Quick look at the U.S. Open
June 12, 2019
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Players to watch at the 2019 U.S. Open
At a venue that has provided so many great U.S. Open moments – Nicklaus’ 1-iron, Watson’s chip-in, Tiger’s 15-stroke win – Pebble Beach seems sufficiently prepped for another memorable week. Brooks Koepka is chasing history, and everybody else seems to be chasing Brooks during these major weeks. If you haven’t found a gift for dad on Father’s Day, just give him a few hours on Sunday afternoon to watch things unfold.
THREE PLAYERS TO PONDER
The 109-yard par-3 seventh at Pebble Beach. So short yet so intriguing, with the wind off the ocean playing havoc with tee shots. Sam Snead once putted off the tee after conditions became so poor. Tom Kite chipped in for birdie in the final round when he won the 1992 U.S. Open. Asked about the seventh hole this week, Jordan Spieth said. “I don't have a crazy No. 7 story, which is probably where most people go to. Tony Finau hit a 7- or 8-iron in there. The most I hit was punch 9-iron, which was pretty ridiculous for 90 yards to the front of the green.” Here’s a look at the seventh, as well as the holes on either side, the 523-yard par-5 sixth and the 428-yard par-4 eighth.
Pebble Beach Golf Links - 6th, 7th and 8th hole
Stand on the teebox of the 543-yard par-5 18th, and you feel you’re on the edge of the world, the ocean behind you and also running all the way down the left side. The Cypress tree on the right side (there used to be two until a storm felled one a few years ago) must be accounted for too at some point. The successful and long tee shots provide a chance to reach the green in two – about 37 percent of all players at February’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am went for the green, with just 20 percent of those players succeeding. It can seem daunting, but it’s also worth it. Asked about the 18th, Justin Rose replied: “Incredible … 18th at St. Andrews and 18th at Pebble Beach -- you couldn't pick two better venues, two better places to win a golf tournament.” Here’s a look at where all tee shots landed at the 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
With just a 20 percent chance of rain throughout the competition days, and wind gusts of no more than 18 mph in the forecast, USGA meteorologists are calling for a “low” impact on this week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
For the latest weather news from Pebble Beach, California, check out PGATOUR.COM’s Weather Hub.
SOUND CHECKThis would be the coolest thing, to win three in a row and to win a third one at Pebble, I think that's really -- it's such a special place. And to be as a little kid you always wanted to play a U.S. Open at Pebble. It's kind of a dream come true, in a sense.
BY THE NUMBERS
9 under – Tiger Woods’ cumulative score in his two U.S. Open starts at Pebble Beach. In the last three U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach, 388 players have played at least two rounds. Woods is the only player under par.
6 – Number of times Phil Mickelson has finished second at the U.S. Open. None have been at Pebble Beach, where he’s won five AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Ams.
4 – Number of AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am winners who have also won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Tom Kite).
91.3% -- Percentage of cuts made by Jim Furyk in his 23 career starts at Pebble Beach (21 Pro-Ams, 2 U.S. Opens). That’s the highest percentage of any player with 20 or more combined starts at Pebble Beach.
Target score: Jordan Spieth has the number – not for this week, but for the upcoming U.S. Opens. “I think I'd sign for 3 under for the next 25 U.S. Opens and just sit and watch … It's likely anything under par for the next 20 years is probably going to be in the top five and have a chance to win.” Explained Spieth: “Normally someone jumps out to 6-under early, and then you see a 6-under after the second round, and then you see a 3-under and then a 3-under. The lead will jump -- people play well, and then all of a sudden the course gets firmer and firmer and it's just more difficult. And then when you're in the lead, it's harder to play aggressive and you start maybe not quite taking the chances that got you that 6-under and -- you kind of see the trends through the tournaments. And so in other words, par is a really good score at this tournament.”
Wind adjustments. Justin Rose said he and his team have “tried to build a matrix of understanding the wind” impact at Pebble Beach. “Like a 10 mph - wind, exactly how much it takes off the ball. We've used TrackMan a lot to try to gauge exactly how much the wind is taking off the ball. TrackMan has a great feature called ‘normalize,’ so you can hit the ball into the breeze, you can see your 5-iron go 170, you can press the normalize button, and it will say it should have gone 205. So into a 12-, 15-mile-an-hour breeze, you can see how much that is knocking off. We've used wind gauges and all sorts of stuff to try to make it as accurate as possible, but the key -- the really good thing about the wind is there's so much feel involved. You very rarely hit a stock standard shot into the wind.”
Rickie at Pebble. Rickie Fowler has played in two AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Ams, and he missed the cut in one. He didn’t play the 2010 U.S. Open. So in his PGA TOUR career, he has just three competitive rounds at Pebble Beach Golf Links. But when asked about that lack of experienced, he pointed out the non-TOUR functions in which he’s played Pebble, and doesn’t consider himself to be at a disadvantage as he seeks his first major win. “To me I look at Pebble as not necessarily a place that the more you play it, you have an advantage, necessarily. It's a pretty straightforward golf course. There's only a couple of tee shots that are somewhat blind that you need to just make sure that you're comfortable on lines. It's pretty much right in front of you. Very small greens. I love that about it. It's not very tricky. You hit it in a lot of the middle of the greens here, and you're going to be in a good position.”