Who’ll Win Golf’s 2018 US Open?
June is mainly about the US Open in the world of golf, and the second major of the season returns to Shinnecock Hills for the fifth time in US Open history.
However, we’re also taking a look at what happened on both the European Tour and PGA Tour in May, as well as taking a look at what other tournaments will be taking place in June. There’s also our top-50 watch, as well all the latest Ryder Cup standings as the battle heats up for places in the European and US 2018 Ryder Cup Teams.
European Tour Round-Up – May
May was a busy period on the European Tour with five tournaments. The inaugural Golf Sixes was won by Ireland, with a two-man team consisting of Gavin Moynahan and the ever-improving Paul Dunne. It was then a first European Tour win for Joakim Lagergren in the Sicilian Open before Adrian Otaegui won his second European Tour event in the first ever edition of the Belgian Knockout. Interestingly, both Otaegui’s wins have come in match play events, as his first win came in the 2017 edition of the Paul
The BMW PGA Championship then kick-started the Rolex Series and it was Francesco Molinari who put plenty of Wentworth experience to good effect to see off Rory McIlroy. Molinari then went close to a double in his native Italian Open but was pipped by one stroke by Thorbjorn Olesen.
European Schedule – June
The Shot Clock Masters (7-10 June)
The Diamond Country Club in Austria was formerly the host of the Lyonness Open. However, this year, it is hosting the one of the European Tour’s latest initiatives – The Shot Clock Masters. One of the major criticisms of professional golf in recent seasons is that the speed of play has become ridiculously slow. Therefore, during the Shot Clock Masters, every shot by every player will be timed. Any player not hitting a shot within the stated time limits will then incur a one-shot penalty for each breach of the rules. However, a player can call two time-extensions per round. It should certainly be fun to watch but, if you’re having a bet, make sure you bet on a player who likes to get on with it.
BMW International Open 21-24 (June)
This will be the thirtieth renewal of the BMW International, a tournament that currently alternates between two different courses. As it’s an even year, the 2018 renewal of the BMW International Open will be played on the Golf Club Gut Larcenhof which hosted the event in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Those three renewals were won by Henrik Stenson, Fabrizio Zanotti, and Danny Willett.
Former US Masters Champion Willett could be one to keep an eye on as, though he hasn’t shown much decent form recently, his eighth-place finish in the Italian Open suggested he might be finding the sort of form that saw him become a force in world golf two seasons ago.
PGA Tour Round-Up – May
The PGA Tour started with a bang in May as the Wells Fargo Championship returned to its familiar home of Quali Hollow Golf Club after a one-year exodus because it hosted last year’s US Open. Jason Day ran out a worthy winner to throw down the gauntlet to his fellow top-10 rivals.
However, it was Webb Simpson who turned The Players Championship into a procession after taking the lead in the second-round. His return to the winner’s enclosure ended a three-year drought. It was then the turn of one of the rising stars of the PGA Tour to snatch his first win as Aaron Wise won the AT&T Byron Nelson. He showed a cool head to hold off some big-name challengers and won in a style that suggested it would be the first win of many for the young man.
Justin Rose then produced a ball-striking masterclass to win the Fort Worth Invitational and set himself up with a chance of becoming world number one if he could win the following week’s Memorial Tournament for a second time. Rose put up a valiant effort in finishing sixth, but it was Bryson DeChambeau who won a three-man play-off to shake the hand of Jack Nicklaus.
PGA Tour Schedule – June
FedEx St. Jude Classic (7-10 June)
The FedEx St. Jude Classic takes place at TPC Southwind in Memphis and it has been won by some famous players such as Lee Trevino (3), Gary Player, Curtis Strange, Fred Couples, Nick Price (2), Greg Norman, Lee Westwood, and Dustin Johnson. However, the last two editions have been won by Daniel Berger. 28/1 was available about the Berger hat-trick at the time of writing, but the bookies were favouring the chances of former champion Dustin Johnson who they’ve chalked-up as the 7/1 favourite.
US Open (14-17 June)
The 2018 US Open will be played at Shinnecock Hills in New York, a course that has staged five previous US Opens. The first on those was back in 1896 when James Foulis won what was only the second US Open. It then didn’t return until 1986 when Ray Floyd won. Nine years later it was the turn of Corey Pavin. However, the last time the US Open was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004, when Retief Goosen conquered treacherously fast greens that frustrated and befuddled most of the world’s best golfers.
Whether we’ll see the same sort of test in 2018 is debatable, with the courses used for the most recent US Opens playing easier than some of the past venues. However, one thing that we do know for certain is that there will be no 18-hole Monday play-off is there is a tie after 72 holes. The 18-hole play-off rule, that has been used to decide 33 US Opens, has been abolished in favour of a two-hole aggregate play-off that will take place on the Sunday.
From a betting point of view, the tournament could be a thriller with the majority of the world’s best players having already recorded a win this season. That includes Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, and Justin Rose – and it’s already 12/1 the field in what could prove to be an epic event. Picking the winner is a tough call but, as he seems to have all parts of his game in excellent order, especially his short game, it could be time for Jason Day to win his second Major.
Travelers Championship (21-24 June)
The Travelers Championship has been hosted by the TPC at River Highlands since 1991. However, despite plenty of course form to look through, winners haven’t always been easy to find. Admittedly, Jordan Spieth won last year but recent winners have also included the likes of Ken Duke. One name to watch out for this year could be Bubba Watson who, having won here in both 2010 and 2015, has returned to something like his best this season.
Quicken Loans National (June 28 – July 1)
The Quicken Loans National is one of the newest tournaments on the PGA Tour, dating back to just 2014. However, the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm will be hosting the event for just the second time after it first hosted the event in 2017. That event was won by Kyle Stanley, who may be in the mood to go close gain after losing out in a three-man play-off for The Memorial Tournament.
The world’s top-50 is always the place to be for golfers who haven’t already earned exemptions from having to qualify for big tournaments – and those just outside the magic number always have obvious motivations to get back in it. Names that catch the eye, who will be looking for a big performance soon, include Brendan Steele, Luke List, Byeong Hun An, Chez Reavie, Russell Henley, Kevin Na, and Thomas Pieters.
European Ryder Cup Standings
European Points List
Another source of motivation is the 2018 Ryder Cup, with eight European players winning automatic qualification, whilst the Captain has four wildcard picks. The players in bold are currently in qualifying positions.
World Points List
US Ryder Cup Standings
The top eight players in the US Ryder Cup standings qualify automatically, with the captain having four wildcard picks.