09 Jun 2021

U.S. Open – The formbook

Many of the world’s elite will be making their second trip to Torrey Pines this year for the U.S. Open with the club also hosting the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour since 1968. That event usually produces a top-rate winner with the likes of Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and Patrick Reed all winning in recent years and course form could be the key to unlocking the winner of the third men’s Major of the year. Here, we break down the chances of some of the best in the game with many enjoying favourable results in San Diego.

Phil Mickelson
Best result: 2nd – 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2013

Lefty will be hoping to repeat the heroics of last month’s historic US PGA Championship triumph as he bids to become just the sixth man to complete the Career Grand Slam with victory at the U.S. Open. The American star, who turns 51 the day before play gets underway in his hometown of San Diego, has endured a number of near-misses in his national Open, finishing runner-up a remarkable six times in 29 appearances, but this year’s host venue could be the key to Mickelson finally getting his hands on this elusive title. His record at Torrey Pines speaks for itself, having won the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open there three times as well as finishing runner-up twice. Could we witness history being made by the ‘Phil the Thrill’ once again?

Patrick Reed
Best result: 4th – 2018

Victory at Torrey Pines earlier this year makes Reed one of the favourites to etch his name onto the trophy and capture Major silverware for the second time. Has enjoyed four top 20s since that commanding five-stroke triumph including top tens at the WGC at The Concession, The Masters and Wells Fargo Championship. Renowned for being one of the best in the business around the greens and, at the time of writing, ranks second for strokes gained in putting.

Bryson DeChambeau
Best result: 1st – 2020

The defending champion made it look easy last year with a six-stroke rout at Winged Foot, where he was also the only player to finish under par. Won at Bay Hill earlier this year before finishing in a share of third at The Players Championship to move inside the top five of the World Ranking. The big-hitter has proved he can make birdies even if he misses fairways while also demonstrating maturity and composure in recent victories.

Lee Westwood
Best result: 3rd – 2008, 2011

Enjoyed his best U.S. Open result the last time the event was held at Torrey Pines, finishing third after failing to sink a birdie putt on the 18th which would have seen him make the play-off with Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate. Like a fine wine, Westwood seems to be getting better with age as he chases that elusive Major with runner-up finishes at The Players Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this year coming off the back of his third Race to Dubai title in 2020.

Brooks Koepka
Best result: 1st – 2017, 2018

Question marks about his fitness were put to bed when he finished in a share of second at last month’s US PGA Championship. Always seem to go under the radar ahead of the biggest events but his Major record is nothing short of mesmerising. Since the 2017 Masters, he has played in 15 Major Championships, winning four of them, finishing second on three occasions and placing in the top 10 in three more.

Justin Rose
Best result: 1st – 2013

Back-to-back top tens at The Masters and US PGA Championship showed encouraging signs that his game is trending in the right direction following a difficult spell. Won his only Major at the 2013 edition with a two-stroke triumph at Merion and has enjoyed success at Torrey Pines with victory at the Farmers Insurance Open in 2019. Victory this year would see him make a welcome surge up the World Ranking as he looks to cement his title defence at the Olympic Games.

Will Zalatoris
Best result: T6 – 2020

Will Zalatoris

Shot to fame with a runner-up finish at The Masters in April despite not holding full PGA Tour membership. Finished tied sixth at the 2020 edition at Winged Foot which kick-started an impressive run of form that saw the youngster finish inside the top ten, including a tied eighth at the US PGA Championship, a further six times to move inside the world’s top 30. Ranks second in stokes gained approach the green and sixth in strokes gained tee-to-green.

Jon Rahm
Best result: T3 – 2019

Secured his first PGA Tour victory in 2017 at Torrey Pines with a three-stroke triumph at the Farmers Insurance Open. Will be the highest ranked European in the field (3rd) once again as he looks to add a Major triumph to his glowing CV, which includes four Rolex Series wins and a Race to Dubai title.

Tony Finau
Best result: 5th – 2018

The big-hitting American has made the top 10 in nine of his last 13 Majors and looks destined to win one of golf’s biggest prizes. Despite his impressive record and consistent play he has only picked up one PGA Tour title, which was back in 2016 at the Puerto Rico Open. A share of second earlier this year at Torrey Pines was his fourth top ten in the last five editions.

Dustin Johnson
Best result: 1st – 2016

The World No.1 finally got his hands on a second Major with victory at last year’s November Masters and quickly followed that up with his second victory in three years at the Saudi International. Hasn’t played at Torrey Pines since 2016, where he finished tied 18th, and has struggled in the last two Major Championships with missed cuts at Augusta National and Kiawah Island.

 Sleeper Picks

Harris English

Less than two years ago English was outside the top 350 in the world but has returned to form in the last 12 months. He finished fourth at Winged Foot so can get it round a US Open set up and has form at Torrey Pines with a T8 in 2018 and 14th in 2017.

Max Homa

The Californian has already won in his home state at Riviera back in February – and his other win on Tour came at another Major venue two years ago at Quail Hollow. Only made one cut in seven Major starts but has a good eye for Torrey with a T9 in 2020 and T18 earlier this year.

Sam Burns

Riding high after winning his first Tour title in May and followed it with a runner-up. Finished T18 at Torrey in January and will fancy his chances if he returns from a back injury which forced him to withdraw from the PGA Championship.

Tommy Fleetwood

Hasn’t been at his consistent best so far in 2021 with as many missed cuts as top tens (three). He also doesn’t have a great record in California but has enjoyed success on tough layouts, notably with wins in Abu Dhabi (twice) and the Open de France.

Brian Harman

The gritty American has posted some impressive results this year with a T3 at The Players one of six top-25s so far. Finished T9 at Torrey in 2017.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Classy South African who has performed well on hard courses – notably winning at Valderrama in 2019, finishing third at Wentworth later that year and was runner-up at the 2020 Dubai Desert Classic. Hasn’t missed a cut since October and his best result is a T7 at Bay Hill in March.

Jason Kokrak

Something of a late bloomer, Kokrak is a steely competitor who held off Xander Schauffele to win his first title on his 233rd start in Las Vegas late last year. Hasn’t finished outside the top 30 in last three outings at Torrey Pines.

Ryan Palmer

Twice a runner-up at Torrey Pines in the last four years, Palmer is sneaky long for a 44-year-old and could contend should he have a good week with the driver in hand.

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