The US Open is a special time in any sports fan’s calendar. When the country’s number one golf tournament rolls into Pebble Beach, California. For players and fans alike, the course not only looks incredible but it never fails to deliver shocks and spectacles galore. It is also a course where it is very hard to predict what will happen. Here we mark your card with some of the players who will be going into the opening day on 13th June with hopes of making history.
The Front Runners
There are two names that will be on the tip of most people’s tongues going into the four days. The first of those is Brooks Koepka. Whichever way you look at it, the Floridian is the best player in the world right now. He has won the last two US Open’s and is looking to become the first player to win the major three consecutive times in over a century. He has also won back-to-back PGA Championships and finished second in this year’s Masters. The way Pebble Beach plays, and the way it is likely to be set up will make it more of a level playing field however, and Koepka is unlikely to have it all his own way. That said, he is the favorite at Oddschecker and if you were to put your house or your shirt on any one player, it would be hard to come up with an argument against putting it on him.
The other name that will be in the frame is Tiger Woods. After a torrid few years and a succession of injuries the old Tiger – or something closer to the old Tiger than many of us thought we would ever see – is back. His Masters win will have given him the confidence that he is not only playing the sort of golf required to win majors, but crucially that his body is able to cope with four days of intense competition.
The player who will be the happiest with the location is Dustin Johnson. He just loves Pebble Beach. He has two wins and two runners-up places there and was the leader after three days in 2010. He is also in stellar form, so for those reasons it is impossible to discount the 34-year-old.
Best of the Rest
If the best Justin Rose turns up, then he has a very real chance of posting a potentially unbeatable score. Even if his driving does let him down, that will not be as crucial at Pebble Beach, and his iron play and putting could very well be enough. The question is, though, will the best Justin Rose turn up?
Patrick Cantlay is in the best form along with Johnson and Koepka when it comes to this year’s previous majors. He is consistent, so you can be confident he will at least be there or thereabouts come Sunday. The question mark would be if he is capable of going that extra mile and closing out the victory when the eyes of the world – and the accompanying pressure – are on him.
Phil Mickelson has recorded five victories at Pebble Beach. Unfortunately for Phil, none of those came when the US Open was in town, but he knows what to do to win there. He will also be going for the Grand Slam. Finally, he turns 49 on the final day. If ever the stars were aligned, then they could very well be pointing in Mickelson’s direction.
They say you have to be in it to win it, and Xander Schauffele has made a habit of being in major leaderboards of late. Unfortunately for Xander, he has yet to put in the final round that has converted a place to ultimate victory, but the Californian is likely to feature prominently once again.