US Open Longshots: Breaking Down Odds, Previous Underdogs, & Past Leaderboards

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Golf’s toughest test happens this week. The US Open is generally regarded as the most challenging of the four major tournaments.

As we look ahead to the first tee time on Thursday, Scottie Scheffler is the clear betting favorite to win. However, favorites are far from a sure thing at this event. 

Just last year, Wyndham Clark was a relative unknown when the tournament teed off. A few days later, he was celebrating a stunning victory. When examining this year’s field, it may be tough to envision another longshot breaking through. As past US Opens have demonstrated, though, it’s not out of the question.   

Scheffler favored to win, but do any long shots have a chance?

Over 150 golfers are set to descend on Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina for the 2024 US Open. Scheffler is the overwhelming favorite in US Open odds. Just seven other golfers have odds of +3000 or less to win it all at top golf betting sites, leaving plenty of longshot options for bettors to consider.   

Wyndham Clark

It has been an up-and-down 2024 season for the defending US Open champion. In 13 events, he has a victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Championship and three top-five finishes. He has also missed the cut four times, including at both the Masters and PGA Championship. Last week, he failed to advance to weekend play after carding a +5 in the first two rounds of the Memorial Tournament.

Jordan Spieth

Spieth is a former US Open champion, winning it all in 2015. In eight attempts since then, he has just one top-20 finish and has missed the cut three times. Spieth’s last PGA Tour win came at the 2022 edition of the RBC Heritage. For 15 events in 2024, a third-place finish at the Sentry marks his best performance. Spieth has missed the cut five times and was also disqualified at the Genesis Invitational for signing an incorrect scorecard.   

Dustin Johnson

Johnson has won two majors: the 2020 Masters and the 2016 US Open. He has made the cut in each of his last five US Open appearances, finishing in the top 20 three times. Johnson has been spending his time on the LIV Golf Tour, with one win and two top-10 finishes at eight events in 2024. He was in the field for this season’s first two majors, missing the cut at the Masters and finishing in a tie for 43rd at the PGA Championship.  

Clark won the 2023 US Open at 70-1

The 2023 US Open took place at the Los Angeles Country Club. Ahead of the tournament, Clark’s odds to win stood at +7000. He was the 29th option on the odds board and not being viewed as much of a threat to win. 

After he posted an opening round score of 64, a -6 on the par-70 course, the sentiment shifted. Clark was just two strokes behind co-leaders Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele. He kept pace on day two and had second place to himself when the round closed. 

The surge continued. He closed out Saturday in a tie with Fowler atop the leaderboard. The longshot suddenly found himself in the final pairing for the last round of play. He closed round four at even par to finish at -10, a stroke ahead of Rory McIlroy to claim a stunning win. 

At the end of 2022, Clark was ranked 163rd in the Official World Golf Ranking. For the 2022-23 season, he appeared in 20 tour stops prior to the US Open. He had one win and four top-10 finishes over that span, and he missed three cuts. 

His upward trajectory began a month before his major win when he won the Wells Fargo Championship, his first PGA Tour victory. A missed cut at the PGA Championship followed, but he bounced back with a tie for 12th at the Memorial, the last event before the US Open.

Clark closed out 2023 in 10th place in the OWGR. He currently holds down the fourth spot as we get set for this year’s US Open, behind only Scheffler, Schauffele, and McIlroy, three of the pre-tournament favorites.  

Last year’s leaderboard featured several longshots 

Heading into last year’s US Open, Scheffler was the favorite at +650, followed by Jon Rahm at +800 and Brooks Koepka at +850. Two members of that group made it into the final top 10, which totaled 13 golfers including ties. 

A number of longshots managed to break through. Of the 13 members of the group, six had pre-tournament odds of +3000 or less, including two of the overall favorites. Meanwhile, the other seven golfers in the top 10 had initial odds to win of +4500 or greater.  

PlaceGolferTo-par scorePre-tournament odds
1Wyndham Clark -10+7000
2Rory McIlroy-9+1100
3Scottie Scheffler-7+650
4Cameron Smith-6+2500
T5Tommy Fleetwood-5+4500
T5Rickie Fowler-5+5000
T5Min Woo Lee-5+15000
T8Harris English-4+15000
T8Tom Kim-4+8500
T10Austin Eckroat-3+20000
T10Dustin Johnson-3+2800
T10Jon Rahm-3+800
T10Xander Schauffele-3+1800

Are favorites the safer bet? 

If we focused solely on 2023, the numbers suggest that pre-tournament US Open favorites have a solid chance of finishing in the top 10 when all is said and done. Has it been the same story over a longer time frame? 

2022 US Open 

Matthew Fitzpatrick won the 2022 US Open at -6, a stroke ahead of Scheffler. Pre-tourney favorite McIlroy finished in a tie for fifth. Rahm settled for a tie for 12th, with Thomas finishing in a tie for 37th. In advance of the event, Fitzpatrick was tied for seventh on the odds board at +2200. 

2021 US Open 

Pre-tournament favorite Rahm delivered, taking down the US Open at -6, a stroke ahead of second-place finisher Louis Oosthuizen. Johnson tied for 19th at +2, and DeChambeau posted a score of +3, tied for 26th place. 

2020 US Open 

It was another slight surprise atop the board. Bryson DeChambeau won it all at -6, easily outpacing second-place finisher Matthew Wolff, who finished at even par. Johnson, Thomas, and Schauffele all finished in the top 10, with Rahm landing in a tie for 23rd place. DeChambeau was the eighth option on the board in advance of the event at odds of +2800. 

Looking back at US Open underdogs 

Underdogs breaking through at the US Open is not a new phenomenon. From 2000 to the present, there have been a number of surprising winners.  

Interestingly, there was a longshot winner the last time the US Open took place at Pinehurst. Kaymer carded a -9 to lap the field, with Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler tied for second place at -1. The course played as a par 70 over 7,562 yards. This year, the US Open course is set at 7,548 yards and par 70.

Photo by Associated Press