The U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach for a sixth time when the third major of the year is staged between June 13-16, but who will be crowned 2019 champion?
In what is Pebble Beach’s centennial year, a thriller looks in store with a whole host of the world’s best golfers hitting top form. Could Brooks Koepka make it a hat-trick of U.S. Open wins? Could Tiger Woods repeat his Masters success? Is Rory McIlroy set for a fifth major victory?
We take a look at the chances of the leading contenders for the 2019 US Open.
Koepka is bidding to land a hat-trick of U.S. Open victories having won the 2017 edition at Erin Hills before following up at Shinecock Hills last year. He is proving to be the man for the majors having now won four of the last nine, one of which he missed through injury. He was second in the Masters this year behind Woods before winning the PGA Championship and you simply can’t ignore his record in the big events.
It seems an age since a young McIlroy won the first of his four majors when triumphing in the U.S. Open at Congressional back in 2011. He has since added another three to that haul, but none since 2014. The Northern Irishman has produced career-best form this year, though, and his 16th PGA TOUR win was brought up in seriously impressive fashion last week when he won the Canadian Open by seven shots.
Can you rule out Woods? He proved there was plenty of life left in him just yet when winning the Masters at Augusta in April to move to 15 career majors and to within three of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18. Woods won the first of three U.S. Open titles when the event was held at Pebble Beach in 2000, so he has previous and he could be there in the mix on Sunday if he brings his A-Game to California.
Johnson is another former U.S. Open champion having won the event in 2016 at Oakmont. It remains something of a mystery how the American hasn’t added to his solitary major win but it hasn’t been for the want of trying. Johnson was runner-up in both the Masters and the USPGA Championship this year, and has been in the top five on eight occasions (including when third behind Koepka in last year’s U.S. Open). He has twice won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the PGA Tour so knows his way around the course.
Something of a dark horse among the leading names in the betting markets, but Schauffele boasts some interesting figures that point to a good week at Pebble Beach. He may only have played in nine majors in his career, but four of them have resulted in finishes of sixth or better. He was tied second in the Masters in April behind Woods, and his two efforts in the US Open were fifth and sixth behind Koepka. The first of those was his major debut and Schauffele could have the temperament to enjoy a big week.
See also: 2019 U.S. Open Course Guide: Pebble Beach
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