The phrase "go hard or go home" would appear to suit the Englishman when he takes on the U.S. Open because he's now a veteran of 12 championships and every time he has made the cut (six times) he's reaped a top 30 finish, with three top tens including his famous victory at Merion in 2013.
The big question for golf betting fans is should we read much into his missed cut at Shinnecock Hills in 2004? I think not. It's a small sample size and he finished T10th at Oakmont in 2007 before failing to make the weekend at the same layout nine years later, so there's not much to take note of there.
What strikes me as more relevant is something that Justin Rose said two years ago about the tournament, when referring to its recent inaugural visits:
“I think I probably prefer the more traditional venues, just because there is a lot of history involved in those, because you can remember what other great champions have done in the past.”
He ought, therefore, to be keen of this week's test and his Twitter backs that up because in response to his scouting visit he wrote two words: “Just wow.”
Moreover only last month he claimed victory in the Fort Worth Invitational at the Colonial Country Club and was quick to return to that same theme, pointing out how pleased he was to add another success on a traditional track.
It was also his fourth win in his last 16 worldwide starts, a run that includes chasing down a rampant Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Champions event. He's very hungry for more major championship success and can be backed at 16/1 in Bet365's outright market or at 6/4 with Coral to end the week as Top Englishman.
Some will have witnessed Fowler pull up short of victory in the Masters and conclude it is very much of a theme with his major championship record (he has nine top tens in 33 starts, three of them in his last four).
I prefer to note that he played exceptionally well on that final day at Augusta National and only Patrick Reed's excellence kept him from finally claiming a big one. Moreover he talked ahead of Augusta of his major blueprint.
“Its a mental game and I'm getting dialled in,” he said and he really ought to see what happened next as confirmation that he is getting closer rather than any continuation of the dreaded what-if pattern.
He enters the week a little under the radar with no huge standout big result to garner attention, instead a handy T14th in the Fort Worth and T8th in the Memorial. Furthermore, although he once had his problems in the U.S. Open (who doesn't?), in recent times he has got to grips with the challenge, notching three top tens in his last five starts. If you're interested, he's available to back outright with William Hill at 20/1 or as Top American with Bet365 at 12/1.
Twelve months ago the 24-year-old American was a Web.com graduate who had made just one top ten in 17 PGA starts. He was not just a struggling main tour rookie, but a total novice in the majors and, to many, a complete unknown.
Whereupon he shot a first round 66 to lie T2nd after 18 holes at Erin Hills and hung around all week to post T5th. Within a few weeks he had recorded a first PGA win, shot a final round 65 to finish T20th in his Open Championship debut and then added T13th on his WGC bow at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Anyone thinking that his speedy rise to the very top of the game was a brief mirage was soon persuaded otherwise when he won the Tour Championship in assured style, holding off a concerted challenge from Justin Thomas. His capacity for outrageous first-time performances was further underlined when he was T2nd in last week's PLAYERS Championship in Florida.
Of course this week he will not (perhaps unfortunately) be a first-timer in the tournament, but clearly this is not a golfer who will be thrown by his introduction to a new challenge, which plenty others definitely will be at Shinnecock Hills.
His flare for the big occasion also appeals and is enough for me to overlook his back-to-back missed cuts. Ranked 26th in the world, he makes real appeal in the top ten market and can be backed at 9/1 with Unibet. An attractive alternative is to support him at 55/1 in the Top American market at the best online bookmakers.
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