Perhaps it is the horrifically mistimed run of form that Rory McIlroy has found himself in ahead of the US Open, perhaps it was the coming-of-age performance Jordan Spieth put on at the Masters, maybe it’s a combination of the two, but the Northern Irishman is not the clear favourite at Chambers Bay.
While the slim margin between the pair indicates the narrowing gap between McIlroy and the rest of his sport, there are two trends which should worry his supporters enough to jump off him quicker than Frankie Dettori on a seven-timer.
The first concerns the general graveyard the competition has been for world number ones.
Aside from Tiger Woods’ victory in 2008, at a course he had won on six times prior to that particular triumph, no eventual winner ranked on top of the world heading into the US Open.
In fact, the lowest ranked player to take victory in the event, bar Woods, was Justin Rose two years ago, when he held fifth spot in the rankings.
Often, entering the tournament outside the world’s top 20 is a benefit, as half of the last 10 victors have discovered.
While that trend already has the mockers placed firmly on McIlroy, a second statistic should dent confidence in the 26-year-old completely.
Current form has played a major role in shaping the US Open winner over the past seven years. In that span, all of the victors had recorded multiple top 10s and top 20s in the lead up to the American major. McIlroy has missed the cut in his last two starts, although that isn’t necessarily always a problem.
But if not Rory, then who? Well there will be far worse options than 100/1 shot Francesco Molinari, who is ranked 43rd in the world and has finished in the top five in three of his last four appearances.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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