Paddy Power is paying ten whole places for the U.S. Open, and while this stops short of my recommendation – I wanted them to pay 150 places so I could finally cash a winning bet on my boy Rhett Rasmussen (1,000/1) – it’s still pretty sweet.
It also means you can take some chances. Sure, Dustin Johnson is probably going to be near the top of the leaderboard, and yes, Jason Day and Justin Rose look to be in top form.
But what fun is that?
If you’re getting ten places, that means you can take some risks, and as someone who is constantly watching the mid-to-lower parts of PGA and European leaderboards in an effort to find the next surprise fantasy stud, I’m just the man to advise you.
If you want to have some fun with your Shinnecock wagers, here are some outsiders that could easily creep into the top 10 and deliver you the riches you so richly deserve. Starting with:
Rhett Rasmussen — This guy has it all. A first name that starts with R, a last name that starts with R, and…nope, I can’t do it. Don’t bet on this guy. This is a joke.
He probably won his spot by calling into a radio show. Please ignore!
Here are your actual outside contenders:
1: Francesco Molinari – 50/1
Hmmm, the 18th-ranked player in the world, who just won the European Tour’s flagship event and finished second at the Italian Open, is coming in at 50/1 odds? Yes please.
2: Bryson DeChambeau – 35/1
This isn’t the longest of long shots, but DeChambeau remains a steal at 35/1. It’s easy to think of DeChambeau as a nerdy scientific clinician (that description is half true, and will serve him well at Shinnecock), but he’s also the 25th-longest driver on the PGA Tour this year. Bubba Watson’s caddie, Ted Scott, believes long hitters will prevail here, and nobody except possibly Dustin Johnson has been playing better. Since mid-May, DeChambeau has finished top 10 in four of seven tournaments. Expect him to do the same here.
3: Bubba Watson – 66/1
How quickly we forget the early season! Bubba won at Riviera, won the Match Play, and finished fifth at the Masters. He’s long, he’s confident, his caddie thinks he can win, and I am absolutely salivating at those 66/1 odds.
4: Tony Finau – 66/1
One of my favourite things to do is to look up the FedExCup leaderboard and find the highest guy who has not yet won an event. You get a metric f***-ton of points for actually winning, so you know the guy who is still near the top without getting that ‘W’ has been playing some incredibly steady, incredibly consistent golf. This year, that spot goes to Tony Finau at no.12. The stats bear it out—top 10s everywhere, and oh by the way, he’s the second-longest driver on the PGA Tour!
5: Kyle Stanley – 80/1
I get it, this is not a sexy pick. He’s one of those PGA Tour journeymen types, and even his name is boring. But every year, there’s one guy like this who just lights it up (call it The Kevin Kisner Rule), and this year’s guy is Stanley. He’s been lurking around the top 25 at almost every tournament he enters, and he had his best finish two weeks ago at the Memorial, a tie for second. He’s good money at 80/1, and this will easily be his best major finish ever. Plus, you and I both know that every U.S. Open leaderboard is littered with Americans—on home soil, default to the Yanks.
6: Rafa Cabrera Bello – 90/1
90/1?? How?? Let me give you the list of Bello’s finishes at majors, WGC stroke plays, Players Championships, and BMW PGA Championships the last two years. Ahem: 8, 38, 3, 5, MC, 72, 4, 42, 4, MC, 17, 38, 19. That’s two missed cuts (one of them in his maiden voyage at Augusta, which doesn’t even count), and five top 10 finishes in 13 events. He can absolutely play with the best in the world, and he’s coming off two straight top 10s. Pick the man!
7: Thorbjorn Olesen – 125/1
I acquired him for my fantasy team just for the US Open, and it made me feel like some kind of scouting genius. Thorbjorn has not been the most consistent golfer in the world of late, but he just won the Italian Open, and he has two top 10s in past Majors. This is a very dark horse, but you know there’s going to be a sneaky European in the mix somewhere, and Olesen’s my guy.
8: Chesson Hadley – 150/1
If I were permitted just one bet under the “paying 10 places” system, I think this might be it. Granted, I’m a lover of long shots and unlikely glory, but I’m enamoured with Hadley. Since April 1, he’s made eight straight cuts (with two top tens and six top 20s), fought his way to 16th on the FedExCup list, and been an absolute assassin with the irons. Think that might come in handy on fast U.S. Open greens? Also, this doesn’t matter, but he’s easily the funniest American golfer (low bar, I know). Chesson is the man!
9: Trey Mullinax – 200/1
Longest driver on the PGA Tour! Coming off a very impressive sixth-place finish at the St. Jude! Three top 10s this season! If you want to delve into the 200/1 and beyond zone, you won’t find a better pick than Mullinax. His length off the tee alone makes him a viable longshot at Shinnecock.
10: Harold Varner III – 300/1
What would this list be without one insane longshot? Among the 250/1+ crowd, my favorite pick is Varner at 300/1. Is he inconsistent? Yes. Is he pretty rough with the flat stick? Yes. Does he have much major experience? No. But did he finish seventh at the Players Championship against the toughest field in golf? Yes, Yes he did. If you want to put a few quid on a guy to sneak a backdoor top 10, you can’t go wrong with Warner.