The United States Open Championship, often simply referred to as the US Open, is the annual open golf championship hosted by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and is always scheduled to take place in mid-June.

The tournament, which brings some of the best players in the world together for a thrilling competition, culminates each year on the third Sunday of June with a highly anticipated final round.

For 2024, the event will take place at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina, with the first round scheduled to begin on Thursday, June 13. The best golfers in the world will continue to battle it out until the final round on Sunday, June 16.

Known for its difficulty due to the different challenging courses used that prioritise accurate driving over scoring, 156 players are all hoping to win a share of the largest purse of all four major championships, which stands at $20 million.

Betting on the US Open

For us mere mortals watching at home who have no shot at winning $20 million, we can take some consolation in the fact that golf odds tend to be much better than for many other sports.

The primary reason is that so many bookmakers extend the places to the first ten, which means if you back a particular player each way and he finishes in one of the top ten spots overall, you will win your bet.

This is generally available in the Outright Winner market, and given that there are so many players in decent form, it’s a solid way to minimise the risk when making a bet.

After all, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, and Bryson DeChambeau have already notched up major championships, and any of them could also take the US Open.

Scheffler is, unsurprisingly, the favourite, but with top players on odds as long as 25/1, there’s plenty of value in the market.

Of course, there are plenty of other types of golf bets, including match betting, where two golfers are pitted against each other, and the bettor predicts which golfer will finish the tournament with the lower score.

You can also look at proposition bets that can include things like predicting whether there will be a hole-in-one, betting on the winner’s nationality, or wagering on the tournament’s lowest round.

Whichever option you decide to go for, do a bit of research to give yourself the best chance at a winning outcome.

US Open Golf Qualification

As of Monday, June 10, the US Open field is complete, with all 156 places allocated.

But how do players qualify, and can anybody play in the tournament? Actually, while most players are professionals, the event was designed so that any golfer with a USGA Handicap Index that does not exceed 1.4 could technically enter.

Unsurprisingly, that meant the USGA accepted more than 10,000 entries for 2024, so whittling them all down has proved to be a lengthy process.

Because of that, there are various routes through which players can qualify or be granted an exemption.

Exemptions are granted to players who have won the US Open, finished in the top 10 at last year’s US Open, won the US Senior Open Championship, won the US Amateur, or achieved certain other accomplishments such as winning another major championship in the last five years or being ranked in the top 60 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Qualifying rounds occur at various sites around the US and consist of two rounds, 36 holes in total.

The top seven players from each qualifying round earn their places at the U.S. Open.

Additionally, 45 invitations are given out to players who have not qualified through a qualifying round.

Can an Underdog Really Win?

Anything is possible in golf and that extends to who can win the US Open. Sure, it’s hard to see how anybody can really beat Scottie Scheffler given how the man can’t seem to miss but even the world number one can have an off day.

Over the years, several underdogs have defied expectations and won the US Open at long odds. Some notable examples include:

Jack Fleck (1955)

Jack Fleck’s victory over Ben Hogan in a playoff at the Olympic Club in San Francisco is one of the biggest upsets in golf history.

Fleck, a relatively unknown club professional, defeated the heavily favoured Hogan, who already had four US Open titles to his name.

Orville Moody (1969)

Orville Moody was a former U.S. Army Sergeant who turned pro at the age of 34. Entering the 1969 US Open at the Champions Golf Club in Houston, he was ranked 364th globally.

Despite his low ranking, Moody won the championship by one stroke, becoming the last player to win the US Open with a final round over par until 2007.

Steve Jones (1996)

Steve Jones entered the 1996 US Open at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan as a 150-1 long shot.

He had only recently returned to competitive golf after a two-year absence due to injury. Jones held off challenges from Tom Lehman and Davis Love III to win the championship by one stroke.

Michael Campbell (2005)

Pinehurst No. 2 has had a longshot champion before. In 2005, Michael Campbell was so far off the radar his odds weren’t even listed. He was ranked 80th in the world, making him the lowest-ranked player to win the US Open since Steve Jones (No. 99) in 1996.

Campbell took advantage of a surprising collapse from defending champion Retief Goosen, who seemed in complete control going into Sunday and was seeking a third US Open in five years. Campbell shot up to the top of the leaderboard after Goosen faltered early, then navigated the fast greens to an even-par finish, holding off a surging Tiger Woods at the end.

Tournament History

The US Open Golf Tournament began at Newport Golf and Country Club on October 4, 1895,  and was initiated by Canadian industrialist John Jay Hopkins.

At that time, the competition was a one-day affair with 36 holes played across two rounds. There were only 11 participants, 10 of which were professionals and one amateur.

The winner of the first US Open was a 21-year-old Englishman named Horace Rawlins, who took home a $150 cash prize and a gold medal.

In the early years, the tournament was dominated by English and Scottish golfers, who won the first 16 championships. This era of British supremacy was ended by John J. McDermott, who became the first American-born champion in 1911.

As the tournament grew in popularity, the format evolved. In 1926, the US Open expanded to a three-day event with 18 holes played daily and a cut after 36 holes.

In 1965, the tournament adopted its current four-day format with 72 holes played over four days and a cut after 36 holes.

Over the years, the US Open has been held at various golf courses throughout the United States, with a rotation of courses designed to challenge the world’s best golfers.