looked good all season, ranking 22nd from 175-200 yards and 30th from 200yds+. As the 13th-ranked player in bogey avoidance, as well as ranking top-40 in par 4 scoring and top-50 off-the-tee, his tee-to-green stats are promising for this test.

Matsuyama made just his second US Open start here in 2014, finishing 35th and has since recorded two top-5s in the event, in 2017 and 2022. As a winner of The Masters and possessing top-3 finishes at the Houston Open and Wyndham Championship, his comp form stacks up nicely and completes a strong case for the Japanese star to win his second major title on Sunday.

Will Zalatoris

There were plenty of positives about Will Zaltoris’ performance at Muirfield Village last week, before a final-round 79 sent him tumbling down the leaderboard into 41st place. He has proven to be somewhat of a major specialist throughout his short career so far and can produce another standout showing this week.

Zalatoris was in electric form earlier in the year, finishing 2nd at Riviera and 4th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He then replicated this level of form to produce a third consecutive top-10 at Augusta, though has been less impressive in recent starts.

Having said that, there has been nothing too alarming about his performances and he did everything well at some point last week, finishing the event ranking 3rd around-the-greens, and I’m hoping he can put that all together this week.

In typical fashion, he has hit the ball well for much of this year but when the struggles have come, they’ve been with the short game. Although, as someone who has proven able to continually play well around the putting surfaces at Augusta, I’m confident he has the ability to master the green surrounds at Pinehurst.

Zalatoris will make his pro debut here this week. Though as a player with seven top-10s to his name in just 12 major starts, including runner-up finishes at Augusta, the PGA Championship and in this event at Brookline in 2022, he knows how to up it for these biggest tournaments and is attractively priced to do so again this week.

Russell Henley

My final two players will be giving up some distance to many in the field but I’m hoping they can compensate for that with their superb short games and iron play.

Russell Henley had been one of the most improved iron players on tour in recent years. Although he is not quite matching the level of the previous three seasons in 2024, he is still hitting them perfectly well and is compensating for that slight downgrade with a return to the level of putting he displayed when first bursting onto the scene. With a tasty short game and rarely finding trouble off-the-tee, he has many assets that will be needed at Pinehurst.

Henley has been consistently strong throughout 2024. He’s missed just one cut in 13 starts and recorded seven top-25s, including bests of 4th in the Sony Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Texas Open. He enters this week after another solid effort of 27th at Muirfield Village last week, where his admirable all-round game was again on show.

He ranks 13th on tour in strokes-gained total this season and is also 27th tee-to-green. He’s been at his best around-the-greens, ranking 21st but also ranks 4th in 3-putt avoidance, 23rd in bogey avoidance, 35th in putting and 36th in approach, and whilst lacking the power for his driver to be a real strength, he does rank 5th in driving accuracy. A skillset which sets him up for a good week in North Carolina.

Henley was 60th here back in 2014, though many of his best major performances have come over recent years. He overcame his distance disadvantage to finish 4th at Augusta last year – his best major finish – and his two best showings in the US Open have come in the last three years, finishing 13th in 2021 and 14th last year.

A good record at the Ross-designed Sedgefield Country Club includes a runner-up finish last year and he’s also finished top-10 in Houston. With much to be encouraged by, this constantly-performing player can follow in the footsteps of the last five US Open winners to turn himself into a major champion this week.

Brian Harman

It’s less than 12 months ago since Brian Harman dominated the field in The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. With his irons starting to fire and rediscovering some accuracy with the driver last week, this short-game specialist looks a big price to contend at Pinehurst.

Harman has missed just two cuts in 16 starts this year and has recorded seven top-25s, the best of which was a 2nd-place finish behind Scottie Scheffler in THE PLAYERS Championship.

He’d been strong in approach recently, gaining strokes in his three starts prior to last week’s Memorial Tournament and hit them well again there over the opening three rounds, before what I’m hoping will turn out to be an anomalous round in round four, where he lost just shy of four strokes with the clubs.

He ranks 25th on tour in strokes-gained total this year, and is top-40 in par 4 scoring and a solid 55th in bogey avoidance. The putter has been the standout, ranking 28th, whilst he’s also 7th in 3-putt avoidance. He’s very tidy around the greens, with his overall scrambling numbers dragged down by his scrambling from the rough – something that he won’t have to worry about this week – and with the long irons looking encouraging, ranking 44th from 175-200 yards, he has the type of solid all-round game that will be needed this week.

Prior to his six-stroke win in last year’s Open Championship, Harman’s previous best major performance had come when 2nd in this event at Erin Hills in 2017. He also finished 6th at St Andrews in 2022 and has several top-6s in the Wyndham Championship, whilst his last U.S win came in North Carolina in the Wells Fargo Championship at Eagle Point Golf Club in 2017 – another flat course with wide fairways and tricky, fast undulating greens.

You can find all Jamie's latest Golf Betting Tips over on our dedicated golf Insights hub.

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