The most challenging major in golf is back at Torrey Pines for the first time since a guy named Tiger won it.
The 2021 U.S. Open will be returning to Torrey Pines for the first time since 2008 this week. The breathtaking oceanside course is a challenge and will test players more than any other course this PGA Tour season. There are several questions that are set to be answered by Sunday night: Will there be a Brooks/Bryson pairing this weekend? Will Bryson repeat? Who will come out on top? We’ll preview all of this and more.
Everyone knows that this will be the talk of the town all week, as it has been the past year or so. Supposedly, the USGA approached Bryson with the idea of playing with Brooks during the week, but obviously he turned that down.
Fingers crossed, but hopefully they both play well enough for fate to bring them together on the weekend. Even if this dream matchup never happens, I can’t wait to hear Bryson get angry with people calling him Brooksy.
Favorites to Win
This won’t be a betting guide for the 2021 U.S. Open, as we already have you covered on that. I’ll still write about who I think will win, but there won’t be any odds in here.
Speaking of Bryson, although he hasn’t had a top 5 since The Players in March, Torrey Pines fits his game relatively well. We saw how much he took advantage of Winged Foot last year, and Torrey will be much of the same. Both courses are extremely long, benefit the longest players, and have thick, unforgiving rough surrounding the fairways and greens. This is what allowed Bryson to win last year’s U.S. Open by 6 strokes. If he’s hitting his irons better than he has all season, he will almost certainly be in contention.
The person I think has the best chance to win this week is Jon Rahm. 2 weeks ago, if you missed it, he was forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament up 6 strokes because he got Covid-19. Now that he’s out of quarantine he definitely has something to prove. He has been very successful at Torrey Pines as of late, finishing top 7 in 4 out of his last 5 Farmers Insurance Opens, winning in 2017. Rahm was dominant 3 weeks ago, and if his game is still on point after isolating himself, he is a favorite to win. The guy is definitely due to win a major at some point, and this could be his best chance.
Guys like Patrick Reed, who isn’t much of a sleeper but isn’t being talked about much, should have a chance as well. Tony Finau, who hasn’t won a tournament in a LONG time, has performed very well at Torrey Pines in his career. Finau is 3rd in strokes gained at Torrey over the last decade. He also has two top 10s in his last 4 U.S. Opens. He’s definitely another guy that’s due to win.
A dark-horse pick to win it all is Scottie Scheffler. This stat will blow your mind:
The man still has yet to win a PGA Tour tournament in his young career, so how awesome would it be if his first came at a U.S. Open? He’s been playing well recently, finishing 3rd in the Memorial, so it’s not that far-fetched that he plays well this week.
Parallels to 2008
Hopefully, no one will have to go through what Tiger Woods went through the last time Torrey Pines played host to a U.S. Open. Lest we forget that the GOAT played 5 rounds on a broken tibia and torn ACL. The conditions in 2008 were similar to what we’ll see this week, and are a great benchmark to go against. No one will be able to duplicate what Tiger did to win his 14th major 13 years ago to the day. Prayers to Tiger for a quick recovery from his car accident in February. I’ll leave you all with this, the most clutch putt in U.S. Open history: