It is finally mid-June, which means that it is time again for the most anticipated and, hands down, toughest test in professional golf: the U.S. Open.
The 119th edition of “the toughest test in golf” will be contested at Pebble Beach Golf Links, which will stretch to 7,075 yards, and play to a par of 35-36—71.
It will be the sixth (1972, 1982, 1992, 2000, 2010) U.S. Open championship hosted by the historic Northern California links-style golf course.
Trying to tame this historic layout will be a field comprised of the game’s top superstars, including world No. 1, and two time defending champion, Brooks Koepka, who enters as the reigning two-time winner of the PGA Championship as well.
Koepka will be joined on the Monterrey Peninsula by every top-ranked star including last week’s Canadian Open winner Rory McIlroy, who shellacked the field in Ontario en route to his second Tour title of the season.
Other favorites include world No. 2, and 2016 U.S. Open winner, Dustin Johnson, along with four-time U.S. Open winner, and reigning Masters champ, Tiger Woods.
More than any other tournament in golf, the U.S. Open does not have winners as much as it has survivors.
Tournament: U.S. Open Championship
Dates: June 13-16, 2019
Where: Pebble Beach, Calif.
Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links
Distance: Par 71, 7075 yards
Architect: Jack Neville, Douglas Grant (1919)
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, 36-hole cut
Winning Share: $2,300,000
Defending Champion: Brooks Koepka
Top-10 Betting Favorites: Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler
TV and Online
Rd 1: Th 12:30-03:00 pm (FS1)
Rd 1: Th 07:30-10:30 pm (FOX)
Rd 2: Fr 12:30-03:00 pm (FS1)
Rd 2: Fr 07:30-10:30 pm (FOX)
Rd 3: Sa 12:00-10:00 pm (FOX)
Rd 4: Su 02:00-10:00 pm (FOX)
Course Info: Pebble Beach GL
Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful courses in the world, Pebble Beach hugs the rugged coastline and has wide open views of Carmel Bay, opening to the Pacific Ocean on the south side of the Monterey Peninsula.
In laying out the course, Jack Neville attempted to bring as many holes to the rocky coastline as possible. The first two holes are inland, the third runs toward the ocean, and the fourth and fifth holes run along the Stillwater Cove.
This arrangement allowed Neville to make use of a peninsula which juts straight out into the Pacific Ocean. Prior to 1998, the fifth hole was an uphill par 3, but after the Pebble Beach Company acquired additional ocean front property, Jack Nicklaus designed a revised hole that sits hard by Stillwater Cove.
Hole Nos. 6, 7, and 8 are situated on Arrowhead Point. The second shot of the eighth hole and the ninth and tenth holes are situated above Carmel Bay.
The course then runs inland from the eleventh to the sixteenth holes. The Par 5 fourteenth hole has usually been one of the toughest holes on the PGA tour. The 16th hole runs alongside the 3rd hole to complete the figure 8 and bring the dramatic closing holes along Stillwater Cove. These include the long par 3 17th, whose place in golf history was assured when Jack Nicklaus (1972) and Tom Watson (1982) made key shots there to win U.S. Opens.
Signature hole: The short par 3 7th, which plays to just over 100 yards even during major championships, is one of the most photographed holes in the world. From an elevated tee, players hit straight out toward the Pacific Ocean off Arrowhead Point, with nothing in the background but the often violent Pacific Ocean surf crashing against rocky outcroppings.
U.S. Open History
It is now one of, if not the, grandest show in golf, but at its beginning, the U.S. Open was just an ancillary tournament to the highly regarded U.S. Amateur.
That inaugural event occurred in 1895, making the U.S. Open the second oldest of the four majors, and was held at the opulent Newport Golf Club in Newport, Rhode Island, the “in” summer hideaway of America’s wealthy and social elite at the time.
Played on Newport’s nine-hole course, the first U.S. Open was held in one day, with each of the 11 golfers in the field playing the course four times. Horace Rawlins, a 21-year-old from England, posted 91-82 to win the tournament by two strokes. He was awarded a $150 share of the $335 purse.
The following U.S. Open, held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, grew to a field of 35, a number that kept growing as the event started to increase in popularity.
Over time, the tournament developed a reputation for being the most challenging event in golf, allowing it to draw in the best of the best.
The U.S. Open boasts perhaps the most prestigious list of winners of any tournament. That list includes Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Cary Middlecoff, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Brooks Koepka.
Hogan, Jones, Nicklaus, and Willie Anderson all share the tournament record for most wins, with four apiece. Tiger and Hale Irwin are next with three victories, followed by two apiece for Alex Smith, John McDermott, Hagen, Sarzen, Ralph Guldahl, Middlecoff, Julius Boros, Billy Casper, Trevino, Andy North, Curtis Strange, Ernie Els, Lee Janzen, Payne Stewart, Retief Goosen, and most recently Koepka, who joined Strange as a back-to-back winner.
A testament to just how difficult the U.S. Open has played historically, in 116 editions of the tournament just two players have finished double-digits under par: Woods (-12) at Pebble Beach in 2000 and McIlroy (-16) at Congressional Country Club in 2011.
Even that 2000 event was brutal, as the two runner-ups, Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez, finished at +3, 15 strokes behind Tiger’s one-man show.
History: Recent Winners
2018: Brooks Koepka (+1)
2017: Brooks Koepka (-16)
2016: Dustin Johnson (-4)
2015: Jordan Spieth (-5)
2014: Martin Kaymer (-9)
2013: Justin Rose (+1)
2012: Webb Simpson (+1)
2011: Rory McIlroy (-16)
(268) – Rory McIlroy (2011)
(-16) – Rory McIlroy (2011), Brooks Koepka (2017)
(4) – Ben Hogan (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953)
(4) – Bobby Jones (1923, 1926, 1929-30)
(4) – Jack Nicklaus (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980)
(4) – Willie Anderson (1901, 1903-05)
(3) – Tiger Woods (2000, 2002, 2008)
(3) – Hale Irwin (1974, 1979, 1990)
Brooks Koepka shot a final-round 2-under 68 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club to capture his second-straight U.S. Open banner.
Koepka finished at 1-over par 281, one shot clear of runner-up Tommy Fleetwood, who posted a record-tying 63 on Sunday.
The Florida State product became the first player since Curtis Strange to successfully defend a U.S. Open title, and the first since Padraig Harrington (2007 and 2008 Open Championship) to repeat at a major.
Final Top 5
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Brooks Koepka +1 (-2)
2. Tommy Fleetwood +2 (-7)
3. Dustin Johnson +3 (E)
4. Patrick Reed +4 (-2)
5. Tony Finau +5 (E)
Full Field & Odds
The betting favorites are a pair of stars who’ve won the past three U.S. Open titles, Brooks Koepka (2018, 2017) and Dustin Johnson (2016). The two Americans are listed at 8-1, alongside 2011 tournament winner Rory McIlroy.
Tiger Woods, who won the 2002 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by a record 15 strokes, was next at 11-1, with Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay rounding out the top-5 betting favorites at 20-1.
Top-5 Betting Favorites
1. Brooks Koepka (8/1)
1. Dustin Johnson (8/1)
1. Rory McIlroy (8/1)
4. Tiger Woods (11/1)
5. Jordan Spieth (20-1)
5. Patrick Cantlay (20-1)