On Thursday this week, the top golfers in the world will head to the famous course at Brookline, Massachusetts to compete in the 2022 US Open Golf Tournament.

However, it is events off the field in the past week or so that have dominated the sports pages, as a huge split in golf has now developed between the US PGA Tour and the new LIV Golf Invitational series.

Those events have cast a somewhat dark shadow over the world of competitive professional golf over the lasty seven days and the fallout from that could well echo across the fairways for generations to come.

So before we head over to bet365 Sport and look at the odds for this weekend’s tournament at Brookline, we will first examine just what has happened to cause this chasm to open up at the highest level of professional golf.

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USPGA Tour Bans LIV Golf Rebels

After the positivity following the Masters at Augusta, won by Scottie Scheffler, and the USPGA Championship, which saw Justin Thomas claim a fantastic playoff victory over Will Zalatoris, the world of golf has been shattered by the aftereffects of the first LIV Golf Invitational tournament in St Albans this past weekend.

Literally within minutes of the 48 players starting their new look shotgun start tournament at the Centurion Club, the USPGA Tour announced that all 17 players from its tour that played in the tournament would be banned, indefinitely, from any PGA Tour sanctioned events.

A number of players in the LIV Golf Field, such as Kevin Na, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen, plus eventual winner of the event Charles Schwartzel, all resigned their US PGA Tour card in advance of the tournament.

However, a number of card holders, such as Ian Poulter, have not resigned their card and said that they intend to take the matter further, potentially into the law courts.

Underwhelming Backing For US PGA Tour Stance

If the US PGA Tour’s stance against the LIV Golf rebels was a move to draw support from other golf tours and the organisers of the four Golf Majors, then unfortunately it has not received much backing from them.

First, the USGA, the organisers of this week’s US Open tournament, announced that while they were not taking sides in this rift, they would allow LIV Golf competitors to compete this week at Brookline, provided that they had qualified for the event.

Perhaps more surprisingly was the announcement from the DP World Tour that they had not yet decided what to do regarding players on the LIV Tour, stopping far short of following the US PGA Tour with an outright ban.

That is understandable, given that for many years, the top players on the DP World Tour have routinely made the move to play on US PGA Tour as it is more lucrative.

If the DP World Tour were to allow LIV Golf Invitational players to play, then it would mean that fields at some of their events would be of significantly higher quality and thus more appealing to sponsors, broadcasters and golf fans.

Then the LIV Golf tour announced its intention to apply to ensure that its tournaments would earn World Ranking Points, an issue which had been a problem for a number of players keen to preserve their status, especially in that top 100.

More US PGA Tour Pros Make Switch To LIV Golf

If the US PGA Tour had hoped its sanctions on players competing in the LIV Golf Tour would stop the exodus of talent, then they would have been disappointed to see three big name stars from the tour confirm that they would also compete at LIV Golf events.

After Bryson DeChambeau confirmed he would be participating in the next LIV Golf event, a further six notable PGA Tour stars were linked with playing at the second LIV Golf Tour event in Portland, Oregon.

They are Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Matt Wolff, Pat Perez, Bubba Watson and Jason Kokrak.

With these new additions, the LIV Tour now boasts 8 different Major champions, who have landed 15 Major titles between them.

McIlroy Blasts Norman After Win At RBC Canadian Open

Meanwhile back on the US PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy claimed another RBC Canadian Open Victory on Sunday and used his win as a platform to launch a swipe at LIV Golf Tour figurehead Greg Norman.

McIlroy revealed he was level with the Great White Shark on 20 PGA Tour wins and badly wanted to win another to move ahead of the Aussie.

“I wanted it a lot. I wanted it at the start of the day and there were a few different incentives in there…I had extra motivation {because] of what’s going on across the pond.

“The guy that’s spearheading that tour has 20 wins on the PGA Tour and I was tied with him and I wanted to get one ahead of him. And I did. So that was really cool for me, just a little sense of pride on that one.”

“I went out with a lead and had to shoot eight under to get the job done, so the depth of talent on this tour is really, really impressive,” said McIlroy in what was a thinly-veiled swipe at the lack of quality in depth at the LIV Golf tournament.

The Battle At Brookline Part II?

It all sets up this week’s third Major of the season very nicely and there could be no better place to host this event than Brookline.

The course was the setting for the 1999 Ryder Cup, the famous Battle of Brookline, where US fans and players pushed and broke the limits of what was accepted at golf, leading to a huge amount of acrimony over the tournament.

So with controversy never far from the action, Brookline is a perfect venue for a number of LIV Golf professionals to return to action against their PGA Tour counterparts, including a return to action on home soil for Phil Mickelson.

It certainly promises to be an exciting and likely heated weekend of action as the two sets of golfers compete against each other for the first time.

LIV Golf Tour players in the field include Richard Bland, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Branden Grace, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Kevin Na, Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed.

What Are The Current Odds?

After his victory at the RBC Canadian Open at the weekend, Rory McIlroy has come in to 10/1 to win what would be his third US Open crown, just ahead of Justin Thomas who is 12/1 and world number 1 Scottie Scheffler who is 14/1.

Jon Rahm is 16/1, with Cameron Smith 20/1, Xander Schauffele 22/1 and a trio of players at 25/1 (Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay and Matt Fitzpatrick) and also at 28/1 (Sam Burns, Will Zalatoris and Collin Morikawa).

Dustin Johnson is a 40/1 chance and he is the best priced of all the LIV Golf Tour professionals, with Louis Oosthuizen 75/1, Talor Gooch 80/1 and Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau both 90/1 chances.

Phil Mickelson, who remains in the field, is rated as a 200/1 chance to claim the victory on his return to action on US soil.

Who Are Our Tips For The US Open?

The US Open field is always an interesting one as so many spots in the tournament are open to qualifiers from a wide series of events (hence the name), which is why the field tends to feature slightly fewer big name stars than other Majors.

For example, the likes of Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer are just five big names stars that won’t be taking to the fairways this weekend at the Brookline Country Club.

It is easy to see why McIlroy is the favourite here. He is bang in form having shot an eight-under-par 62 in the final round of the RBC Canadian Open to win last weekend, he is the last player to follow up a win the previous week with a Major victory (also at the US Open) and his consistency this season has been excellent.

McIlroy and Justin Thomas look the solid outright win bet options in my view, but for a solid value each way option (and bet365 Sport pay out on the top eight and equals for each way bets at 1/5 of the odds) I think another Irishman, Seamus Power at 100/1 is well worth considering after his recent good form too.