John Minchillo/Associated Press
Brooks Koepka would almost certainly have entered this week’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot as one of the top favorites in a loaded field.
Koepka has won two of the last three U.S. Open titles, including back-to-back victories in 2017 and 2018. He was also the runner-up at last year’s tournament at Pebble Beach after posting a 68 in each of the final two rounds.
The four-time major champion has been one of the steadiest and most reliable competitors on golf’s biggest stages, and he seemed primed to add to his trophy case at Winged Foot. Only, Koepka will not be on the course this week.
Koepka announced he was withdrawing from this year’s U.S. Open due to a purported injury, robbing the field of one of its top contenders.
With Koepka out of the picture, good friend and FedEx Cup winner Dustin Johnson is now the top betting favorite. Here is a closer look at Johnson’s status, as well as some of the other top favorites heading into this week.
U.S. Open Betting Odds
(All odds via DraftKings)
Dustin Johnson (+850)
Jon Rahm (+1000)
Justin Thomas (+1400)
Xander Schauffele (+1600)
Rory McIlroy (+1800)
Collin Morikawa (+2000)
Bryson DeChambeau (+2800)
Webb Simpson (+2800)
Breaking Down Top Favorites at Winged Foot
John Bazemore/Associated Press
There is no question Johnson has earned his status as the 2020 PGA Tour Player of the Year.
Johnson has three wins and a pair of runner-up finishes this season. He has finished second or better in each of his last four outings, including a T2-finish at the PGA Championship last month.
The 2016 U.S. Open champion snuffed out any hope he would be caught in the Tour Championship by posting a 64 in the third round, with a final-round 68 giving him the first FedEx Cup of his career.
Now, Johnson begins his quest for his second major.
Winged Foot would seem to set up well for D.J. He ranks 10th in driving distance and ninth in strokes gained tee-to-green. Johnson also ranks first in eagle average, seventh in birdie average and eighth in scoring average.
But renewed confidence and a steely mentality has been Johnson’s biggest weapon this season.
Johnson nearly won the BMW Championship after holing a sensational birdie putt on the 72nd hole, losing in a playoff only after Jon Rahm made a stunning putt of his own. Rahm caught Johnson at the Tour Championship just one week later, but D.J. would not be denied this time around.
When Johnson is in a groove, he is nearly impossible to beat. A confident D.J. will head into this week hoping to add another U.S. Open title to his resume.
John Bazemore/Associated Press
Rahm might very well have been the Tour Player of the Year had he managed to stay hot at the Tour Championship.
The Spaniard has two wins to go along with a runner-up finish and a third-place finish, but his wins stand out among the rest.
Rahm won the Memorial Tournament and BMW Championship, two tournaments played under the hardest of conditions both in terms of course layout and weather conditions. This would seem to give him an opportunity to win in just about any tournament.
Like Johnson, Rahm is a big hitter: he ranks 22nd in driving distance. But Rahm has had more success finding fairways, ranking 56th in driving accuracy and fourth in strokes gained off the tee. Rahm’s overall steadiness has also resulted in him leading the tour in total strokes gained.
Can Rahm get off to a better start at Winged Foot? He finished T13 at the PGA Championship, but he was just -1 entering the weekend.
Rahm has the firepower and the game to capture his first major this week. Whether he can post a good score in the first round might determine his chances for the rest of the tournament.
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
Are the oddsmakers continuing to sleep on Morikawa?
The 23-year-old has been a dynamo in his second year as a professional, finishing sixth in the FedEx Cup standings and winning the PGA Championship after shooting -11 on the weekend.
Morikawa is hardly a prolific driver of the golf ball, but he ranks 31st in driving accuracy. He also ranks fifth in eagle average and 29th in birdie average. Moreover, the Los Angeles native is one of the best iron players in the game, ranking second in strokes gained from approach.
The determinant will be the putter.
Morikawa ranks just 128th in strokes gained putting and 131st in three-putt avoidance. He also ranks 188th in putts made between 15 and 20 feet.
Still, the U.S. Open is about precise shot-making particularly when approaching greens, and Morikawa’s ability to dial it in with his irons might help him win his second consecutive major.
All stats obtained via PGATour.com, unless otherwise noted.