U.S. Open expert picks to win, sleepers to watch and odds to win

June 12, 2019

The 119th U.S. Open begins on Thursday at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif. Here’s our staff’s picks to win and sleepers to watch.

U.S. Open picks to win

Sean Zak, associate editor (@sean_zak): Dustin Johnson plays this course so damn well. (He plays most courses well, I suppose.) He’d be atop my list. Can he putt well enough?

Josh Sens, contributor (@JoshSens): Tiger Woods. All due respect to Sean’s man, DJ, but Tiger plays Pebble even better. A second-shot course that lends itself to his strengths (iron game; patience) without placing too much strain on his driver. Bank it. A 16th major for Woods. Unless Brooks wins by 10.

Luke Kerr-Dineen, instruction editor (@LukeKerrDineen): Adam Scott. Truth be told I was tempted to pick Brooks Koepka because why not, but Adam Scott is my guy this week. He’s had a quiet resurgence that seems to be going slightly overlooked: He has two top 10s in his last major starts (and should’ve had three if not for a terrible final round at the Masters), and he’s coming off a runner-up at the Memorial. That’s major-winning form.

Alan Bastable, executive editor (@alan_bastable): Brooks … Really, no one has picked Koepka yet? When are you all going to learn? Pebble’s probably not the best ballpark for his game but he did top-10 there at the 2016 AT&T. Also, it’s been a whole month since his last major win. Dude’s due.

Jonathan Wall, equipment editor (@jonathanrwall): I’ll hitch my cart to Rory McIlroy when he’s riding a heater … and I think he’s about to go on one after winning in Canada. Even if he doesn’t replicate his putting performance from last week, I think he has the game to tame Pebble.

Pat Ralph, associate editor (@Pat_Ralph): Brooks Koepka. Give me the guy who’s won the last two U.S. Opens and who has been tearing up the majors over the last three years. Koepka is tied for second on Tour in ball-striking, and this course setup is going to demand excellent iron play and incredibly accurate driving. If Brooks can handle the small Pebble Beach greens and putt like he did at Bethpage last month, he’ll join Willie Anderson by having won three straight U.S. Open titles.

Tiger Woods tees off during a U.S. Open practice round at Pebble Beach.
Getty Images

Jeff Ritter, digital development editor (@Jeff_Ritter): The smart money should flow toward Brooks and DJ but for the rest of the hopers and dreamers, there isn’t a better story out there than Phil winning an Open. This has to represent his last, best shot. He loves Pebble, Pebble loves him back and he won the Pro-Am earlier this year. It’s possible Phil permanently wrecked his Open mojo when he swatted that moving ball last year at Shinny, but if he wins this week, it will give golf its Greatest Story Ever for the second time in three months. I’ll make some hedges with my wallet, but this GOLF.com pick comes straight from the heart: Phil to win.

Dylan Dethier, associate editor (@Dylan_Dethier): Tiger Woods. The way I’m approaching this, we’re picking the player more likely to win than any other player. I think that’s Woods. He’s precise with his mid/long irons, he’s showing signs of life off the tee and is elite around the green. On a course like Pebble, I think he’s the best play. (Note: this logic worked well at Augusta and poorly at Bethpage, so proceed with caution.)

Josh Berhow, senior editor (@Josh_Berhow): Rory McIlroy. He’s hot, he’s due (for a major), and I like how Pebble sets up for his game. Simple as that!

U.S. Open sleepers to watch

Sean Zak, associate editor (@sean_zak): I’m not gonna sleep on the man in his 40s who is playing some solid golf this year. Jim Furyk finishes in the top 10!

Josh Sens, contributor (@JoshSens): Kevin Kisner. A good wind player and a grinder to boot. At 120-1, I’ll take those odds.

Luke Kerr-Dineen, instruction editor (@LukeKerrDineen): Brandt Snedeker. His general lack of distance is a concern. A big concern. But I’m OK taking a flier on Brandt anyway because he’s in great form — he was on 59 watch two weeks ago and played well again at the Canadian Open — and outside of DJ, he may have the best course form of anybody in the field, too. He’s won on this course not just once, but twice. Wait, now I’m starting to wonder if Brandt Snedeker qualifies as a sleeper. Probably not. Oh well.

Jeff Ritter, digital development editor (@Jeff_Ritter): Is Sneds still a sleeper after shooting 60 last week? I see him at 100-1 odds on the board, and that seems crazy low. Love his combo of ball-striking and pop-stroke putting. I think he’ll contend.

Jonathan Wall, equipment editor (@jonathanrwall): Kevin Kisner. The folks in Las Vegas have him at 100-1 (!!!) to win the U.S. Open. Pebble requires precision off the tee, a deft touch and rock-solid putter — all things Kis has in spades. I would be shocked if he isn’t somewhere near the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.

Pat Ralph, associate editor (@Pat_Ralph): Paul Casey. When the U.S. Open was last played at Pebble, Casey tied for sixth. He also finished runner-up to Phil at the Pro-Am this past February. Casey is the only player on Tour this year in the top-20 in both driving accuracy and ball-striking. Don’t be shocked if the Englishman is lurking on Sunday on a course he’s comfortable playing.

Alan Bastable, executive editor (@alan_bastable): G-Mac. The defending Pebble Open champ has been playing inspired golf this season with the aim of qualifying for the Open Championship. The monkey’s finally off his back — his T-8 in Canada Sunday punched his ticket to Portrush — but there’s no reason to believe his fine play won’t continue, especially on a course where he has such good vibes.

Dylan Dethier, associate editor (@Dylan_Dethier): Scott Piercy. Not the flashiest pick — but that’s the whole point, no? Piercy’s not the longest player but he hits a ton of fairways and greens and putts it pretty well. He’s above average in nearly every facet of his game. Plus there’s some strong recent form — top-threes at Fort Worth and Hilton Head, and T10 and T20 his last two starts at Pebble. There’s some value there.

Josh Berhow, senior editor (@Josh_Berhow): Rafa Cabrera Bello has had a solid but unspectacular season. He’s missed just one cut in 15 starts and has eight top 25s, yet just two top 10s. He’s also finished inside the top 30 in the lost two Pebble Beach Pro-Ams. He could be in line for a sneaky good finish.

2019 U.S. Open Odds to win

Brooks Koepka 8/1
Dustin Johnson 8/1
Tiger Woods 10/1
Rory McIlroy 10/1
Jordan Spieth 14/1
Patrick Cantlay 16/1
Justin Rose 20/1
Rickie Fowler 20/1
Justin Thomas 25/1
Jon Rahm 25/1
Jason Day 25/1
Xander Schauffele 25/1
Tommy Fleetwood 30/1
Phil Mickelson 30/1
Francesco Molinari 35/1
Tony Finau 35/1
Hideki Matsuyama 40/1
Adam Scott 30/1
Matt Kuchar 40/1
Paul Casey 50/1
Brandt Snedeker 50/1
Webb Simpson 50/1
Bryson DeChambeau 50/1
Henrik Stenson 60/1
Marc Leishman 60/1
Gary Woodland 80/1
Patrick Reed 80/1
Shane Lowry 80/1
Kevin Kisner 100/1
Graeme McDowell 100/1
Matt Wallace 100/1
Louis Oosthuizen 100/1
Sergio Garcia 100/1

*Odds according to GolfOdds.com. For complete odds for the entire field, click here.

To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.