U.S. Open 2019 picks: The 13 best bets to win at Pebble Beach
With so many great players in today's game, one could argue it's more difficult than ever to predict who will win golf's four men's major championships. Then again, one could also argue it's getting pretty easy considering the historical tear Brooks Koepka is on right now. The 29-year-old star is currently the two-time defending champ at both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship after his wire-to-wire win at Bethpage Black. To rack up four majors in an entire career is impressive, but incredibly, Koepka has managed that total in less than two years by winning four of his last eight starts in the game's biggest events.
So can Koepka keep up this torrid pace? That's the main question as we approach the season's third major. But before the world's best battle it out at Pebble Beach, we will keep a weekly ranking of the best bets for the 2019 U.S. Open based on odds from Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. So without further ado, here's our ranking of U.S. Open picks.
1.) Dustin Johnson (7/1); Previous rank: No. 1
Reason to pick: Sorry, Brooks, but we’re giving the slight edge to DJ here because of his stellar track record at Pebble Beach. In the annual tour stop, Johnson has two wins and two runner-ups. He was also the 54-hole leader at the 2010 U.S. Open there. Just as importantly, in his 16 rounds at the four biggest stroke-play events of 2019, Johnson’s worst score is a pair of 70s at the Masters.
Cause for concern: Coming off another close call at the PGA, which completed his career Second-Place Grand Slam, Johnson remains stuck on one career major title to go with his 20 career PGA Tour titles. No one ever said the golf gods were fair.
2.) Brooks Koepka (8/1); Previous rank: No. 2
GOLF: MAY 19 PGA - PGA Championship
FARMINGDALE, NY - MAY 19: Brooks Koepka of the United States leans on the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course with a score of 8 under par on May 19, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York.(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Reason to pick: His lone start at Pebble Beach in 2016 produced a T-8. Then again, it couldn’t matter less what this guy does in regular PGA Tour events. Also, he's got extra motivation by losing his betting favorite status to his buddy. Incredibly, Koepka still has never been the sole favorite heading into a major. No respect! And that's probably exactly how Koepka likes it.
Cause for concern: Brooks is the best player in the game, but Pebble’s setup should allow more players a chance to hang with him than at Bethpage Black. He's also trying to win three consecutive U.S. Opens, an accomplishment that has only been done once. More than a century ago.
3.) Tiger Woods (10/1); Previous rank: No. 3
Reason to pick: Remember the year 2000? In February, Woods rallied from seven shots back with seven holes to play at Pebble. Three months later, he returned and put forth the greatest performance in golf history, winning by an unfathomable 15 shots. Even during his post-scandal comeback, Tiger summoned a back-nine 31 on Saturday and finished T-4. And then there was a solid showing at the Memorial, which had Woods smirking about how well he played:
Cause for concern: Despite his historic triumph there, Tiger has mostly stayed away from Pebble in large part due to the bumpy poa annua greens. Considering he’s not near his peak putting on the smoothest of surfaces, there’s a good chance these surfaces give him fits.
4.) Jordan Spieth (18/1); Previous rank: No. 6
Reason to pick: Welcome back to being one of the favorites, Jordan! The guy is really starting to cook on the greens again, leading the field in strokes gained: putting by a wide margin at the PGA. And speaking of wide margins, Spieth won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am by four shots in 2017.
Cause for concern: While Spieth finished T-3 at the PGA, he was never a serious factor on Saturday or Sunday. For someone who has struggled so much on weekends this year (Ranked 201st in final-round scoring!), it will be interesting to see how he holds up the next time he’s truly contending down the stretch.
5.) Rory McIlroy (16/1); Previous rank: No. 13
Wells Fargo Championship - Round One
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 02: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his shot from the third tee during the first round of the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 02, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Reason to pick: After nearly dropping out of our ranking, Rory fired that 61 in Canada to win by seven shots. Also, he's Rory McIlroy.
Cause for concern: He’s Rory McIlroy, and yet, he hasn’t won a major in nearly five years.
6.) Justin Rose (16/1); Previous rank: No. 5
Reason to pick: When playing his best, Rose arguably has the best all-around game in golf. While the irons (14th in strokes gained: approach) and putter (eighth in strokes gained: putting) remain solid, the driver (54th in strokes gained: off-the-tee) has let him down. At Pebble, though, Rose won’t have to rely on the big stick as much.
Cause for concern: With all the momentum Rose had after winning at Torrey Pines in January to reclaim the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, his first two major starts of 2019 (a shocking first missed cut at the Masters and a T-29 at the PGA) have been a huge disappointment.
7.) Patrick Cantlay (30/1); Previous rank: No. 6
Reason to pick: With a bogey-free 64 at the Memorial, the 27-year-old picked up the biggest win of his career and saw his odds slashed nearly in half from 30/1 to 16/1. And for good reason. Other than Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, Cantlay is the only player to finish in the top 10 (T-9 at the Masters, T-3 at the PGA) in each of the year’s first two majors.
Cause for concern: After briefly taking the lead during the final round at Augusta National, Cantlay didn’t exactly close strong. Finishing off a U.S. Open at iconic Pebble Beach won’t be any easier.
8.) Francesco Molinari (25/1); Previous rank: No. 7
Reason to pick: Despite his added length, the brawny Bethpage Black was a tough venue for the Italian. Considering the T-48 at the PGA was his worst finish in his past eight majors, it’s not hard envisioning Molinari, who had gone win-T6-T5 in his previous three majors, back in the mix.
Cause for concern: Molinari’s only trip to Pebble as a pro resulted in a missed cut at the 2010 U.S. Open. In other words, he is not Monterey Molinari. At least, not yet.
9.) Phil Mickelson (30/1); Previous rank: No. 8
Reason to pick: Phil is a five-time winner at Pebble Beach, including a three-shot victory earlier this season. They don’t call him Monterey Mickelson for nothing, right? Actually, no one calls him that. But they really should—especially if he finally completes the career Grand Slam there on his 49th birthday.
Cause for concern: Of course, none of those wins have come when Pebble has hosted a U.S. Open. His best finish in three tries was a T-4 in 2010. And that win in February seems like a long time ago. Mickelson's only top-35 finish in nine starts since was a T-18 at the Masters.
10.) Rickie Fowler (20/1); Previous rank: No. 9
Reason to pick: It’s been awhile since Rickie was listed at 20-to-1 or worse at a major so for once, Fowler might arrive at one undervalued. Already a winner this season, he was trending that way again with a T-9 at the Masters followed by a T-4 at Quail Hollow before a Sunday 77 at the PGA dropped him to T-36 at Bethpage Black.
Cause for concern: At 30, his best major championship result remains a runner-up. Well, if you don’t count getting engaged to Allison Stokke ahead of last year’s U.S. Open.
11.) Xander Schauffele (25/1); Previous rank: No. 10
Reason to pick: All this guy does is pop up on major championship leader boards. A final-round 76 at Bethpage knocked him out of the top 10, but there’s no reason to think you won’t see his name again at Pebble, which sets up better for his game.
Cause for concern: Xander was downright demoralized through three rounds trying to track down Koepka at the PGA. We’re not sure how much more he can take of seeing Brooks leading majors.
12.) Jason Day (25/1); Previous rank: No. 12
Reason to pick: The former World No. 1 has played remarkably consistent golf at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with six top-six finishes in 10 starts.
Cause for concern: It’s now been more than three years since his last big victory at the 2016 Players and nearly four years since his lone major at the 2015 PGA. Has his window to dominate on the game’s biggest stage already closed?
13. Justin Thomas (25/1); Previous rank: NR
Reason to pick: Thomas looked much improved from that wrist injury with a T-20 at the Canadian Open.
Cause for concern: As he said on Monday, the time off gave him too much time to work on putting, causing him to overthink things. Still, 25/1 is decent value.
Tommy Fleetwood (25/1
Reason to pick: Fleetwood should thrive at a place where precise ball-striking is rewarded more than most thanks to small greens and Pacific winds.
Cause for concern: With all his talent, Tommy is still searching for that first victory on U.S. soil. Accomplishing that at a major is a tall order.
Adam Scott (30/1)
The Memorial Tournament Presented By Nationwide - Round Three
DUBLIN, OHIO - JUNE 01: Adam Scott of Australia watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the third round of The Memorial Tournament Presented by Nationwide at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 01, 2019 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Reason to pick: The ball-striking machine jumps into our ranking after looking particularly sharp during a runner-up at the Memorial.
Cause for concern: Putting. Always the putting.