The U.S. Open is Almost Here, and We’ve Got Some Early Picks

Will Brooks Koepka continue his amazing majors run and claim victory at Pebble Beach? Is Tiger ready to relive his 2019 Masters glory and claim his next major? How about Phil? Our staff offers their choices for who will be hoisting the championship trophy on June 16.

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth

David Williams’ Pick: Jordan Spieth

The “Golden Child” has been struggling for a while now. When you look at his finishes (ignoring the last three weeks) you might grimace, but when you dive into the stats you see he is getting closer.

Spieth finished T7 at The Memorial, which marks his third straight top 10 finish including a T3 at the PGA Championship, where he gained more than 10 strokes on the field in putting! This past week he gained almost two shots to the field on the greens. On the year, Spieth is 5th in strokes gained putting. He also sits 16th in birdie average this year, and 28th in scoring average.

Jordan Spieth has won at Pebble in the past, and it would not shock me to see him hoist that trophy a week from Sunday.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

Kyle Oland’s Pick: Tiger Woods

How can you bet against Tiger Woods right now? “The Cat” is back, and that makes for an entertaining week at Pebble Beach. 

Although he did miss the cut at the PGA Championship, I don’t think we’ll be seeing the same outcome. Tiger is coming off a strong finish at The Memorial and he’s also going to be playing in his home state of California. That’s got to count for something, right?

In the end, picking the winner of a golf tournament is one of the hardest things … so I’m making the easy pick, the no-brainer: Tiger Woods.

Patrick Cantlay
Patrick Cantlay

Jim Maggio’s Pick: Patrick Cantlay

Something tells me we’re due for a first-time major winner next week. And as much as I’d love it to be Rickie Fowler, I’m done waiting for him. So, if not Rickie, who?

Patrick Cantlay got great advice on his way to winning The Memorial last week – from none other than the greatest golfer who ever lived, Jack Nicklaus. Sensing after Round 2 that Cantlay’s competitive intensity might be getting the best of him, Nicklaus went a different route with his counsel: “Look around. Relax. Have fun.” Cantlay remembered it on Sunday, enough to calm his nerves in route to a four-shot victory.

Jack’s advice is one thing, and Cantlay’s recent track record is another. The Memorial win was Cantlay’s fourth top-10 finish in his last five starts, including T3s at the PGA Championship and RBC Heritage, and a T9 at The Masters. Off the tee, if he can do just enough to keep it out of the cabbage the USGA calls the rough in these events, I like his chances.

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson

Bill Golden’s Pick: Dustin Johnson

Why will he win this tournament for the second time?

  • A competitor like DJ wants to erase the 2019 early-season collapse at Pebble from his and everyone else’s memory.
  • Loves Pebble. Plays well there, with back-to-back AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am victories to his credit (2009-2010).
  • DJ’s a ball-striking machine. Driving it in the fairway at Pebble will lead to many wedges; his wedge play has improved dramatically, and can lead to a birdie barrage at the U.S. Open.
  • Putting. Once seen as a weakness, he is now 1st in three-putt avoidance (critical to winning majors), 5th in strokes gained putting.
  • Lowest scoring average on the PGA TOUR 
  • Great play in majors this year, and overall play in U.S. Open since 2014 has led to finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.
  • Brooks Koepka. Nothing worse than losing bragging rights to your buddy; time to get that back.