The US Open heads to former Ryder Cup venue, The Country Club at Brookline, and Dave Tindall is back with his antepost betting tips on the third major of 2022 here...
"He's a massive talent and is already in the top 12 in the world rankings after a two-win season in 2020/21."
The 2022 US Open
The Country Club, Brookline
All four days live on Sky Sports
While Steve Rawlings recharges the batteries, I've been given the task this year of looking into the crystal ball in search of some early bets for the Majors.
For the US Open I'll be referring to my annual trends piece.
Last year, winner Jon Rahm was mighty close to selection but probably failed on a technicality. The Spaniard fitted many key trends including being aged 35 or under and ranked in the world's top 25.
What he didn't have was a top three that season although surely he would have got that at Memorial when he had to withdraw due to a positive Covid test when leading by six after 54 holes.
Being European also slightly went against him as the previous six US Opens had been won by Americans, most of those big hitters.
Once again, a younger player in the world's top 25 with a bit of US Open experience is still a good starting point.
The Country Club at Brookline is most memorable for the incredible US fightback in the 1999 Ryder Cup. "I'm a big believer in fate... I have a good feeling about this," said American skipper Ben Crenshaw on the eve of the singles and they proved prophetic words as the home side rallied from 10-6 down to win 14½ to 13½.
European fans also recall the American stampede onto the 17th green after Justin Leonard holed a bomb for birdie. Jose Maria Olazabal still had a putt for the half so it wasn't a good look.
There are some better European memories though as Matt Fitzpatrick won the 2013 US Amateur there after beating Aussie Oliver Goss in the final. The Sheffield golfer had beaten Corey Conners in the semis. Conners, himself, had downed Bryson DeChambeau in round two (last 32).
As for the course, here's what the Boston Globe said in October: "The 2022 US Open will include 14½ holes from the main course (the Clyde and Squirrel 9s) and 3½ holes from the Primrose 9. The course will measure 7,264 yards and play 35-35-70.
"The rough will be unforgiving, as is customary in USGA events. The first cut will be 1½ inches, some holes will have a second cut at 3 inches, and the deep rough will be 5 inches. Around the greens, the rough will be only 1½ and 5 inches.
In the same article, Jeff Hall, championship director for the USGA, says: "The thought is to put some level of premium on driving the golf ball in the fairway, controlling your golf ball up around the greens. It's an important element of the overall test of the US Open."
Wolff ready to win at Brookline
Using all the above trends and info, I want a big-hitting young American with talent around the greens.
Strictly they should be in the world's top 25 but I'm willing to bet that Matthew Wolff will be when the 2022 US Open comes around.
The 22-year-old (is he still really that young?!) is currently 31st but he's been as high as 12th. He achieved that ranking in 2020 when finishing runner-up to Bryson DeChambeau in the US Open at Winged Foot after leading by two with a round to play and following it with another second place at the Shriners.
Wolff's debut in the majors came in the US PGA that year and he made a run at the title there too after a brilliant closing round. He eventually finished tied fourth after a Sunday 65.
After some mental health issues which coincided with a DQ from Augusta, he found his mojo again at the 2021 US Open. Wolff was third at halfway, sixth after 54 holes and eventually finished tied 15th.
It's fair to say that he's taken to the majors like a duck to water and after being prominent on the leaderboard at his first two US Opens, I'll back him to make another big impression at Brookline.
Wolff ended 2021 by finishing runner-up in the Shriners, fifth at Mayakoba and 11th in the Houston Open so he's dropped plenty of hints that 2022 could be a huge year for him.
Back him at 66/1 each-way (six places) in the knowledge that, as a popular pick with punters when in form, those odds could be cut to below 50s with some more big shows in the first half of 2022.
Burns can heat it up at Brookline
I've already put Sam Burns up as an ante-post pick for the US PGA Championship.
And at the same price, 66/1, I have to back him here for all the same reasons.
In short, he's a massive talent and is already in the top 12 in the world rankings after a two-win season in 2020/21.
Hall's quote above mentions the "overall test" and Burns is currently 5th in the PGA Tour's All-Around Ranking. He was 13th in that category last year.
Breaking it down a little, he's 1st for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green this season and 4th for SG: Approach.
He's yet to feature in the Majors but a second place in last year's WGC-Fed Ex St Jude Invitational shows he can thrive in the best fields.
As with Wolff, now that he's firmly on the radar of punters, the 66/1 will vanish if he continues on his current upward trajectory.
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