The 2019 U.S. Open heads to Pebble Beach with history on the mind of world number one Brooks Koepka as he bids for a third successive victory in the major.
Only one man has previously managed a hat-trick of U.S. Opens—Scotland’s Willie Anderson between 1903 and 1905. But Koepka can replicate that feat should he add to his 2017 victory at Erin Hills and his 2018 triumph at Shinnecock Hills.
Pebble Beach celebrates its centennial year by staging a sixth U.S. Open and the iconic California course looks set to chew the world’s best golfers up and spit them out. Who will survive the daunting test best of all?
The leading contender simply has to be Koepka, who not only is seeking that historic third straight win in the U.S. Open but is also bidding to enhance his staggeringly impressive majors record across the last two years.
Since winning the 2017 U.S. Open, Koepka has now lifted the title in four of the subsequent nine majors—one of which he was forced to miss through injury. That includes his victory in last month’s PGA Championship.
Rory McIlroy is another former U.S. Open winner having collected the first of his four majors in the event in 2011, and the Northern Irishman has rediscovered his best form this year including winning the Canadian Open last week.
Dustin Johnson won the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont and has been runner-up in both of this year’s majors having finished second to Tiger Woods in the Masters and Koepka in the PGA Championship.
There’s a question mark over Johnson’s ability to get the job done in majors having now posted eight top five finishes on top of that solitary win, but he has twice won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and could be dangerous this week.
Tiger Woods also knows how to win around Pebble Beach having won the first of three U.S. Open titles when the event was held at the course in 2000. Could he add a 16th major to his resume?
Pebble Beach gets the honor of staging the U.S. Open for a sixth time in what is the course’s 100-year anniversary. It has also staged the PGA Championship and is the host of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am each year on the PGA TOUR.
It provides a stunning setting along the Pacific Coast in California, but an incredibly tough proposition. So where might the U.S. Open be won or lost?
Hole 7 – 109 yard Par-3: This isn’t a key hole in a scoring sense, but this is the hole everyone wants to watch. Measuring just 109 yards, it is played downhill towards the Pacific Ocean and is the most photographed hole in golf. Expect some birdies here.
Hole 14 – 580-yard Par-5: Undoubtedly one of the toughest holes on the course and one where there is a fine line between success and failure. The second shot is a real risk or reward opportunity if taking on the green, but the sensible play is to opt for a pitch and putt birdie.
Hole 17 – 208-yard Par-3: The first of a brilliant closing stretch with a tricky par-3 threatening to derail even the best. The hole is playing along the ocean, but it is the tricky green that protects par. Accuracy off the tee is everything.
Hole 18 – 543-yard Par-5: What should be a straight forward par-5 most days of the week provides a difficult conclusion to the 2019 U.S. Open. A lone tree stands in the middle of the fairway and a bunker measuring more than 100-yards guards the left side of the hole too.