Welcome to GOLFstats.com!As a special promotion, you are currently viewing one of our special Performance Charts or Preview and Picks posts that we publish each week. We also publish special DraftKings Picks Posts analyzing what picks are the best this week for the DraftKings games, and we do a weekly Key Fantasy Stats Post detailing what stats are most important for this weeks tournament and course, and which players excel in those stats.
Very useful! Our data is updated daily. To access all this info, and so much more, just CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for GOLFstats!

BlogU.S. Open Preview and Picks

U.S. Open

June 17th – 20th, 2021

Torrey Pines South Course

La Jolla, CA

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,652

Purse: $12.5 million

with $2,250,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Bryson DeChambeau

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 77 of the top-100 and 65 of the top-65 in the latest Official World Rankings.

Last year there were 89 of the top-100 players and 57 of the top-60.

The field includes 34 of the top 34 on the FedEx point standings for 2021.

21 major championship winners that have won 38 majors, led by 6-time winner Phil Mickelson.  The other 20 are Rory McIlroy (4), Brooks Koepka (4), Jordan Spieth (3), Dustin Johnson(2), Zach Johnson (2), Bubba Watson (2), Martin Kaymer (2), Sergio Garcia, Shane Lowry, Collin Morikawa, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Henrik Stenson, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker & Gary Woodland.

The field includes 9 past champions: Bryson DeChambeau (2020), Gary Woodland (2019), Brooks Koepka (2017, 2018), Dustin Johnson (2016), Jordan Spieth (2015), Martin Kaymer (2014), Justin Rose (2013), Webb Simpson (2012) and Rory McIlroy (2011).  Of these 10 champions, they have won a total of 13 U.S. Opens

9 amateur participants are in this year’s field.  Here’s a look at the amateurs in the field this year: Pierceson Coody, Joe Long, Matthew Sharpstene, Andrew Kozan, Ollie Osborne, Joe Highsmith, Cole Hammer, Matthias Schmid and Spencer Ralston.  Oh for those wondering since World War II who had the most amateurs play 72 holes it was 6 in 2015 and 1959.

13 amateur participants competed in the 2020 U.S. Open with John Pak the only amateur to play 72 holes (finished T-51st)

16 amateur participants competed in the 2019 U.S. Open (four of them played 72 holes),

20 amateur participants competed in the 2018 U.S. Open.

In 2017 there were 14 amateurs in the field, in 2015, 16 amateurs were in the field and six advanced to the weekend. This is the eighth consecutive year that 10 or more amateurs are competing.

U.S. Open runners-up (9): Tommy Fleetwood (2018), Brian Harman (2017), Dustin Johnson (2015), Brooks Koepka (2019), Shane Lowry (2016), Hideki Matsuyama (2017), Phil Mickelson (1999, 2002, ’04, ’06, ’09, ’13), Louis Oosthuizen (2015) and Matthew Wolff (2020).

U.S. Amateur champions (7) in the field: Bryson DeChambeau (2015), Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013), Viktor Hovland (2018), Matt Kuchar (1997), Phil Mickelson (1990), Edoardo Molinari (2005) and Tyler Strafaci (2020).

USGA champions (20) in the field: Bryson DeChambeau (2015 U.S. Amateur, 2020 U.S. Open), Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013 U.S. Amateur), Cole Hammer (2018 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball), Brian Harman (2003 U.S. Junior Amateur), Viktor Hovland (2018 U.S. Amateur), Dustin Johnson (2016 U.S. Open), Martin Kaymer (2014 U.S. Open), Brooks Koepka (2017, ’18 U.S. Open), Matt Kuchar (1997 U.S. Amateur), Rory McIlroy (2011 U.S. Open), Phil Mickelson (1990 U.S. Amateur), Edoardo Molinari (2005 U.S. Amateur), Chez Reavie (2001 U.S. Amateur Public Links), Justin Rose (2013 U.S. Open), Scottie Scheffler (2013 U.S. Junior Amateur), Webb Simpson (2012 U.S. Open), Jordan Spieth (2009, ’11 U.S. Junior Amateurs, 2015 U.S. Open), Tyler Strafaci (2020 U.S. Amateur), Gary Woodland (2019 U.S. Open), and Will Zalatoris (2014 U.S. Junior Amateur)

Players in the field with the most U.S. Open appearances: (not including this year) Phil Mickelson (29), Sergio Garcia (21), Stewart Cink (20), Adam Scott (19), Lee Westwood (19), Matt Kuchar (18), Paul Casey (17), Zach Johnson (17), Ian Poulter (15) and Justin Rose (15)

Active consecutive U.S. Open appearances: (not including this year): Sergio Garcia (21), Adam Scott (19), Zach Johnson (17), Dustin Johnson (13), Martin Kaymer (13), Matt Kuchar (13) and Rory McIlroy (12).

2021 U.S. Open Players Who Competed in 2008 U.S. Open (14): Paul Casey (T-65), Stewart Cink (T-14), Sergio Garcia (T-18), Dustin Johnson (T-48), Zach Johnson (MC), Martin Kaymer (T-53), Matt Kuchar (T-48), Phil Mickelson (T-18), Justin Rose (MC), Adam Scott (T-26), Henrik Stenson (MC), Kevin Streelman (T-53), Bubba Watson (MC), Lee Westwood (3)

Phil Mickelson, who turns 51 on June 16, the day before the championship begins, is the oldest player in this year’s U.S. Open field. Mickelson won this year’s PGA Championship, his sixth professional major. He is a six-time U.S. Open runner-up. Akshay Bhatia, who was the runner-up to Michael Thorbjornsen in the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur, is the youngest at age 19 (born Jan. 31, 2002).

The field for the ages:  There are six players in the 2021 U.S. Open field who will be 21 years old or younger when the first round begins on Thursday, June 17. Pierceson Coody and Cole Hammer, who are both 21, are teammates at the University of Texas and members of the winning 2021 USA Walker Cup Team.

There are 23 players in the field who are 40 or older. Stewart Cink, 48, has won twice on the PGA Tour in the 2020-21 season. Lee Westwood, 48, finished third behind Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Justin Rose, 40, won the 2013 U.S. Open.

The average age of the 156-player field is 31.05.

International Group: There are 26 countries represented in the 2021 U.S. Open. The United States has 84 players in the field, while England has 14, South Africa 9 and Australia has 7.

Countries with players in the field: United States (85), England (14), South Africa (9), Australia (7), Canada (4), Japan (4), Republic of Korea (4), Mexico (4), Italy (3), Spain (3), France (2), Germany (2), Scotland (2), Argentina (1), Austria (1), Belgium (1), Chile (1), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Republic of Ireland (1), Northern Ireland (1), Norway (1), Peru (1), Poland (1), Sweden (1) and Venezuela (1)

First time at the U.S. Open: There are 43 players in the 2021 championship field who are playing in their first U.S. Open. Garrick Higgo, of South Africa, has won twice on the PGA European Tour and once on the PGA Tour this season. Marcus Armitage, of England, recorded his first career victory at the PGA European Tour’s Porsche European Open by carding a final-round 65 on June 7. Peter Malnati owns a PGA Tour victory, the 2015 Sanderson Farms Championship. Hayden Buckley was a winner on the Korn Ferry Tour when he survived a three-man playoff in the Lecom Suncoast Classic on Feb. 21.

List of First-Time U.S. Open Players (43): Marcus Armitage, Yosuke Asaji, Chris Baker, Luis Fernando Barco, Akshay Bhatia, Hayden Buckley, Mario Carmona, Wyndham Clark, Eric Cole, a-Pierceson Coody, Roy Cootes, Dave Coupland, Wilson Furr, Fabian Gomez, James Hervol, Garrick Higgo, a-Joe Highsmith, Bo Hoag, Michael Johnson, Brad Kennedy, a-Andrew Kozan, Rick Lamb, a-Joe Long, Peter Malnati, Adrian Meronk, Guido Migliozzi, Taylor Montgomery, Wilco Nienaber, Alvaro Ortiz, a-Charles Osborne, a-Spencer Ralston, Carson Schaake, a-Matthias Schmid, a-Matt Sharpstene, Davis Shore, Jordan Smith, John Spaun, Hayden Springer, Zack Sucher, Johannes Veerman, Kyle Westmoreland, Dylan Wu, and Zach Zaback

Players with local knowledge:

Xander Schauffele was born in San Diego, Calif., and graduated from Scripps Ranch High School. He won the state high school championship in 2011. Schauffele, who captured the 2014 California State Amateur and was twice runner-up, earned All-America honors at San Diego State University. He has finished no lower than a tie for sixth in four U.S. Opens played. He T-3rd in 2019 at Pebble Beach Golf Links and was 5th last year at Winged Foot Golf Club.

Charley Hoffman, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., is returning to his native San Diego for this year’s U.S. Open. Hoffman, who attended nearby Poway High School, won two state high school titles in 1994 and 1995. He has played in seven U.S. Opens and his best finish was 8th in 2017 at Erin Hills. Hoffman, 44, earned an exemption this year through the Official World Golf Ranking, as of June 7. He owns four career PGA Tour victories.

Phil Mickelson, a runner-up in the U.S. Open six times, returns to Torrey Pines Golf Course, the site of three of his 45 PGA Tour victories. He captured the Buick Invitational (now Farmers Insurance Open) in 1993, 2000 and 2001. Mickelson, who has won six major professional championships, T-18th in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. He was born in San Diego and attended the University of San Diego High School.

Brothers in the field: There are two sets of brothers playing in the U.S. Open for the first time since 1990. Alvaro and Carlos Ortiz, of Mexico, and Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, of Italy, will play this week at Torrey Pines Golf Course. The Molinari’s are playing in the same U.S. Open for the third time, having also competed in 2010 and 2011. Francesco, who won the 2018 Open Championship, will make his 11th start and Edoardo will play in his fourth U.S. Open. Carlos and Alvaro Ortiz will compete in their third and first championships, respectively. Bobby and Lanny Wadkins and Ivan and Michael E. Smith were the brothers in the U.S. Open field 31 years ago at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club.

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the U.S. Open field is our performance chart listed by the average finish. Now another helpful list is the performance chart for those playing in the Farmers Insurance.  Remember, one round is played on the North Course which is included in this list.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the U.S. Open in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the U.S. Open.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the U.S. Open

Player Palmetto Champ. Memorial Charles Schwab PGA Champ. Byron Nelson Wells Fargo Valspar Champ. Zurich Classic RBC Heritage Masters Valero Texas WGC – Match Play Corales Puntacana
Jordan Spieth
(315.17 pts)
DNP T18
(32)
2
(100)
T30
(26.67)
T9
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
Win
(44)
T9
(22.5)
DNP
Abraham Ancer
(244.33 pts)
DNP DNP T14
(36)
T8
(66.67)
DNP 2
(66.67)
5
(23.33)
DNP T18
(10.67)
T26
(16)
T23
(9)
T18
(16)
DNP
Scottie Scheffler
(243.67 pts)
DNP 3
(90)
CUT
(-10)
T8
(66.67)
T47
(2)
DNP T29
(7)
T8
(16.67)
DNP T18
(21.33)
T54
(0)
2
(50)
DNP
Collin Morikawa
(239 pts)
DNP 2
(100)
T14
(36)
T8
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T7
(18.33)
T18
(21.33)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(231.33 pts)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP T2
(133.33)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
2
(33.33)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP
Charley Hoffman
(207 pts)
DNP T57
(0)
T3
(90)
T17
(44)
DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
T11
(13)
T18
(10.67)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T34
(5.33)
Shane Lowry
(205 pts)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP T4
(106.67)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP DNP T9
(15)
T21
(19.33)
DNP T42
(4)
DNP
Patrick Reed
(185 pts)
DNP 5
(70)
CUT
(-10)
T17
(44)
DNP T6
(40)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP
Ian Poulter
(183.83 pts)
T25
(25)
DNP T3
(90)
T30
(26.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T21
(9.67)
DNP T48
(0.67)
T26
(16)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP
Patrick Cantlay
(180.33 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T23
(36)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T11
(13)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP
Phil Mickelson
(178.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
Win
(176)
DNP 69
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Kevin Streelman
(171.17 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
T20
(30)
T8
(66.67)
DNP T26
(16)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T33
(5.67)
DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP
Jon Rahm
(165.67 pts)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP T8
(66.67)
T34
(10.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 7
(18.33)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T5
(35)
DNP
Will Zalatoris
(162.33 pts)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
T8
(66.67)
T17
(22)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T42
(2.67)
2
(66.67)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP
Corey Conners
(160.33 pts)
DNP T53
(0)
T20
(30)
T17
(44)
DNP T43
(4.67)
T21
(9.67)
DNP T4
(26.67)
T8
(33.33)
T14
(12)
T61
(0)
DNP
Jason Kokrak
(160 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
T49
(1.33)
DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
T21
(9.67)
DNP 49
(0.67)
DNP T42
(4)
DNP
Tyrrell Hatton
(157.67 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP T38
(16)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
T39
(3.67)
T18
(21.33)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP
Tony Finau
(153.33 pts)
DNP T32
(18)
T20
(30)
T8
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T17
(11)
DNP T10
(26.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T28
(11)
DNP
Viktor Hovland
(151.33 pts)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP T30
(26.67)
DNP T3
(60)
T3
(30)
T25
(8.33)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP T42
(4)
DNP
Billy Horschel
(147.67 pts)
DNP 67
(0)
T40
(10)
T23
(36)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
T25
(8.33)
T50
(0.67)
DNP Win
(66)
DNP
Justin Rose
(143 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
T8
(66.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T11
(13)
DNP 7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(142 pts)
DNP T62
(0)
DNP T23
(36)
T39
(7.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
T30
(6.67)
T42
(4)
DNP
Paul Casey
(140 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(106.67)
DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T26
(16)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP
Jhonattan Vegas
(139.33 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP T9
(30)
T43
(4.67)
T48
(0.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T18
(10.67)
Xander Schauffele
(138.67 pts)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP
Garrick Higgo
(132 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Sam Burns
(132 pts)
DNP T50
(1)
DNP WD
(-6.67)
2
(66.67)
DNP Win
(44)
T4
(26.67)
T39
(3.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Brian Harman
(130.67 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
T12
(25.33)
DNP T5
(35)
DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(129.67 pts)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T3
(60)
T14
(24)
T21
(9.67)
2
(33.33)
DNP T26
(16)
T69
(0)
DNP DNP
Rory McIlroy
(125.67 pts)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP T49
(1.33)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP
Matt Fitzpatrick
(112.67 pts)
T10
(40)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T23
(36)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
T34
(10.67)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP
Gary Woodland
(112 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T14
(36)
T38
(16)
DNP 5
(46.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T40
(6.67)
T6
(20)
DNP DNP
Daniel Berger
(111.67 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
T75
(0)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP
Brooks Koepka
(110 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T2
(133.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Stewart Cink
(107.67 pts)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP T30
(26.67)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(107.67 pts)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP
Troy Merritt
(106.67 pts)
DNP T50
(1)
7
(55)
DNP T7
(36.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T8
(16.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP T34
(5.33)
Matt Wallace
(101.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T56
(0)
T55
(0)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP T23
(9)
T18
(10.67)
T34
(10.67)
3
(30)
T28
(11)
DNP
K.H. Lee
(99.67 pts)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
Win
(88)
T58
(0)
T29
(7)
T23
(9)
T56
(0)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP DNP
Branden Grace
(99.33 pts)
DNP 4
(80)
WD
(-5)
T38
(16)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T42
(2.67)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP DNP
Cameron Smith
(86.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
T9
(15)
T10
(26.67)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP
Harris English
(85.33 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP DNP T64
(0)
T13
(24.67)
T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T21
(19.33)
DNP T42
(4)
DNP
Bryson DeChambeau
(84.67 pts)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP T38
(16)
T55
(0)
T9
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T46
(2.67)
DNP T42
(4)
DNP
Bubba Watson
(83.83 pts)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP 80
(0)
DNP T18
(21.33)
T13
(12.33)
T8
(16.67)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP
Max Homa
(80.33 pts)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T6
(20)
T17
(11)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP
Joaquin Niemann
(78.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T50
(1)
T30
(26.67)
DNP T18
(21.33)
T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP
Sebastian Munoz
(78.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T3
(90)
CUT
(-13.33)
T55
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T40
(6.67)
T9
(15)
T61
(0)
DNP
Webb Simpson
(78 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(15)
T12
(25.33)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP
Si Woo Kim
(66.67 pts)
DNP T9
(45)
WD
(-5)
CUT
(-13.33)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
T12
(25.33)
T23
(9)
T56
(0)
DNP
Matt Kuchar
(66.33 pts)
DNP WD
(-5)
T50
(1)
CUT
(-13.33)
T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T12
(12.67)
3
(45)
DNP
Ryan Palmer
(63.17 pts)
DNP DNP T32
(18)
CUT
(-13.33)
T47
(2)
DNP T63
(0)
7
(18.33)
DNP T34
(10.67)
T17
(11)
17
(16.5)
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(60 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T46
(2.67)
DNP T5
(35)
DNP
Carlos Ortiz
(57.33 pts)
DNP T16
(34)
T40
(10)
T55
(0)
T21
(19.33)
T65
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T42
(4)
DNP
Justin Thomas
(56.33 pts)
DNP T42
(8)
T40
(10)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T26
(16)
T13
(12.33)
DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP T42
(4)
DNP
Erik Van Rooyen
(55.5 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(11)
DNP DNP T14
(12)
T9
(22.5)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the U.S. Open

Player Palmetto Champ. Memorial Charles Schwab PGA Champ. Byron Nelson Wells Fargo Valspar Champ. Zurich Classic RBC Heritage Masters Valero Texas WGC – Match Play Corales Puntacana
Peter Malnati
(-32.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T43
(4.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
31
(6.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
John Huh
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T69
(0)
DNP DNP
Dylan Frittelli
(-20.83 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T56
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP
Fabian Gomez
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
Tom Hoge
(-19 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
T64
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T25
(8.33)
DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP
Cole Hammer
(-16.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Joe Long
(-16.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Patrick Rodgers
(-16 pts)
T50
(1)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T47
(2)
T37
(8.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T43
(2.33)
Lanto Griffin
(-15.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T26
(16)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T34
(5.33)
T61
(0)
DNP
Mackenzie Hughes
(-14.17 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T52
(0)
T40
(6.67)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP
Zack Sucher
(-14 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 32
(6)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Kisner
(-14 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T40
(10)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP
Martin Kaymer
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Akshay Bhatia
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Tyler Strafaci
(-13.33 pts)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

This could be a magical event if only…

…Phil Mickelson could win.  Yes, many will think this is an impossible dream, but I think it could happen.  This will be Mickelson’s 30th U.S.Open, which is the same amount of Opens that Bryson DeChambeau (6), Xander Schauffele (4), Viktor Hovland (2), Tony Finau (5), Brooks Koepka (7), and Justin Thomas (6) have played in.  The big story of the week will be how Phil does at Torrey.  On Wednesday, he turns 51, and there will not be one person not rooting for Mickelson this week.  To think that Phil has played golf in all the years, the only thing on his record missing is a U.S. Open victory.  He has come close many times, including finishing runner-up six times.  But for the way things worked out, when the USGA decided in 2014 to pick Torrey Pines, nobody would imagine this happening.  The thought of Phil Mickelson completing his career winning his 7th major at the course that he grew up just a few miles away and where he played countless times as a kid.  The victory would place Phil in one of the unique clubs in golf, those that have won all four majors.  There are only five members, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Tiger Woods.

Nobody could have written this script back in 2014, and it will be the big storyline this week.  But for many, the thought of this happening is too far-fetched until Phil won the PGA Championship a month ago.  To be honest, the odds of Phil doing it are incredible if you think of it.  First, you have Phil’s age. When was the last time the U.S. Open saw someone in his 50s make a Sunday run? Tricky question, the only time since World War II that it has happened was in 1973 when Julius Boron, at the age of 53, was a co-leader going into Sunday.  He shot 73 and finished T-7th.  The point is, you don’t see 50 year-olds contenting at the U.S. Open.  It’s just too damn hard.

Then you have the Rees Jones factor.  He was the person that redid Torrey Pines in 2011, and since, Phil has never liked the changes.  So I would say that in the last two weeks, Mickelson has spent his time trying to convince himself that, yes, he could play well and win at Torrey again.

Phil is a remarkable person and to think that after all these years, his game is as close to the way it was 30 years ago is incredible.  At 50, most players look forward to playing the senior tour and figuring out how to spend their millions of dollars.  But for Mickelson, 50 is nothing but a number.  He has pushed himself with his health that he is still pretty limber.  He also has worked on his diet and is constantly tinkering with his equipment, giving himself as much of an advantage as possible.  So with that, what are his chances?  Some will say they are about as good as the 1962 New York Mets that only won 40 of 160 games.  Frankly, I give Mickelson the same odds, 42-1 that Buster Douglas had on him in his fight with Mike Tyson in 1990.  But if you ask Douglas, he told everyone before the fight that he had worked very hard and felt he could beat Tyson.  He did it with a 10th round knockout.  The same with Mickelson, he would say that he is ready to go and looking for that knockout.  At the end of the day, there aren’t many people who will root against Phil, he is the sentimental favorite this week.

How about that rough? Boy, it’s really rough.

I love the USGA and the way they set up courses.  They can go years in getting it right, but when they stumble, you know that the players of the following U.S. Open will suffer.  Last year they thought that they had the Winged Foot setup perfect.  Despite moving from June to September, Winged Foot was able to get through the summer heat, and the rough was pretty deep, and the USGA thought they would have a great Open, especially since it was returning to the staple of what the USGA is, a challenging, fair golf course.  In the USGA’s thinking, they want a winner that plays 72 holes in even par.  They also love that traditional winner that hits the most fairways, usually about 40 of the 56 fairways, hits 50 of the 72 greens, and plays solidly over the 72 holes.  In ways, many believe that is what happened last year with DeChambeau winning, but in the USGA’s mind, that never happened.  That is because DeChambeau took advantage of the one thing that the USGA never thought of.  They prepped the course perfectly, the rough was at an excellent level to give most players fits, and they felt the course was perfect for the Championship.  But in practice rounds, DeChambeau realized that the rough wasn’t that rough for his mighty swing and would be able to get the ball out of the rough, especially if he was close to the green.  So Bryson took out his driver and bombed away, not worrying about the repercussions if he missed the fairway.  While everyone in the field was having a tough time and went out of their way to hit as many fairways as possible, Bryson and runner-up Matthew Wolff swung away for the fences and even if they missed the fairways, had wedges left to the greens and with that club the rough was manageable.  Wolff hit only 19 of the 56 fairways, while Bryson hit 23 of the fairways.  Even Xander Schauffele, another long hitter, hit only 17 fairways and still finished 5th.  So despite seeming happy when they handed DeChambeau the trophy for winning, they realized that the importance of the rough is not the length that it is, but its density.  They remembered that when they were setting up Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open, they also remembered something that happened in 2008.

Torrey Pines is a tough course when the Farmers Insurance Open is played every January.  But for this year’s U.S. Open, it’s going to be super hard.  When the U.S. Open was played at Torrey in 2008, the USGA couldn’t take advantage of a hidden secret that the course has Kikuyu grass.  That grass is a weed from South Africa, and it’s a tough weed that superintendents try to avoid.  The reason the grass was made is to protect the grass from horses in polo matches.  You find it mainly in Southern California, and with lots of sunshine and heat, the weed strives.  We all know about the grass during the Genesis Invitational played at Riviera because that course prides itself over Kikuyu grass.  But little is said on Torrey Pines since the course is dormant in January.  Back in 2008, the USGA knew about Kikuyu and wanted its tough texture in the rough.  Just before the 2008 Farmers, the course was overseeded with ryegrass.  For the tournament, the grass was high, and they kept the rough high in the months leading to the U.S. Open.  Unfortunately, by keeping the rough high, the Kikuyu, which was below the rye, never got the sunlight to grow in the spring, and by the time the U.S. Open came around, the Kikuyu was not there.  It didn’t matter, even without the grass, the Open played tough as the winning score was just 1 under par.

So for this year’s U.S. Open, the USGA wanted to make sure that the Kikuyu was there.  After the Farmers, the course shaved the rough way down and reduced the way they overseeded the course with ryegrass.  So the Kikuyu has taken hold, and the rough is much higher than in 2008 along with its density.  So as many that have played Torrey in the last week realize, the strongest players won’t overpower the Kikuyu, thus if you hit it into the rough, you will pay a cost, even if you’re between 100 and 150 yards from the green.

So depending on the weather and wind, we should see a very penal U.S. Open, and the odds are excellent that the winning score will be over par, kind of the way the USGA likes it.

So who will win is the million-dollar question.

Lots of players coming into this week hot, have to think that Jon Rahm is the hottest.  He played great at the Memorial and sealed the deal with his third-round 64.  The most significant find for Rahm that week was a new putter, but he was thrown for a loop when he tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw.  But the biggest problem was that he had to spend the next ten days in quarantine, meaning he couldn’t play golf and practice. Rahm’s got out of quarantine is Tuesday, so he won’t have much time to work on things and prepare the way he wants.  Still, he knows the course and does well on it, so I feel he is the man to beat this week.

Also, like Collin Morikawa, who comes to Torrey playing well.  He lost a playoff to Patrick Cantlay, but we all know that Morikawa can win at Torrey.  It’s a bit like last year’s PGA Championship, Morikawa will be looking to win a major on a public course.  Talking about Cantlay, he too is a favorite along with Viktor Hovland.  We shouldn’t forget about Louis Oosthuizen, he has been very consistent since the Masters and will make a run.  The player I love the most is Xander Schauffele, mostly because he was raised close to Torrey Pines and was runner-up at the Farmers in January.

Two players to watch will be Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka.  They both have had good runs, Brooks won in Phoenix in January, and Rory won the Wells Fargo last month.  For Koepke, we have to wonder how close to 100% he is.  Yes, he is in better shape than he was at the Masters, he showed that with his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship.  One thing that eliminates Brooks in my mind is Poa Annua, he struggled on those greens and has avoided Torrey over the years.  On the other end of the spectrum, Rory likes Torrey and could make a run this week.  At the end of the day, it’s down to consistency, which is Rory’s big problem this year.

Two players I don’t like are Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson. They mainly seem to avoid the Farmers, so you have to think they don’t like Torrey.  Dustin is stinging from missing the cuts at the Masters and PGA Championship, but I still don’t think he will do well.  Justin can go in any direction, but I feel negativity will creep in, and he will find himself trying to make the cut like he did at Kiawah.

One thing that we can’t forget is the severity of the rough.  It’s that bad that I can see 80% of the field not being able to handle it, which leaves us with about 30 players who have a realistic chance.

Championship information:

The inaugural U.S. Open was slated for September of 1895. However, the Open and the inaugural U.S. Amateur were delayed due to a scheduling conflict with the more popular sporting event, America’s Cup yacht races. Finally, the first U.S. Open was played on Oct. 4, 1895, on a nine-hole course at the Newport Golf and Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island. The first U.S. Open was somewhat overshadowed by the first U.S. Amateur tournament, played concurrently at the Newport Golf and Country Club. The small field consisted of just 10 professionals and one amateur. Horace Rawlins, the assistant at Newport Golf and Country Club, captured the first U.S. Open. The format for the tournament was 36 holes squeezed into one day, with four trips around the nine-hole course in Newport.

In 1898, the U.S. Open switched to a 72-hole format, two days of 36-holes. For the first few years, the field was routinely riddled with amateurs as well as British and Scottish professionals. The popularity of the event dwindled until Americans began to dominate, starting with John McDermott in 1911. The U.S. Open experienced a dramatic jump in popularity in 1913 when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old American amateur, defeated famed British professionals Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in a playoff. Popularity for the U.S. Open began to soar even higher in the early 1920s. In 1922, the U.S. Open sold tickets to the event for the first time. A year later, Bobby Jones, an amateur golfer from Georgia, won his first of four U.S. Opens. By 1924, an enormous influx of applicants to compete in the U.S. Open forced the USGA to hold sectional qualifying to determine who would receive an entry into the field.

In 1926, the format for the tournament was again switched. Players would play 72 holes, 18 holes on each of the first two days, followed by 36 holes on the third and final day. The changes to the U.S. Open format were paralleled by an almost systematic phase-out of the amateur player. Though amateurs still compete annually, John Goodman was the last amateur to win the U.S. Open, taking the 1933 crown at the North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois. Jack Nicklaus’s second-place finish at the 1960 U.S. Open is the best finish by an amateur since Goodman’s victory in 1933.

The U.S. Open saw relatively few changes between 1935 and 1954. In 1954, the course was roped off from tee to green for the first time and broadcast on national television. Arnold Palmer’s historic comeback victory in 1960 further boosted the tournament’s popularity. But it was the 1962 U.S. Open, in which Jack Nicklaus defeated Arnold Palmer in a Monday playoff, that would catapult “America’s Championship” to the forefront of the golf world.

Over the next 18 years, from 1962 to 1980, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer combined to win four U.S. Opens. Fans flocked to the U.S. Open in droves to see the budding rivalry. In 1965, to accommodate the growing fan base, the U.S. Open switched from the three-day, 72-hole format to the current, four-day, 72-hole format.

In 1971, Lee Trevino’s victory at the U.S. Open was the catalyst as he went on to play, arguably, the three most significant weeks of golf. After winning the U.S. Open, Trevino captured the Canadian Open crown, followed by the British Open crown. A feat that to this day has not been matched. Trevino and the already well-established Nicklaus and Palmer created a trio that further launched the event into the American limelight. In 1977, ABC began live coverage of the final two rounds of U.S. Open play. By 1982, upstart cable channel ESPN was broadcasting the Thursday and Friday rounds.

In 1994, the U.S. Open at Oakmont was the venue for Ernie Els’ first victory in America. Els and Loren Roberts both shot 74, while Colin Montgomerie shot a 78. Els claimed the title by defeating Loren Roberts on the second sudden-death playoff hole.  Els and a slew of other foreign champions paved the way for the first qualifying tournaments held outside the United States.

But for the masses, nothing will compare to Tiger Woods’s victory in 2000 at Pebble Beach.  First of all, it was the 100th U.S. Open. Secondly, it was held on one of the great courses in the world that comprised the beauty of an oceanside course that stunned the viewers and fans but on a tough course in which wind played an important factor. It was also perfect timing for Tiger Woods to win his first Open title in a dominating way. At 12 under, he finished 15 strokes ahead of Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez to become the first double-digit winner relative to par.  The win brought the U.S. Open into a different focus as it began its second decade of play.

Course information:
  • Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course)
  • San Diego, Ca.
  • 7,652 yards
  • Par will be 35 – 36  = 71

The South Course opened first on June 19th, 1957, with Paul Runyan, Ralph Duldahl, Olin Dutra, and a local pro, Don Gillett, the first to play it.  Five months later, the North Course opened.  Hard to believe that since the courses opened over 58 years ago, over 14 million rounds have been played on both courses.

The two courses were Leo Calland’s brainchild, then director of San Diego’s park and recreation department. He pushed hard to change an old World War II camp into a golf course.  When he got permission, Bell came in and covered over the blacktop and could use the excess concrete to roll fairways on a flat site.  The lure of both courses after they opened was the views of the ocean on every hole.  Both courses sit atop of bluffs overlooking the Pacific. A couple of years later, these views were seen nationally when Challenge Golf filmed one of their matches with Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Sam Snead, and Doug Sanders.

A decade later, the San Diego Open was looking around for a home.  Since the tournament was first played in 1952, it never really found a home.  It was played on several different courses, but in 1968 it would embark on a significant change.  It decided to copy several west coast tournaments by getting a headline celebrity to host the event bringing Andy Williams, one of the biggest stars on television, with a weekly show.  They also needed financial support and asked for the city to use Torrey Pines free of charge.  It was a match made in heaven.  The course proved very popular not only with the pros but the TV audience that watched it.

Since then, Torrey Pines has been the home of the Farmers Insurance.  After the 2001 Farmers, the South course went through an extensive revamping process.  With the chance of getting the 2008 U.S. Open, $3.3 million was spent with Rees Jones, adding a lot of length to the course.  The course could stretch to 7,700 yards with the changes, although the PGA Tour played it below that figure.  Though Jones didn’t change the course’s routing, he did redo all the bunkers and changed four holes, moving greens on the third, fourth, fourteen, and fifteen holes.  With all the changes, it brought some bite back to a course which 50 years ago was considered very difficult by the touring professionals.  Average scores were up almost two shots compared to past years, and the winning score in 2002 of 275 was along with two other years the highest winning score in 20 years.  The revamp proved such a big success with the players, media, and fans that the USGA gave the 2008 U.S. Open to Torrey Pines, and that was such a big success bringing the U.S. Open back to Torrey.

To get ready for the 2021 U.S. Open, course architect Rees Jones returned after the 2019 event to prepare the course by making numerous subtle changes.  $14 million was spent to renovate and strengthen the course by installing a new irrigation system.  They also reseeded every tee, redid every bunker, and redid the areas around all 18 greens without doing anything to the greens. The most striking alterations come on the 4th, 9th, 10th, 15th, and 17th holes. Tees were moved to make it harder to drive in the fairway, and new bunkers were added to make players think more about a shot.  So the changes will add more of a premium on accurate driving, but another thing the changes did was add another 67 yards to the course, making it play to 7,652, which is not only the longest course on tour but long enough.  As one pro Beau Hossler said to Tod Leonard of the San Diego Tribune:

“They’re kind of seemingly taking away the easy holes and turning them into moderate holes.  So, basically, there are no easy holes out here when you play it all the way back.”  So it will be interesting to see how much harder the course will play, of course, if the weather is perfect like predicted, scores will be low, and we may never know until either next year’s Farmers or when the U.S. Open is played on the course.

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing at Torrey Pines.

This is based on the most important stats for Torrey Pines South Course, based on data from last January’s Farmers Insurance Open, and using data from all the players in the field for stats from the 2021 Farmers Insurance played last January.
When Torrey Pines was played in January the South course played to a 73.34 average, the 3rd hardest course of the year. Looking back at the 2008 U.S. Open played at Torrey Pines, remember that the course played to a par 71 with the sixth hole reduced to a par 4, the course played to an average of 74.71 the third-highest average on tour.
Now the course for this year’s U.S. Open may be the same, but the characteristics will be changed drastically. First is the par, it will be a par 71 this week with the sixth hole playing as a par 4. Another item will be the rough, it’s not only super high but will be brutal to hit out of. Last year at Winged Foot the winner Bryson Drachmae only hit 3 of 56 fairways. Despite the rough being high at Winged Foot, in practice rounds, DeChambeau realized that the rough wasn’t that rough for his powerful swing and would be able to get the ball out of the rough, especially if he was close to the green. So Bryson took out his driver and bombed away not worrying about the repercussions if he missed the fairway. While everyone in the field was having a tough time and went out of their way to hit as many fairways as possible, Bryson and runner-up Matthew Wolff swung away for the fences and even if they missed the fairways, had short irons left to the greens. Wolff hit only 19 of the 56 fairways while Bryson hit 23 of the fairways. Even Xander Schauffele, another long hitter hit only 17 fairways and still finished 5th. So despite seeming happy when they handed DeChambeau the trophy for winning, the USGA realized that the importance of the rough is not the length that it is, but its density. In the weeks after the Open, the USGA remembered not only that when they were setting up Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open, but they also remembered something that happened in 2008.
When the U.S. Open was played at Torrey in 2008, the USGA wasn’t able to take advantage of a hidden secret that the course has Kikuyu grass. That grass is a weed from South Africa and it’s a really hard weed that superintendents try to avoid. The reason the grass was made to protect the grass from horses in polo matches. You find it mostly in Southern California and with lots of sunshine and heat, the weed strives. The grass is mostly a summer grass for Torrey Pines and that is why the pros never see it. We all know about the grass during the Genesis Invitational played at Riviera because that course prides itself over Kikuyu grass. But little is said on Torrey Pines since the grass is dormant in January. Back to 2008 the USGA knew about Kikuyu and wanted its tough texture in the rough. Just before the 2008 Farmers, the course was overseeded with ryegrass. For the tournament the grass was high and they kept the rough high in the months leading to the U.S. Open. Unfortunately by keeping the rough high the Kikuyu which was below the rye never got the sunlight to grow in the spring and by the time the U.S. Open came around the Kikuyu was not there. Didn’t matter, even without the grass the Open played tough as the winning score was just 1 under par.
So for this year’s U.S. Open, the USGA wanted to make sure that the Kikuyu was there. After the Farmers, the course shaved the rough way down and reduced the way they overseeded the course with ryegrass. So the Kikuyu has taken hold and the rough is much higher than in 2008 along with its density. So as many that have played Torrey in the last week realize, the Kikuyu won’t be overpowered by the strongest players, thus if you hit it into the rough you will pay a cost, even if you’re between 100 and 150 yards from the green.
So depending on the weather and wind, we should see a very penal U.S. Open, and the odds are great that the winning score will be over par, kind of the way the USGA likes it.

So here are the four categories of importance for someone to win the U.S. Open this week. In January we know the rough was high in the Farmers and the course played hard. So our first stat is Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. That is important because to play well this week it’s determined that if you hit it into the rough, it spells a bogey. From over a 100 yards out, getting it onto the green is important. Also, the course is being played at 7,652 which is long. So not only does a player have to hit it long they have to hit it straight. In January Torrey Pines South ranked 21st in driving distance, meaning the ball didn’t get much roll. And it was 6th in Driving accuracy as only 52.64% of the fairways were hit. The course was 12th in greens in regulation so again hitting greens is important. Taking all of these stats into one is the reason we pick as our first category Strokes Gained Tee to Green.
Our second choice is Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green which is a combination of hitting the green from the fairway and round. In looking at Torrey Pines from January the course was 12th in Proximity to hole and 7th in Rough Proximity. This is important because we want to see players hitting the green from not only the fairway but the rough. This is probably a misnomer rough proximity because the rough for this week’s U.S. Open will be more severe than it was in January.
Our third choice is Strokes Gained Putting which tells us how many strokes a player gains with the putter. For last January all the putting stats were at the top showing how hard the greens are to make putts.
Last is scrambling which in January ranked 4th. In winning any U.S. Open the importance of getting up and down when a green is missed is so important.

So here are our four choices for the most critical stats from players to do well at Torrey Pines South:

*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: It’s a combination of hitting it straight and hitting it far. Since Torrey is so long, you have to hit the driver off of most tees. But the fairways are narrow, and the rough is hard if you get into it.

*Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green: It’s a combination of hitting the green from either the fairway or the rough.

*Strokes Gained Putting: This gauges how many putts a player gains on the greens. With Torrey having Poa Annua greens making all of these putts is essential and a challenge for players.

*Scrambling: This stat shows who gets it up and down the best, an important stat since greens will be missed.

93 of the 156 players from this year’s field with stats from this year:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is a link to all 93 stats from this year.

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:
  • Jon Rahm – $11,200
  • Jordan Spieth – $10,900
  • Dustin Johnson – $10,700
  • Bryce DeChambeau – $10,400
  • Brooks Koepka – $10,100
  • Rory McIlroy – $9,900
  • Justin Thomas – $9,700
  • Collin Morikawa – $9,500
  • Xander Schauffele – $9,300
  • Viktor Hovland – $9,200
  • Patrick Cantlay – $9,100
  • Patrick Reed – $9,000

This is a very hard week to pick six guys.  The reason, a third of the field nobody has heard of.  With the high rough and tough conditions predicted, have to say I feel that only 20% of those playing have a reasonable chance of winning.  So yes that’s 30 players.  After that can see about 50 players that could content and of course you have the half dozen or so players that find that special magic but then fold over the weekend.  I will bet you any amount of money that the chances are good you won’t know who the first-round leader is on Thursday.  As an example, here are some of the names that have either led or shared the first-round lead at the U.S. Open since 2000.  Not many folks know who Brett Quigley, Nick Dougherty, Justin Hicks, Brendon de Jonge, Andrew Landry, and Scott Piercy are just to name a few.

So let’s look at some of the folks to see who to pick and who to pass on.  Jon Rahm at $11,200 is a keeper, yes you know he will contend.  Of course many will worry since he spent ten days in a hotel room before going to San Diego on Tuesday.  It won’t matter, Rahm is doing too well.  The only problem, he will cost you a fortune.  Jordan Spieth at $10,900 is a big no, the reason is simple.  He can’t and never has played well at Torrey, he hasn’t been able to figure out the poa greens there.  In six tries his best is a T-19th in 2014 so pass on him.  Dustin Johnson at $10,700 is a no for me.  He has played at Torrey nine times and finished T-3rd in 2011.  But since then was T-43rd in 2012, T-51st in 2013, missed cut in 2015, T-18th in 2016 and missed the cut in 2017.  So a big no on Dustin.  The same with Bryce DeChambeau at $10,400, feel he will wear out his wedge in chopping it out of the rough plus I don’t think he likes Poa.  The same with Brooks Koepka at $10,100, don’t think he is fond of the place and greens, in three starts has missed the cut twice and was T-41st in 2015.  As for Rory McIlroy at $9,900 I say yes, this is a great course for him, he has played well at the Farmers, and I feel he could win.  But I go back to my favorite word “no” with Justin Thomas at $9,700.  He was T-10th the first time he played the course in 2014 but missed the cut the next year and hasn’t been back which tells us he is happy on this course.  Now we come to some guys that are a big “yes” for me.  First is Collin Morikawa at $9,500, he came close to winning the Memorial and in his only Torrey visit was T-21st in 2020.  Think the course sets up well for his game and if he has a good putting week could win.  My favorite for this week is Xander Schauffele at $9,300.  He always played terrible at the Farmers which is strange because he grew up close to Torrey Pines.  But at the Farmers in January, Xander told media that the five times he played before this year was terrible because he was always sick and bedridden.  In January it was the first time he was well and finished T-2nd.  The course is right up his alley and he along with Jon Rahm are the players to beat.  Viktor Hovland at $9,200 is another player to watch, he was T-2nd in January, and feel he is playing well now.  Watch him blossom and contend on Sunday.  The same with Patrick Cantlay at $9,100, he has never played well at Torrey but the course should be good for his game and he is playing well.  Patrick Reed at $9,000 has a great record at Torrey and should do well.  Watch him because he was 5th at Memorial, T-6th at the Wells Fargo, and T-8th at the Masters.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Tony Finau is $8,900 and another player that we like, he was T-2nd in January and played well at Torrey the last four years.  He also plays well in the U.S. Open so watch and pick him.  Hideki Matsuyama is $8,800 and someone to watch, he was T-3rd at Torrey in 2019 if he putts well he will play well.  Will Zalatoris at $8,600 is a viable option, he was T-7th in January at Torrey and was T-6th at Winged Foot last year.  He hasn’t played great week in and week out but found a way to finish 2nd at the Masters and T-8th at the PGA Championship.  Tyrrell Hatton is $8,300 and has played well of late.  Has never played at Torrey but feel his game can set in. Louis Oosthuizen at $8,100 is a good price, he has played great since the Masters and was T-29th at Torrey in January.  Feel he has the game to win, so watch him.  The same with Justin Rose at $8,000, he has played great at Torrey winning in 2019.  Since the Masters his game has come around he was 7th at the Masters and T-8th at the PGA Championship.  He is a great pick for you.  Cameron Smith at $8,000 is another good price for a solid player, he was T-9th at Torrey in 2019 and can play the course.  He has been ok on tour in 2021 and worst the price.  Matthew Fitzpatrick at $7,800 is a good buy, he has never played at Torrey but as of late was T-4th at Heritage and T-10th last week at Congaree.  Now we come to a person that we have to make the right pick on.  Phil Mickelson at $7,700 is a fair price but is he a sentimental pick who could flame out and missed the cut or will he play well.  Think he is in a good sprint right now and can’t see him missing the cut.  At the same time think it’s a long shot for him winning but he will give you a top-20 finish, worth the price.

Some of the “bargains” this week at the U.S. Open

Hard to find “bargains” at the U.S. Open but here is a couple.  First Adam Scott at $7,400 could be good because in his two starts at Torrey were 2nd in 2019 and T-10th last January.  He has struggled on tour all year, but this could be a happy place for him to do well.  Marc Leishman at $7,400 is another gamble, he hasn’t played great but won this event in 2020 so he is worth the money.  Bubba Watson at $7,400 is also good at Torrey, he won in 2011 but has struggled on USGA setup.  Lee Westwood at $7,300 has the fact that he was 3rd in the U.S. Open in 2008, just a shot back of the Tiger/Mediate playoff.  I like Westwood because his game is best in majors.  Max Homa at $7,300 is a good pick, plays well in California, and was T-18th at Torrey in January and T-9th last year.  Ryan Palmer at $7,100 is worth the risk, has been runner-up twice at Torrey in the last four years.  Last I like Marcus Armitage at $6,500 mostly because he is a free-sprint and will enjoy himself and find a way to make the cut.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the U.S. Open:

Since 1960 only nine players have made the U.S. Open their first PGA Tour victory; Jack Nicklaus, 1962; Lee Trevino, 1968; Orville Moody, 1969; Jerry Pate, 1976; Ernie Els, 1993, Retief Goosen, 2001, Michael Campbell in 2005, Angel Cabrera in 2007 and Graeme McDowell in 2010.  But take a look at that list. Jack Nicklaus and Jerry Pate were U.S. Amateur champions, Retief Goosen, and Ernie Els had almost a dozen wins around the world before they won the U.S. Open and Lee Trevino became one of the greatest players in the world.  Michael Campbell, Angel Cabrera, and Graeme McDowell won a lot around the world, especially in Europe.  Dustin Johnson won a lot of the PGA Tour. So of these first-time winners, you have Orville Moody, who went on to win the Senior Open but still wasn’t that great of a player.  The point here is looking for a big name to win the U.S. Open.

So could that open the door for another first-time winner?  Probably not, of the 43 first timers, I see a talented group of players that could win, but won’t this year

Eleven years ago the 41-year streak of not having a European Tour player winner was finally broken by Graeme McDowell.  Since then the floodgates have opened as other Europeans like Rory McIlroy won in 2011, Justin Rose in 2013 and Martin Kaymer in 2014.  With the course being so hard, don’t be surprised if another European wins this year..

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

So what will it take to win at Torrey Pines?

The major key is being great with the driver, a combination of driving it straight and long.  Success is hitting off of fairway grass, if you’re in the rough your asking for trouble.

If you are in the rough and your ball is deep, forget the ego trip, grab a wedge and gauge it back into the fairway.  Those that gamble from the rough bring double bogey or worst into play.

Not only is it important to put your next shot from the fairway on, but also make sure to putting it on the right side of the hole.  Green has some undulation and if your on the wrong side, the putt is near impossible.  Keeping it on the right side makes life a lot easier.

For this week par is the player’s best friend.  Torrey Pines will be long, tedious battle in which boredom can spell disaster, so make sure to play for par and even though birdies are hard to come by, you can still make them.

The players that manage the weather will have the advantage.  Only joking there since the weather is going to be perfect, but winds could make things hard.

Experience and getting to know the course are very important.  Caddies always are important for players, but this week will be more important in helping players judge not only the shots into the green but helping with breaks on the greens.

Another important this remember about Torrey Pines is having a lot of patience.  Each week these players compete in an environment in which you make a birdie every fourth hole or a total of five to six times a round. There is only one easy par 5 at Torrey Pines (The 18th), still, it will be hard with the water in front, and making birdies will be tough so players will just have to be happy with a bunch of pars.

Hitting to the greens, how tough?

A lot will depend on if the pin is tucked away close to a bunker or hard to get close.  It’s always important to remember the undulations of the greens and players will have to take that into account when preparing for a shot.  A player has to be smart; there is a lot of danger around the greens, so you have to make sure a shot is to the right part of the fairway to give you proper access.  The greens will also be hard, so lots of shots won’t hold the greens and roll off into a hard situation.  Sometimes getting it up and down from rough off the grass will be hard, the same with greenside bunkers, they won’t be easy to get up and down from.  I think that a person that scrambles well will be the winner this week.

Is there any rhyme or reason for a player winning the U.S. Open?

No.

In the past 30 years, it’s been won by grinders like Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Angel Cabrera, and Graeme McDowell, who may not look pretty but knows how to place shots in the right spots.  There have also been superstars like Tiger Woods, who were expected to win.  It’s been won by great tour players like Tom Kite and Corey Pavin, who capped off their PGA Tour careers with their first win in a major.  It’s been won by up and coming stars like South African’s Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer, Retief Goosen, and Geoff Ogilvy, who won it in 2006.  And we can’t forget about last year with Bryson DeChambeau hitting it long and not finding trouble, even in the rough.

Who can forget the stars that many thoughts were past their prime, like Payne Stewart and Hale Irwin?  It’s also been won by tour grinders like Lee Janzen and Webb Simpson. Last but not least the stray qualifier like Steve Jones, who surprised the golfing world with his victory in 1996, plus Michael Campbell in 2005, who was contemplating not going to U.S. Open qualifying the night before.  How about 2009 winner Lucas Glover, you show me a person that had a winning Lucas Glover ticket, and I will show you my winning Irish sweepstake ticket.  In past Opens, we said that it was a wide-open field.  But I feel that only the best will contend this week. Could Phil Mickelson be one of them, wouldn’t surprise me

 

Who to watch for at the U.S. Open

Best Bets:

Xander Schauffele

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
5 T3 T6 T5

Was T-2nd in January at Farmers never played well at Torrey before that but says he was always sick well the Farmers came up on the schedule. He grew up playing Torrey can’t see him playing badly this week. Kid plays his best on tough courses, in U.S. Open in four starts was 5th last year, T-3rd in 2019, T-6th in 2018, and T-5th in 2017.

Jon Rahm

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T23 T3 CUT CUT T23

Should of won at Memorial found a new putter which was key and help him this week. Think he is ready to finally win a big event, Torrey is right up his alley winning in 2017 and finishing 2nd in 2020 along with T-7th last year. His year has been one of consistency but we have to drill back to the fact that Rahm’s best shot at winning a U.S. Open is this week at Torrey.

Phil Mickelson

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T52 T48 CUT T64 T28 T2 T65 T54 T4 T2

Normally not into sentimental favorites but Mickelson knows that the sun his setting and this could be one of his best shots at winning. Has a good record at Torrey, feels that he lost his knowledge of the greens with the redesign but spent the last two weeks relearning the greens. In the case of Phil stats don’t mean much but the one thing he has to do is keep the ball in the fairway. If he can do that he can win. When you think it’s impossible for him to hit fairways remember this, he has been runner-up five times in the U.S. Open, you don’t accomplish that by missing fairways when it counts. Phil is smart and will figure it out, he really wants this week.

Best of the rest:

Collin Morikawa

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T35

Has played well of late, lost a playoff to Patrick Cantlay at Memorial, T-8th at the PGA Championship, and won WGC-Concession. Yes has struggled in his two U.S. Open starts, was cut last year and T-35th in 2019, still think he is one of the best drivers on the tour that can get the job done at Torrey where in just one start was T-21st in the 2020 Farmers.

Patrick Cantlay

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T43 T21 T45 T41 T21

Big win at the Memorial, he hadn’t played well since the West Coast swing. A bit of a worry that he hasn’t done well in both the Farmers and his U.S. Open record, still he is a great player that can overcome that.

Brooks Koepka

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
2 Win Win T13 T18 T4 CUT

Sorry but a very hard one to gauge. Has missed the cut in three of his last four starts. But the one he made the cut was T-2nd at the PGA Championship. Despite all that and the fact that he has missed two cuts in three Torrey starts, Brooks puts it in a different direction any time he starts in a major. But will he still be able to overcome the fact that Torrey isn’t a course for him?

Viktor Hovland

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T13 T12

A very consistent year, with a win at Mayakoba, a pair of runner-ups at Farmers and WGC-Concession has been T-3rd at Valspar and Wells Fargo. Has played well in the U.S. Open, T-13th last year, and T-12th in 2019.

Always plays well at Torrey Pines:

Tony Finau

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T8 CUT 5 CUT T14

Impeccable record at Torrey Pines, T-2nd in January, T-4th in 2017, and a pair of T-6th in 2020 & 2018. His U.S. Open record has also been good, T-6th last year and 5th in 2018. His game is bouncing back after a lull, was T-8th at the PGA Championship.

Rory McIlroy

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T8 T9 CUT CUT CUT T9 T23 T41 CUT Win CUT T10

He is on this list because he drives well at Torrey and has done well T-16th in January, T-3rd in 2020 and T-5th in 2019. Winner at Wells Fargo, but still he is struggling with his game.

Justin Rose

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T3 T10 CUT CUT T27 T12 Win T21 CUT CUT

Won at Torrey in 2019, we also know his record is good in U.S. Open. His game has shown signs of playing well, was 7th at the Masters and T-8th at the PGA Championship.

Marc Leishman

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T35 T45 T27 T18 CUT CUT T51 CUT

Won at Torrey in 2020 and has five top-tens in Farmers. Won Zurich team play with Cameron Smith, was T-5th at Masters.

Longshot players, those you won’t think of:

Will Zalatoris

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T6 CUT

Was T-7th in his Farmers start in January and T-6th at the U.S. Open last year. Was 2nd at the Masters and T-8th at the PGA Championship.

Louis Oosthuizen

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
3 T7 T16 T23 T23 T2 T40 WD CUT T9 CUT

Only played twice at Torrey, best was T-29th last January. But his record is good in the U.S. Open, was 3rd last year and T-7th in 2019. Also runner-up in 2015. Was T-6th at the WGC-Workday Concession, was runner-up at the PGA Championship, and Zurich, T-8th at Valspar. Always a good pick in majors or tough courses.

Patrick Reed

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T13 T32 4 T13 CUT T14 T35

Won at Torrey in January has five top-ten finishes in the Farmers. Has always done well at the U.S. Open, was T-13th at Winged Foot and 4th in 2018.

Mix emotions, just don’t think they are big Torrey Pine fans:

Justin Thomas

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T8 CUT T25 T9 T32 CUT

Not a big fan of Poa Annua he has only played at Torrey twice missing the cut in 2015 and T-10th in 2014. As for the U.S. Open was T-8th last year and T-9th in 2017. Winning the Players is a big sign that he can win the big one, but since then has struggled with his game, missing the cut at the PGA Championship

Jordan Spieth

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T65 CUT T35 T37 Win T17 CUT T21

The same with Jordan, isn’t great on Poa and terrible at Torrey. In six starts best is T-19th in 2014. So it really doesn’t matter how he is a U.S. Open champion, he just can’t play at Torrey. His pace is still strong with his runner-up finish at the Charles Schwab. Another showing of his dislike of Torrey, since January, has played great missing one cut, at Farmers in January.

Dustin Johnson

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T6 T35 3 CUT Win T2 T4 55 CUT T23 T8 T40

Another player that struggles at Torrey, since finishing T-3rd in 2011 has not finished any higher than T-18th. So he is not a fan of Torrey and his game has been off and on. After Congaree said his game is good but hasn’t been able to find it. Last missed the cut at the Masters and PGA Championship could go for the trifecta this week.

Bryson DeChambeau

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
Win T35 T25 CUT T15 CUT

Our defending champion who found a way to beat the USGA and Winged Foot last year. That strategy won’t work this week as the rough is foolproof in which getting it on the green from the rough will be impossible. So if it comes down to a driving accuracy game which Bryson just won’t win that contest. Has never made the cut in two Farmers tries, bet he is bidding his time and just looking forward to next year and Brookline. Also, I sense that he is getting annoyed over the questions of his so-called feud with Brooks Koepka, all these spell a tough week for him in the sunshine of La Jolla.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.