Following his dramatic playoff victory over Denny McCarthy at the Memorial on Sunday, Viktor Hovland did not become one of the top favorites to win this year's U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club (despite Phil Mickelson's urging, which we'll elaborate on in a bit). One could have guessed that a win at Muirfield Village would have provided enough of a bump for Hovland to join the elites, but that ultimately was not the case among the oddsmakers.
Instead, Scottie Scheffler, Masters champion Jon Rahm and five-time major winner Brooks Koepka are joined at the very top by four-time major champion Rory McIlroy. Those are currently the four players with the shortest odds and make up the very top tier of favorites going to LACC.
Odds below provided via Caesars Sportsbook.
- Scottie Scheffler: 7-1
- Jon Rahm: 8-1
- Brooks Koepka: 9-1
- Rory McIlroy: 10-1
It's hard to envision the championship slipping past Scheffler, Rahm, Koepka or ... Hovland. If I'm going based purely on chances to win, I would have Hovland ahead of McIlroy here. Hovland has three consecutive top 10s in majors and is playing the best golf of his entire life by a wide margin. He's learning how to win majors, and that milestone victory is coming. That's not always how odds work, though.
The almost favorites
- Max Homa: 14-1
- Justin Thomas: 16-1
- Patrick Cantlay: 16-1
- Viktor Hovland: 18-1
- Cam Smith: 18-1
- Xander Schauffele: 18-1
The order here is odd. I understand not having Hovland as one of the top favorites -- he doesn't draw the attention of the others -- but to not even have him at the top of the second tier? That seems like a real liability given how good he's been at the majors so far.
Thirty-three golfers have made the cut at each of the first two majors of 2023. Here is the aggregate leaderboard at the halfway point.— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) May 30, 2023
And to have him alongside Cam Smith? Just for context here: Since Jan. 1, Smith is gaining 1.52 strokes per round, which is a good number, but Hovland is at 1.98. He has separated himself even from some of the other great players in the world.
The players just beyond the favorites
- Collin Morikawa: 22-1
- Jordan Spieth: 25-1
- Matt Fitzpatrick: 25-1
- Tony Finau: 25-1
- Dustin Johnson: 28-1
This is quite a group. Spieth was hurt, but isn't now. Morikawa wasn't hurt, but might be now. Fitzpatrick is the reigning U.S. Open champ. Finau has struggled at majors of late. I have no idea what to make of D.J. Bottom line: I don't think I'd touch any of them other than Fitzpatrick.
- Hideki Matsuyama: 35-1
- Shane Lowry: 35-1
- Cameron Young: 35-1
- Sungjae Im: 35-1
- Bryson DeChambeau: 40-1
- Jason Day: 40-1
- Joaquin Niemann: 50-1
- Sam Burns: 50-1
- Rickie Fowler: 50-1
There's some good value here. Matsuyama is fascinating after a few good rounds at the Memorial. I mentioned the big problem off the top, which is that it's difficult to see anyone getting past Scheffler, Rahm, Koepka AND Hovland right now. It could happen, perhaps, but it probably won't.
As for the Mickelson quip I mentioned earlier. The backstory here is that Mickelson tweeted a week ago that he hasn't gambled in a long time and he's almost a billionaire, thanks for asking. All of this was hilarious and amazing, and as Rick Gehman pointed out on Sunday, Mickelson may not be gambling because he's apparently setting lines now.
When Viktor Hovland turned pro he was a solid player. He has since worked hard on his game,increased his club head speed a lot,improved his putting and chipping immensely and is now one of the best in the game.After this win and his play in PGA,he’s a/the favorite to win US open.— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) June 4, 2023
Oddsmakers haven't listened ... yet. Though it will be interesting to see if Hovland does sneak into that top group of favorites with the U.S. Open just over a week away.
Who will win the U.S. Open, and which longshots will stun the golfing world? Visit SportsLine to see the projected U.S. Open leaderboard, all from the model that's nailed nine golf majors, including this year's Masters.