It’s here. It’s time for the US Open at Torrey Pines. The last time the boys played the US Open, my least favorite person maybe in the world won, so let’s hope for a different result this time around. Before you ask, am I going to pick Rory? Of course I am. That’s what I do here. Until he wins another one, I’ll always have my boy on the card.
But, we have a lot to cover so let’s jump into it.
I mentioned him before, but Bryson DeChambeau is your defending champion. He was the only player under par last year at Winged Foot, and put on a tremendous performance. God, I hope that doesn’t happen again.
Jon Rahm has cleared all COVID-19 protocols and is in the field this week. He had the Memorial trophy on his mantle already before testing positive for Coronavirus, so I’m sure he’d love to come right back and win at a golf course where he’s seen some success (Last 3 finishes at Torrey (Farmers): T7, 2, T5. He also won the tournament in 2017).
My guy, looking for his first major championship win since 2014, Rory McIlory had a solid week at the last playing of the US Open. He took advantage of his distance, and finished T8. He just had a Top 20 at the Memorial, and recently won the Wells Fargo, so let’s hope some of that momentum carries over into this week. Rors is another guy with solid history at the golf course (Last 3 starts at the Farmers: T16, T3, T5).
Other big names in the field: Everyone except Tiger. And I guess Rickie.
Torrey Pines South
Rees Jones redesign in 2019
Bentgrass Greens with Poa
We saw it last year at the US Open, driving distance matters. These fairways are gonna be tight, and the rough is gonna be up to these guys shins. I’d rather have a wedge out of the rough than a 7 iron.
With that being said, a guy who hits it long while hitting a bunch of fairways is gonna have a huge advantage this week. Bryson was 7th in driving distance last year, but was also 26th in accuracy. The combination is huge, but maybe not at Torrey….?
With tight fairways, hitting greens is gonna be tough if you find the rough. Because of that, GIR is another stat to look at this week. At a tough course in impossible conditions, the more birdie putts the better.
Data Golf Information
Course Fit: 1. Corales Golf Club, 2. Country Club of Jackson, 3. Accordia Golf Narashino
Trending (of the players in the field): 1. Collin Morikawa (Last 3 starts: T8, T14, 2), 2. Jon Rahm (T34, T8, W/D (but I’d count it as a win to be honest), 3. Jordan Spieth (T30, 2, T18)
% Chance to Win (Baseline, Course History and Fit): 1. Jon Rahm (7.6%), 2. Xander Schauffele (5.4%), 3. Dustin Johnson (4.3%)
US Open Best Bets
We’re due for a huge week. We were up almost 1.5 units at last year’s US Open, and at the Farmers we had a +2.25 unit return. Let’s go.
I think it’d be stupid not to put Patrick Reed on this card. He doesn’t drive it long (290.1), but his short game makes up for that (19th SG: ATG) – and he did just win at this golf course a few months ago.
Including the Masters, until now, he’s made 6 starts. He’s missed 2 cuts (Charles Schwab, Valspar), and his worse finish is T17 (T8 – Masters, T6 – Wells Fargo, T17 – PGA, 5 – Memorial).
Despite his lack of distance, he finished T13 at the US Open at Winged Foot (Solo 4th at Shinnecock, T13 at Erin Hills). I guess you could say Patrick Reed’s game flourishes at the US Open.
He’s missed 4 cuts since the start of the new season (15 events), but when he makes it to the weekend, his worse finish is T22 at the PLAYERS. All his missed cuts have come at smaller events (aside from the API).
“He will try to join Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods, and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to win a PGA TOUR event and the U.S. Open on the same course in the same year” – PGATour.com
Top 20 (EVEN)
The kid just performs in majors, and that’s why Willy Z is going on the card.
In the 3 majors he’s played in this season, his worse finish was T8 at the PGA. He was the runner up to Hideki at Augusta, and held is own at Winged Foot and ended the week T6.
His game is built for the US Open. He’s long off the tee, ranking 25th (306.7) on Tour. He’s one of the best iron players on Tour (3rd in SG: APP), so when he misses fairways he has the ability to recover.
Back in January, he finished T7 at the Farmers.
Top 20 (+145)
Viktor Hovland is a stud, and he’s gonna win a major within the next few years. He’s never finished outside the Top 35 in a major.
He finished T13 at Winged Foot earlier this season, and was one of the runner-ups to Patrick Reed at the Farmers.
He’s long off the tee, averaging over 301, and also hits a decent amount of fairways (62.79%).
His other US Open start was at Pebble, where he finished T12.
Top 20 (+105)
Back at the Farmers, Max Homa won us some money, and I think we’ll be going right back to him. He also cashed a bet for us a few weeks ago at the Memorial (T6).
Back in January, he finished T18 at the Farmers. However, he hasn’t shown much in major championships. He missed the cut at both Masters this season, as well as the PGA just a month ago.
A week before the PGA, he missed the cut at the Wells Fargo where he was the defending champion. He did have a T6 at the Valspar.
He’s added some distance over the last year, as he’s averaging 302.1 off the tee this season compared to 300 in 2020 and 2019. The big problem I see with Max, his accuracy has struggled this season. 143rd (57.56%) in driving accuracy. In his last 2 starts however, Max hit 64.29% and 66.07% of fairways – hopefully that carries over into this week as well.
Top 40 (+130)
Xander Schauffele is home this week. He’s a San Diego kid, looking for his 1st major championship, and really his 1st stand-out win on Tour.
In 4 solo starts since the match play, he’s made 3 cuts (MC at PGA) with his worse finish being a T14 at the Wells Fargo (T3 at the Masters). Earlier this year, he was one of the runner-ups at the Farmers. This season, when Xander has made the cut, he only has one finish outside the Top 20. Unreal.
His record at the US Open: 5th, T3, T6, T5. You could say he likes this tourney.
Top 10 (+170)
Scottie Scheffler is still looking for his 1st win on the PGA Tour, but I think his game could fit Torrey Pines nicely this week.
He’s 35th in driving distance (304.4), and 41st in driving accuracy (65.84%). He’s 41st in SG: APP over his last 36 rounds, compared to 108th this season.
His last start was a solo 3rd at the Memorial, and he tied for 8th at the PGA down at Kiawah Island.
He’s finished inside the Top 20 in his last 4 major championship appearances, highlighted by a T4 at the 2020 PGA.
Top 20 (+155)
To finish up, Rory McIlroy is looking for his first major since 2014, and 5th overall.
He finished T8 at Winged Foot last year, but aside from that, hasn’t really been in contention at an US Open since he won at Congressional by 100. His last 5 US Open finishes: T8, T9, MC, MC, MC.
He’ll feel comfortable at Torrey this week, his last 3 starts at the Farmers: T16, T3, T5.
His SG numbers over his last 36 rounds…
On the year, he’s 2nd in driving distance (318.6), but he’s 173rd in driving accuracy (55.17%). Again, around Torrey where fairways are tough to hit for everyone in the field, I think distance will be a little more important than accuracy. Take note, when he won the Wells Fargo a month ago, he hit 34% of fairways. His iron play has just been great recently.
Top 10 (+200)
Other names to look at…
Since a W/D at the Arnold Palmer, he’s made 4 solo starts. He’s made 3 cuts (MC at the Valspar), and hasn’t finished outside the Top 20 (solo 7th at the Masters, T8 at the PGA).
He’s a US Open champion, won at Merion in 2013.
Even with these good finishes, over his last 36 rounds he’s outside the Top 100 in every SG category aside from putting.
He’s long enough to keep up off the tee, averaging 297, but he’s 88th on Tour in driving distance.
He won the Farmers back in 2016 and 2012, had a Top 10 in 2017, and was T3 in 2020.
He struggled early in 2021, missing the cut at 5 of his first 7 starts. But since a missed weekend at the PLAYERS, he’s made 7 straight cuts, highlighted by Top 20s at the Valspar and AT&T Byron Nelson.
Again, he’s a guy that lacks distance – only 287 off the tee. He’ll have to hit almost every fairway to keep up with the big hitters.
Top 10 finish at the 2008 US Open.
This guy just loves Torrey Pines. He won the Farmers in 2019, and 3 other Top 20s going back to 2017.
One thing that worries me, he hasn’t made a cut at a major championship aside from the Masters since the US Open in 2019. That same year, he missed the cut at the PGA and Open.
He’s outside the Top 130 in both driving distance and accuracy this season on Tour. And in all other SG categories, nothing stands out. This pick is all about course history at Torrey Pines and hopefully it carries over to the US Open and not just the Farmers.
Cover Image via GolfDigest.com (Ben Jared)