The third Major of the season gets underway on Thursday and there’s a familiar name at the top of the list of leading contenders for glory this year.
Rory McIlroy, winner of four Majors, including the US Open in 2011, goes into this tournament in impressive form, having won the Canadian Open at Hamilton, Ontario last week. That was his fifteenth PGA Tour title, and it was achieved in impressive style, as he improved throughout the four days, following opening rounds of 67 and 66 to finish with a 64 and a 61.
As warm-ups for a Major go, that was pretty impressive, and it follows his success at the Players Championship back in March, and his top ten finish at the US PGA two weeks ago, all of which indicates that McIlroy could be getting back to his best form. If that is the case, then there are few in the world of golf who can match him. Although his last Major came during 2014 – the year in which he won both the Open Championship and the US PGA – he has been thoroughly consistent, earning nine top-ten Major finishes in seventeen entries, as well as picking up ten Tour prizes.
And golf fans in the UK who tune in to watch this year’s US Open on SKY will be looking forward to seeing what one of golf’s modern greats can do. He will be up against a range of serious challengers, not least the double US Open champion Brooks Koepka, who won it in 2017 and 2018. He wasn’t at his best in Canada last week, but he focuses on the Majors, so we can expect him to bring his A game this week, as will Dustin Johnson, who went close in this event in 2010 and 2015 before winning it in 2016.
There is also the question of which Tiger will turn up this week. His momentous victory at Augusta was followed by a missed cut at the US PGA, but the return to Pebble Beach, where he won this event in 2000 and finished third in 2016, will be in his favour. It’s also a course that McIlroy has yet to tame, having missed the cut in two appearances at this venue, and his overall record in this event is not that impressive; in fact, aside from winning it in 2014, he only has two other top-twenty finishes, and has missed the cut in each of the last three editions.
But McIlroy’s extraordinary career to date has shown that if you’re talented enough, you can learn to win in any conditions, which, combined with his red-hot form, helps to explain why he goes into this event as the 8/1 tournament favourite. And golf fans looking for the best golf bets on the Bigbetbookmakers site will be wary of opposing the former world number one as he goes hunting for his fifth Major this week.