70-1 Longshot Gary Woodland Beats US Open Favorites, Wins First Career Major

  • Gary Woodland was trending at +7000 to win the 2019 US Open at tee time Thursday.
  • Woodland held off defending champion Brooks Koepka in Round 4 Sunday.
  • Despite Woodland’s big payout, sportsbooks appear to have had a profitable US Open.

LAS VEGAS – Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka started the 2019 US Open tied atop the futures boards. By Sunday afternoon at Pebble Beach, he was nearly atop the leaderboard.

But 70-1 longshot Gary Woodland was one place ahead, and the unheralded underdog won his first ever major by three strokes (-13). Koepka settled for second, becoming the first golfer in history to finish all four rounds of a US Open in the 60s and lose the tournament.

Woodland had to beat the world’s best golfer – and the odds – to take the title. However, even at +7000, the upset win didn’t upset the sportsbooks.

While a $100 bet on Woodland at the start of the tourney would have earned bettors a $7000 payout, there weren’t many takers. Instead, the significant money was on Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, and other more familiar names.

The numbers haven’t been released, but it’s likely to have been a profitable US Open for sportsbooks nationwide.

Where Woodland’s win might have put the pinch on sportsbooks was not in the individual column but in the field bets. Before the tournament, many books were posting odds separating the top four favorites (Koepka, Johnson, McIlroy, Woods) from the field, giving the field -200 odds to win.

By the time the US Open teed off on Thursday, the following golfers were all trending ahead of Woodland:

Dustin Johnson 17/2 (+850) T35
Brooks Koepka 10/1 (+1000) 2
Rory McIlroy 10/1 (+1000) T9
Tiger Woods 10/1 (+1000) T21
Jordan Spieth 18/1 (+1800) T65
Patrick Cantlay 18/1 (+1800) T21
Rickie Fowler 20/1 (+2000) T43
Xander Schauffele 25/1 (+2500) T3
Jason Day 28/1 (+2800) T21
Justin Thomas 28/1 (+2800) MC
Adam Scott 30/1 (+3000) T7
Jon Rahm 30/1 (+3000) T3
Justin Rose 30/1 (+3000) T3
Phil Mickelson 30/1 (+3000) T52
Brandt Snedeker 35/1 (+3500) 77
Francesco Molinari 35/1 (+3500) T16
Hideki Matsuyama 35/1 (+3500) T21
Matt Kuchar 35/1 (+3500) T16
Tommy Fleetwood 35/1 (+3500) T65
Webb Simpson 40/1 (+4000) T16
Bryson DeChambeau 50/1 (+5000) T35
Tony Finau 50/1 (+5000) MC
Paul Casey 55/1 (+5500) T21
Henrik Stenson 60/1 (+6000) T9
Shane Lowry 65/1 (+6500) T28

Woodland was 26th on the odds boards in a field of 156 golfers. He’s certainly not a nobody, but that’s pretty far down the list.

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Of course, golf is a fickle sport, and the favorites rarely win outright.

Tiger in his heyday was an aberration like Koepka is now. But typically, those players at the top of the odds boards don’t tend to reliably finish in the same positions.

In the above list of 25 favored golfers, only seven finished in the top 10 (28 percent). If you expand the field, 15 of the top 25 actually finished in the top 25 (60 percent). 19 of them finished in the top 50 (38 percent), and four of them made the cut but finished outside of the top 50 (eight percent).

Two golfers – Justin Thomas and Tony Finau – missed the cut entirely. Dustin Johnson, the betting favorite at tee time before Round 1, finished in a tie for 35th place.

USAOnlineSportsbooks.com knows picking the winner in a professional golf tournament isn’t necessarily a crapshoot. But at the very least, it’s a layup with a sand wedge in the wind.

The 2019 US Open win is the 35-year-old Woodland’s first major championship and fourth career PGA Tour victory (sixth overall). He earned $2.25 million, while runner-up Koepka took home $1.35 million of the $12.5 million purse.