US Open Bettors Back Players Who Have Refrained From Joining LIV Golf

The 122nd US Open tees off this Thursday, June 16, at The Country Club in Brookline, Ma.

Justin Thomas speaks with the media at the US Open on June 13, 2022. Thomas said it’s “sad” that LIV Golf is dominating the news during the country’s national championship. (Image: Getty)

The famed Massachusetts venue is one of the oldest country clubs in the United States. The club hosted its first USGA event back in 1902 with the US Women’s Amateur. Since then, The Country Club has hosted three US Opens, six US Amateurs, and the unforgettable 1999 Ryder Cup that ended with Justin Leonard rolling in a 45-foot putt on the 17th hole in his singles match against José María Olazábal to clinch the win for Team USA.

This week’s US Open comes as the nation’s best golfers are as unified as ever, as the sport is riddled with divisiveness stemming from the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour.

Bettors wagering pre-tournament action on the third major of the year are more heavily backing players who have not agreed to take a massive payday being offered by LIV Golf. The controversial startup professional golf tour is being financed by the Saudi Arabian government, which has long faced allegations of financing the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Scottie Scheffler, the world’s top-ranked golfer, has refused to take the Saudi bait. And Scheffler is commanding the lion’s share of the early US Open action. BetMGM says the 2022 Masters champ and Texas native is responsible for 6.6% of its US Open tickets and 9.4% of the total money wagered. Scheffler’s current odds of winning are 14/1.

As for the shortest line, Rory McIlroy — an outspoken LIV critic — is down to just 11/1 after bettors wagered heavily on the 2011 US Open champ. American Justin Thomas, another player who has refused LIV Golf, is next at 12/1. Thomas is also a popular bet, as he’s on about 5% of the tickets and money wagered.

LIV Golf Players Shunned

BetMGM shared its US Open betting breakdown with, and the numbers show that bettors aren’t overly excited for a player who has agreed to play on the LIV Golf tour to win come Sunday.

None of the top 10 most-bet golfers for this week’s US Open have committed to LIV Golf. Of the list of players who played in last week’s LIV London tournament or plan to play on the LIV tour in the future, Dustin Johnson is the most-bet US Open participant.

But the 2016 US Open and 2020 Masters winner is on just 1.6% of the BetMGM tickets and responsible for only 1.8% of the handle. Bryson DeChambeau, another US Open winner (2020) who has defected to LIV Golf, is next for the Middle East golfers with 1.1% of the tickets and 2.2% of the money.

Johnson and DeChambeau are respectively at 40/1 and 80/1 to win this week in Massachusetts.

Other LIV golfers of note in this week’s US Open field include 2018 Masters champ Patrick Reed (80/1), 2010 Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen (66/1), and Kevin Na (125/1).

Mickelson Return

No name is more associated with LIV Golf than Phil Mickelson, whose reputation has suffered greatly with his commitment to the emerging global tour backed by the Saudi government. Mickelson, typically a fan favorite who attracts considerable betting action, is far less popular than he was prior to his controversial comments made about the PGA Tour earlier this year.

Mickelson would complete the career grand slam with a US Open victory. But bettors aren’t overly enthusiastic about his prospects.

Lefty’s name is on just 1.1% of the BetMGM tickets and is responsible for less than 1% of the book’s action. BetMGM has since lengthened Mickelson’s odds from 80/1 to 200/1.

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