The 119th Open

119th U.S. Open

Pebble Beach Golf Links, 7,075 yards, par 71

2 time Defending champion, Brooks Koepka, Won at Erin Hills (Wisconsin) in 2017 and at Shinnecock Hills in 2018.

2019 Masters Champion, Tiger Woods

2019 PGA Champion, Koepka

Weather, Really nice, 72 Thursday, 74 Friday, 67 Saturday, 68 Sunday. No rain expected. Winds 9-15 Thursday, 8-13 Friday, 8-12 Saturday, 6-8 Sunday.

TV: Thursday-Friday, 11:30 AM-6:30 PM CT, Fox Sports 1, 6:30-9:30 PM CT FOX. Saturday, 11 AM-9 PM CT, FOX. Sunday, 1-9 PM CT, FOX

Key holes

No.7, 109 yards, par 3

Depending on the wind, this can be anywhere from a sand wedge to a 6 iron, though maybe in the case of Koepka and Dustin Johnson, an 8 or 9 iron when everybody else is hitting a 6 iron. The small green is guarded by 6 bunkers, large and small, with the most hazardous obstacle the ocean to the right and behind the green. One of the most classic major championship par 3’s in golf history.

No. 8, 428 yards, par 4

This is Pebble’s version of Amen corner, 8,9 and 10. On 8, the tee shot is usually a 3 wood or hybrid for the longer hitters to a fairway that runs out to a cliff going straight into the ocean at 275 yards. The approach is a challenging one, over the ocean to a small green that slopes severely from back to front. There are 2 bunkers in back of the green if a player overcooks it, and a bunker short of the green assuming the shot clears the ocean.

No.9 526 yards, par 4

Wind is a big factor on this hole, a very long par 4. The Pacific runs along the entire right side of the hole. The best drive sets the player up for a mid iron to the green. If wind is blowing left to right that could spell trouble for players who cut it. But all of them know how to draw it too, but a major challenge with the wind nonetheless. The second shot is usually off a sidehill lie adding to the difficulty of the shot. There is a gully and 2 bunkers short and to the left. They could come into play if the wind is in the player’s face or they hit their drives into the rough off the tee. This is a U.S. Open so the rough will be up, around 3 inches in spots. One of the Golf Channel commentators, I believe it was Brandel Chamblee, said the players will struggle if they’re on the sides of the greens because it is really thick, and sticky in the rough and chipping could be a nightmare off the green. So hitting the green is at a premium at Pebble Beach.

No.10, 495 yards, par 4

The ocean again runs along the entire right side of this hole and the fairway slopes severely towards the Pacific. The green is another small green at Pebble. The greens on Pebble average 3,500 square feet. At Bethpage Black for the PGA Championship, they averaged 5,500 square feet. There is a steep drop off to the beach on the right and bunkers catching anything long and left. The green slopes severely towards the ocean. These are Poa annua greens which are tricky to read, and can be slower, though with the drier conditions this week, they could be quicker, stimping about 11 1/2-12.

No.17, 208 yards, par 3

This historic hole is where Jack Nicklaus hit the pin with a 1 iron that led to his victory at the 1972 Open, and where Tom Watson chipped in for birdie in 1982 to win that Open over Nicklaus. It typically plays right into the Pacific wind to an hourglass green protected by a massive bunker in the front and smaller bunkers over the green. Key hole on Sunday if you want to win it all.

No. 18, 543 yards, par 5

A picturesque closing hole. The Pacific runs down the entire left side of the hole. If the competitor pulls his drive or has too much draw on the ball, “Foget about it. “ A birdie is challenging as the competitor needs to hit the middle of the fairway clear of the 2 trees right in the center. If the player is right on his second shot there is a tree overhanging in front of the green that is troublesome. There is also a deep bunker on the right side that is also a problem with a bad approach. The green is tricky with slope and not that wide. Depending on how tough the USGA has the course set up, a par might win it for the 119th champion.

Winner

I was thinking Jordan Spieth earlier this week, even coming into today. Spieth has been trending well lately, but listening to him in an interview, he’s too uptight right now. He’s his own worst enemy on the golf course, he’s too negative. Just has a poor attitude right now. I’m not taking him anymore. I don’t see Dustin winning, though he’ll be in contention. Can’t seem to close deals at majors. Rickie Fowler, that would be a negative. Bryson DeChambeau has a shot.

But what tilted the winner for me was what I heard on Live From the U.S. Open on the Golf Channel last night. Rory was the first one complaining about the U.S. Open the past several years, then Tiger was whining about it and Mickelson was the worst. He said the USGA has messed it up all 29 years he’s played, unless it rains. He said they’ll do it again. Cry me a river, Mickelson, Tiger and Rory. You have a privilege that not too many people have and that’s doing something you really enjoy and getting paid a lot of money to do it if you’re successful. Nobody wants to hear that complaining. Mickelson has no room to complain after last year’s total lack of competitive spirit and totally low classed move when he hit a ball that he putted that was still rolling down the hill of the green at Shinnecock in the Open. Then he told the media and people watching, “If you don’t like it, tough it out.” The media and viewers weren’t the problem, it was the little whiner Mickelson, who couldn’t keep his composure enough to play within the rules. I’ve changed my opinion of him completely since then. Not a big fan of the crier. He’s kind of like Urban Meyer really. Just a whiner. He won’t win.

My pick sealed it when he responded to their whining this way. He said,

“Everybody has to play the same course. Everybody needs to hit fairways and greens, If you put it in the fairway and hit greens there’s no reason to complain. Obviously, they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do. Nobody wants to hear excuses.”

Give me a 3 peat

Brooks Koepka

Photo, Golf Digest

Photo, Golf Digest