By Lawrence Donegan | U.S. Open betting
Merion Golf Club, host venue for this week’s U.S. Open, is historic and it is beautiful. A strategic gem, you could say, which had produced some great Major champions down the years, from Ben Hogan to Lee Trevino. But at 6,996 yards it is short.
In strictly golfing terms this is worrying. No-one who values the history of the sport, and stature of these lovely old courses, wants to see Merion humiliated by scoring akin to the Bob Hope Classic.
Merion’s relative lack of length is also troublesome for anyone trying to pick their way through the 156-man field to find a winner. It’s a simple equation: a short course means more people have the potential to contend.
Yet where there is US Open golf there is hope for the punter.
- The brutal rough and narrow fairways should take care of that half of the field who can’t hit the ball consistently straight.
- The pressure of Major championship should take care of another quarter, which leaves us with a pool 25-30 potential winners.
- For this select bunch, the greater advantage will fall to the better wedge players as Merion calls for a disproportionate number of shots from 140 yards in.
- And the fearless putters (the greens will be lightning quick).
Finally, there is the great immeasurable called ‘aura’. A look at the history of Majors on this famous old course suggests only the very best are likely to win. No flukey winner here, only the best of the best – those with talent, those with experience, those who have won a Major championships before.
Tiger will carry a weight of money in the market and rightly so, but for those in search of a winner and some value could do a lot worse than hitch their wagon to the mercurial Phil Mickelson or the dependable Graeme McDowell. Either way you will get a run for your cash.
Lawrence Donegan is the Guardian’s former golf correspondent. He is the author of several acclaimed books which includes Four Iron in the Soul, based on his experiences caddying for tour pro Ross Drummond. In the 1980s he was a pop star. Follow him on Twitter here.