2019 US Open Tips And Preview By James Punt
Two majors down, two to go. The third instalment is the US Open and the legendary Pebble Beach course is the venue. Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka took the first two majors and Woods is a previous US Open winner on this course. Our golf analyst James Punt has produced his usual in depth preview. Check out his free 2019 US Open tips below…
2019 US Open Preview
Pebble Beach is a classic venue. It is used as a venue on the US Tour every year so there is plenty of course form to go on. The master of Pebble Beach is Phil Mickelson with four course wins including the 2019 title and five further top 10’s. Dustin Johnson is a two time winner along with Brandt Snedeker. Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker have one win each. Walker has also had four other top 10’s here. Jason Day has never won here but has had six top 10’s.
The course has hosted five US Opens and winners include Tiger Woods in 2000 and most recently Graeme McDowell in 2010.
This being the US Open however the course will be set up much differently to how it is for annual AT&T Pro Am. For the Pro Am the course has to be playable by the legions of businessmen and fading celebrities plodding their way around what is a short course (7070 yard, par 71).
The USGA is in charge of the US Open and traditionally they set up the course to destroy the top pro’s game. Narrow fairways, deep rough, dry, fast greens are the norm. Often they go too far and it can be a bit of a farce. McDowell’s winning score in 2010 was level par which underlines the difficulty of the set up.
Weather Could Be Influential
It is not a long course but it is open to the elements being right on the coast. The greens are small by normal standards and are seeded with poa annua grass. The USGA will want them firm and unreceptive so finding them will be tough and getting the ball to hold them just as hard. A bit like Augusta, knowing where to aim for on the green is critical. You do not want downhill putts for example and you may be better putting uphill from 30ft than downhill from 10.
It may be a short course but the bigger hitters still have an advantage. They will be firing in wedges rather than mid-range irons to the greens. It will be a tough test of a player’s all round game. Accuracy off the tee and into the small greens, good scrambling to recover from positions around the greens when they are missed and of course good putting skills on poa annua grass. Poa annua specialists are Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy (who specifically played in the Canadian Open at the weekend to get some poa practice), Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker.
2019 US Open Tips: Greens To Be Slower
The greens will be a little slower this year which opens up more possible pin positions and they will be watered if necessary to keep them playable.
It is a smart player’s course. You have to think about where you need to place the ball, especially on the greens. Downhill puts are bogey putts. Patience is a real virtue in US Open’s as bogeys will happen and have to be accepted. Not running up a big score is as important as making a birdie.
This year’s favourite is now Rory McIlroy following his commanding win in the Canadian Open on Sunday. Normally playing the week before a US Open is a negative. However, with the Canadian Open featuring poa annua greens it can be seen as a positive. McIlroy also played with four wedges in his bag as those clubs will get a lot of use at Pebble Beach.
2019 US Open Tips: 2 points e/w Dustin Johnson to win @ 10.00 with Betfred (1/5 the odds 1-8)
Runner up in the Masters and the PGA Championship this season. US Open winner in 2016 and only once out of the top 4 in this event for the last four years. Johnson is the best putter on poa annua greens with ten titles won. He has good Pebble Beach form as well, averaging 69. 5 over 12 rounds and is a two time course winner with a total of 8 top eight finishes in the AT&T Pro Am. He is ranked 3rd for shots gained off the tee and 2nd for overall shots gained. His is a complete game well suited to this course. The odds are hardly dazzling but he is so short for very good reasons.
Rory McIlroy is now the favourite. However, his Pebble Beach form is sparse with just one Tournament played here and he missed the cut.
Bruce Koepka is re-writing the form book when it comes to majors. He is now going for three US Open wins in a row. That has only been done once before and well over 100 years ago. His form here is also lacking, just one tournament played but he did finish 8th. He is now the third favourite despite his phenomenal form in major championships. The American has won four majors in the last three years. He was tied second in the Masters this season before winning the PGA Championship. Koepka has every chance to add to his collection but history is against him and ideally he would have more Pebble Beach form.
US Open Tip: 1 point e/w Jordan Spieth to win @ 23.00 with William Hill, Black Type (1/5 the odds 1-7)
It’s been a barren spell for Spieth. However, he is coming back to form with three consecutive top 10’s in his last three events. He won the US Open in 2015 and won the AT&T in 2017 along with two other top 10’s. He has won three titles on poa annua greens and his putting is right back on point. Spieth has slipped down the world rankings but is back in the top 30 and he is a top quality player.
2019 US Open Tips: 1 point e/w Brandt Snedeker to win @ 46.00 with Betfair, Paddy Power, Boylesports, Coral (1/5 the odds 1-10)
Snedeker is a Pebble Beach specialist with two AT&T titles and an average score of 69.3 over 12 rounds. He has four wins on poa annua greens. He has not won a US Open but has had five top 10 finishes in the last in his last ten played. Recent form is decent with 16/19/4 with the 4th place coming in Canada at the weekend. He is a California specialist, winning here and at nearby Torrey Pines.
Matsuyama nearly made the shortlist again but I have my doubts as to his bottle. His final rounds at Augusta and in the PGA Championship were poor after getting himself into contention for a high finish.
Xander Schauffele is a native Californian. While he has only played in two US Opens he finished both in the top 6. His recent form isn’t great however and his Pebble Beach form is sparse with just tournament played.
Phil Mickelson has never won a US Open the only major title missing from his CV. He has been a six time runner up and even at the ripe old age of 48 he can’t be ruled out this week on his beloved Pebble Beach. In 15 tournaments here he has nine top 10’s including four wins including this year. His recent form however is off putting with his last three results being mc/71/mc.
US Open Preview: 1 point e/w Jason Day to win @ 36.00 with William Hill, Unibet (1/5 the odds 1-7)
Day is another player with good Pebble Beach form with five top 6 finishes here from ten starts. He has also gone close in past US Opens with five top 10 finishes. His most recent form isn’t great but he is a player who prioritises the big tournaments. He was 5th in the Masters and his form going into that event was equally as poor. His back problems are always a worry but he is a man for the big occasion.