As with every Major, predicting the winner is challenging at best. The emergence of some old champions and the rise of new ones always muddies the waters. Like the PGA Championship, I believe that this weekends tournament will be dominated my the titans of golf. With one or two exceptions, Pebble Beach will be a beast to tame, but my predictions will be the ones at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday!
119th U.S. Open Championship will be played at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California. Playing just over 7000 yards, the long rough and lightning fast greens will force players to focus on course management instead the ‘bash and recover’ approach to this Major. The USGA will set up Pebble Beach to cause nightmares for the players, but I a hoping that this year, the play would will the centre piece of this Major.
Finishing third will be Henrik Stenson. He is playing very well as of late and I believe that he his ready to make a reappearance on the world stage. He has a complete game and his top 10 finish at the RBC Canadian Open might be what he needed to challenge for the US Open this weekend. What I like the about Stenson’s game is his ability to hit the ball long off the tee with control. This will be a key skill down the stretch on Sunday.
Finishing Second will be Jordan Spieth. This is not a wild card selection by any means. Spieth has worked diligently at fixing his woes and his putting has greatly improved. Spieth’s journey to the top of the leaderboard was rocky and it is about to pay off. If he can keep his jitters under control for the first two rounds, he will be in the last group on Sunday. However, he will be taken down my the current titan of golf.
Rory McIlroy will walk away with the US Open golf trophy. He is playing fantastic and his resounding win last weekend is enough to propel him to the top of the leaderboard after Friday. He is splitting the fairways and firing darts at the pin. If he does miss, his recoveries are solid. McIlroy is playing the best golf in the past 5 years and will demonstrate it this weekend.
My dark horse is Phil Mickelson for two reasons. First, he has won at Pebble Beach already this year and he is my fan favorite. I realize that the USGA will set the course up far differently that the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but course knowledge and winning confidence might be enough for lefty to win the elusive career grand slam.
You will notice I did not mention Brooks Koepka or Tiger Woods. I do not think they will be a factor this year. Brooks is riding a tremendous win streak at the Majors, but I do not see a three-peat in his future. Tiger, like in the last Major, will have challenges. He will make the cut this Major, but will not be in the hunt.
Well, I am out on the prediction limb. I believe the Rory McIlroy will walk away as the 2019 US Open Champion. What do you think? Who do you see winning on Sunday?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!