Dan Box
By Dan Box

It's shocking to think that we're already at the third men's major of the year, meaning that the professional golf season has already passed the halfway mark.

The fact that this week is the 123rd US Open - widely regarded as the most divisive championship in the game - seems pretty apt when you consider that it comes at one of the most divisive and uncertain times that the golfing world has ever seen.

Last week, when the announcement came that the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF had merged, the talk was that it was a move to unify the game.

Whether it works to do so remains to be seen, but for now things seem just as fractured as they were before the shocking news broke, with even new questions being asked about the state of the game going forward.

That being said, for the next week at least we can try and focus on the golf itself, as the US Open heads to Los Angeles Country Club for the first time.

Want to know how to watch the US Open on TV or online this week? Check out our handy guide HERE!

Last Year

Nine years after winning the US Amateur title at the same golf course, Matt Fitzpatrick became a major champion for the first time at Brookline.

After a near-miss at the PGA Championship a month earlier, Fitzpatrick came out on top ahead of Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris, producing one of the best shots in US Open history on the 72nd hole to ensure the victory.

Hideki Matsuyama closed with a bogey free round of 65, the lowest round of the week, to finish in fourth place, with Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa sharing a tie for fifth.

The Course

The North Course at Los Angeles Country Club (LACC) is situated in the heart of Beverly Hills, just 15 minutes from Hollywood. It was restored in 2010 before hosting the Walker Cup in 2017, which featured the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris and Robert MacIntyre.

A par 70 measuring 7,423 yards, the North is loosely a parkland course with large elevation changes amid a unique landscape which features a number of ravines and 'barrancas' throughout the course.

It features three par 5s and five par 3s, including the signature 290 yard 11th, which plays downhill and often requires a tee shot landing short of the green, and the 15th hole which can be set up to anywhere from 130 yards to less than 80, which could provide plenty of excitement.

The Field

A record 10,187 golfers tried to gain entry to the US Open via USGA Qualifying events, with 156 players set to tee it up in LA come Thursday. The top 60 in the World Rankings were automatic invites, with a number of other qualifying criteria increasing the field size so that it is now equal with the PGA Championship for the largest field in major golf.

For the first time in a while, there's another golfer who has joined the big three of Rahm, Scheffler and McIlroy at the top of the betting market. Scheffler is still the favourite, but Brooks Koepka has slotted in as the third favourite thanks to his impressive victory at the PGA Championship in May.

A number of Californians will be looking to use knowledge of their home state to record victories, including World Numbers 4 and 6 Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, as well as Collin Morikawa and Max Homa, who has won 4 of his 6 PGA Tour titles in California.

Europe's challenge will be led by McIlroy, defending champion Fitzpatrick and the in-form Viktor Hovland, who narrowly missed out on victory at the PGA Championship before coming out on top at The Memorial. With eight worldwide wins since turning pro in 2019, a major championship must be the next target for the popular Norwegian.

Golfalot Betting Tips...

  • Collin Morikawa @ 30/1

A local boy, Morikawa played at the course at the Walker Cup as an amateur and went unbeaten during the week so should return with happy memories. He's one of the best iron players in the world so should suit the US Open setup, which is all about minimising mistakes and playing the percentages.

His form this year has been a bit patchy but he did finish in the top 10 at The Masters and was in a great position heading into the final round of The Memorial before back spasms forced his withdrawal. He's already won two majors, so should know how to close out the big events if he gets in to the mix though.

  • Cam Smith @ 30/1

Hasn't really contended in the two majors since winning The Open last July, despite closing with a 65 to sneak inside the top 10 at the PGA. He is still a world-class player though and this setup could really suit his game, as proven by his solid record at Riviera.

The Australian warmed up nicely for this event with an eleventh place finish at the last LIV event so should be well rested and ready to try and win his second major title.

  • Rickie Fowler @ 66/1

2023 has been much kinder to Fowler so far as he seems to have recaptured some of his old form, and arrives on the back of top 10 finishes in his last two starts, moving him back inside the top 50 in the world.

He did miss the cut at the PGA Championship, but only narrowly, and put together three sub-70 rounds at Riviera earlier this year to finish T20 at the Genesis Invitational. He could be decent value for an each-way bet at 66/1.


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