2023 U.S. Open picks to win: Here’s who our staff is betting on at LACC
That was the pledge made last Thursday between Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose. Over the previous two days, there had been all kinds of talk after the PGA Tour-Saudi bombshell, but now it was gametime for the playing partners at the RBC Canadian Open.
It was a good thought, at least.
“Rosie and I said, all right, no chatting until lunch so that we can actually concentrate on what we’re doing out there,” McIlroy said. “We started to get in a conversation walking down the 1st and we’re like, no, let’s stop this.
“Let’s just focus on our golf and we’ll say what we want to say when we get inside.”
With that then, and as we look at prospects for this week’s U.S. Open, let’s talk McIlroy.
Specifically, after hearing what he said above, do you have faith in him? The subject du jour is only going to be bandied about more at Los Angeles Country Club. Could his golf suffer? At the Canadian Open, McIlroy finished a respectable T9, but the open directly to the south promises to be more of a beast.
To his credit, he said last Thursday golf was a welcome distraction. So maybe there’s a benefit. Still, it’s perhaps safe to say things are not clear cut. Tread carefully.
Looking for some other ideas? Friend, you’ve clicked on the right article. Members of our staff have each made a to-win bet (only one has picked McIlroy). The hope is, of course, we help you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league, or (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook.
On to our picks.
2023 U.S. Open picks to win
To-win: Brooks Koepka, +1,100. Ever since his return to good health, Brooks has been a force at majors, capped off by his win at the PGA Championship. With more rest leading up to the U.S. Open and already a two-time winner of the event, he comes away with his sixth major and cements himself as the best major golfer of his generation.
To-win: Brooks Koepka, +1,100. It’s hard to bet against him at this point! The guy loves tough, U.S. Open-like courses, and this is, after all, a U.S. Open. You know he has that swagger back now, too, and a confident (and healthy) Brooks Koepka during the middle of a major season is bad news for everyone else.
To-win: Rory McIlroy, +1,100. I can see it now: Rory McIlroy wins the U.S. Open by three strokes, and in his post-tournament presser, he summarily (and literally) flips the bird at the Tour establishment for the past 18 months. “Hey Jay, thanks for the motivation,” he says with a snide smirk as he lifts the trophy. (Is this likely to happen? Almost certainly not. But a man can dream.)
To-win: Xander Schauffele, +2,000. I don’t think I’ve quite picked Xander to win a major 20 times yet, which means this week, I’ll finally turn a lifetime profit. Also, this dude has to win a U.S. Open at some point. Since his debut in 2017 his results are T5-T6-T2-5-T7-T14. It’s time.
To-win: Tony Finau, +2,800. I don’t really have a go-to reason for choosing Finau to win his first major, other than sheer gut instinct. I know, I know, he hasn’t necessarily performed well at the first two majors this year, but what better place than vibrant, lively, sunny Los Angeles for a vibrant, lively, sunny golfer to win?
To-win: Brooks Koepka, +1,100. I’m actually really surprised he isn’t the first or even second favorite this week. In my mind, he’s the clear frontrunner. His performance in the majors thus far this year speaks for itself, but it’s also obvious that he has that intangible swagger back. Big, brawny layouts suit him, and it will be fun to watch.
To-win: Scottie Scheffler, +750. I’m not exactly going out on a limb picking the betting favorite, but it’s hard to bet against Scottie these days. He’s hitting the ball better than anyone in the world and it keeps him in contention week in and week out. If he can even figure out the putter a little bit, he’s gonna run away with the title.
To-win: Patrick Cantlay, +1,600. I want unflappable at LACC, with its barranca running throughout, and Hollywood off in the distance. Cantlay is nothing but Cali calm.
To-win: Max Homa, +2,200. With all the craziness and mixed emotions swirling right now, we could use a U.S. Open winner who is universally beloved in the golf world. Homa knows LACC and plays it well. Yes, you will hear about this a million times, as Homa is destined to be a popular pick, and rightly so. Outside of being the popular pick, I think he’s one of the few golfers who could generate some much-needed positive vibes all around at the U.S. Open.
To-win: Viktor Hovland, +1,800. It’s far too late to call Hovland a breakout star, but he has taken his game to another level this season. I’m looking for him to follow a pattern we’ve seen from other big-time talents in the run-up to their first major win — some close calls, a bit more seasoning, a prestigious win (in Hovland’s case, the Memorial). The timing seems right for his biggest victory yet.
To-win: Collin Morikawa, +2,200. I’m putting my faith in one of the most talented men on the course. The California background is helpful, too.
To-win: Jordan Spieth, +2,500. Spieth thrives on courses where grinding is a requirement — and it’s a guarantee the USGA will crank up the difficulty level at LACC. It’s the perfect course setup for a guy who’s due for another major victory.