The state of the market
Scottie Scheffler's four wins this year (a tally that includes his breakthrough triumph in the Masters last month) plus his relentless quality in elite events (five top 10s in his last six Majors starts and three top fives in his last four World Golf Championship appearances) makes him the clear favourite for success at Southern Hills Country Club in Oklahoma in the Sportsbook outright market.
It would be a surprise if he were not among the 10 places on offer on the Betfair Sportsbook.
To put Scheffler's progress in perspective, he was [91.0] ahead of the 2020 edition of this event and 46.045/1 12 months ago. He is currently priced 11.010/1 to lift the Wanamaker Trophy.
He's followed in the betting by two Europeans, both rated 13.012/1 shots.
The first, Jon Rahm, reinvigorated his year with victory in the Mexico Open earlier this month, has nine top 10s from his last 16 major starts, including victory in last year's US Open.
The second, Rory McIlroy, has landed two major championship top 10s a year since 2014 - and he kicked off this year with second place at Augusta National - but 2014 is also the last time he won one of the events that define a golfer's career.
There is an echo in that European pairing with the two Americans priced 15.014/1.
Collin Morikawa has won two of the last six majors played (and finished top 10 in another three). His arrow-straight long game and clear mind are a neat fit for the greatest tests.
Justin Thomas also has many fine tools at his disposal but, since winning the 2017 PGA Championship, he has landed just four major top 10s in 15 attempts.
Cameron Smith and Viktor Hovland, both yet to win a major, are both 19.018/1. The Aussie suffered a near-miss in the Masters; the Norwegian is yet to land a top 10 in nine major championship starts but will be playing home soil (of sorts: he went to college in Oklahoma and he still lives there).
Major championship specialist Brooks Koepka (12 top 10 finishes in his last 17 starts, four of them wins) is 21.020/1, alongside compatriot Patrick Cantlay who is yet to produce his best golf in the majors, owning just two top 10s in 20 appearances and not one since 2019.
Other standout prices
After his 2020 US Open victory Bryson DeChambeau was the most feared Major championship performer of them all.
It was not just golf balls that were left dizzy by his big-hitting and bold strategy - many were convinced he was going to stamp all over the opposition (and leave most courses craving a yardage of 8,000 yards).
He was 9.08/1 ahead of that year's final major, the Masters, but is currently 34.033/1 for this event - a consequence of him not being the wrecking ball so many feared, suffering from injuries and distracted by off-the-course issues.
Louis Oosthuizen, a three-time runner-up in last year's majors, is 51.050/1.
What of Canada's Corey Conners? In his last six majors he has been 10th, eighth and sixth at the Masters, 17th in this event last year (when the first round leader) and 15th in the Open (when fourth heading into the final round). He's 61.060/1.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson became the oldest major winner in history last year on the longest course ever presented for a major.
Since then he has become a pariah and, if he does play, will surely be overwhelmed by the scrutiny. He's 81.080/1 having been 201.0200/1 for the win last year (and 1000.0 on the Exchange).
As usual, Dave Tindall's Trends article has narrowed the focus to a handful of important factors.
A detailed read of his research is advised, but the gist is that winners tends to be American, in their 20s, in the world's top 20, a winner already this season, in good form, and with a top 20 in their tournament back catalogue.
We'll bear these details in mind when also adding two other factors in the picks below that are looking to capitalise on the 10 places availale on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Perry Maxwell was a Kentucky-born banker of Scottish descent who in later life became known as "the father of Oklahoma golf", his influence most keenly felt in design of the state's courses.
Southern Hills is one of those and so, too, is Colonial Country Club, home of the Charles Schwab Challenge, and Merion, which hosted the 2013 US Open.
It was notable that superb Colonial performers excelled in that latter event. Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker, all of them winners at Colonial, finished first, second and eighth while Colonial play-off loser Jason Dufner was fourth.
It's also true that Southern Hills is tree-lined with a series of dog legs, a description that aptly fits Colonial, too.
Southern Hills has been thinned out, in terms of those trees, but the Colonial connection, added to Dave's numbers, informs the first pick.
Jordan Spieth is in his 20s, the right nationality, high in the world rankings, a winner this season at Harbour Town, and has two top three finishes in the PGA Championship.
And what about at Colonial? He's made nine starts, landed seven top 10s, been second three times and was the winner in 2016.
Second pick veers away from a few of Dave's trends.
Hideki Matsuyama is not, of course, American and, as of February this year, he is not in his 20s.
But he's a winner this year (at the Sony Open), he's a two-time top five finisher in the PGA Championship, he's in the world's top 20 and he's in good form.
Dave also noted that hitting lots of greens in regulation tends to be vital at Southern Hills and Matsuyama ranks high in that category this season.
It's also true that if a golfer becomes a multiple major winner it happens in a short space of time so the 2021 Masters winner is ripe if he's up to taking that next step.
And then there is his one experience of playing at Colonial: he finished 10th, but he did share the lead after 54 holes.
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