Has any U.S. Open in recent history had more storylines entering the tournament than the 2019 version? Where to begin!?
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
First, there’s the course: Pebble Beach Golf Links, arguably the best and most picturesque public course in the United States. It’s not overly long at just over 7,000 yards (par 71), but the winds will make it play longer and Pebble Beach has very small greens. It was a no-brainer for the USGA to give Pebble Beach the U.S. Open this year because it’s the 100th anniversary of the course’s opening. It’s the sixth time Pebble Beach hosts this tournament and first since 2010 when Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell won at even par by a stroke over France’s Gregory Havret. McDowell is +10000 to win this week.
The USGA tries to make the U.S. Open the toughest tournament in golf in terms of course setup so it’s quite possible no player finishes under par this year.
There’s Brooks Koepka looking to threepeat at the U.S. Open just a month after repeating at the PGA Championship on another storied American public course, Bethpage Black in New York. Koepka (+850) won the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin by four shots and then last year by a stroke at Shinnecock Hills in New York. The only player to win three straight times at this tournament was Scotsman Willie Anderson way back in 1903-05.
Tiger Woods broke the Internet when he won the Masters in April. He’s looking for a record-tying fourth U.S. Open title and is +1100. Woods won his last U.S. Open in 2008 down the California coast at Torrey Pines outside San Diego. In 2000 at Pebble Beach, Woods put on arguably the most dominant performance ever in a major championship by winning the U.S. Open by a record 15 shots – he was the only player to finish under par and was 12 under. Tiger was fourth at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
However, the biggest story this week would be if Phil Mickelson (+4000) wins the U.S. Open for the first time to complete the career Grand Slam. Only Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen have done that. Mickelson, who turns 49 on Sunday, also will try to become the oldest major champion ever. He has finished second in this tournament an unthinkable six times and was fourth in 2010.
Mickelson also has won the regular PGA Tour stop at this course, the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, a record five times. He did back in February by three shots, although players also play one round each at two other courses in that event.