The third Major Championship of 2019 gets under way at Pebble Beach Golf Links this week. We look at five facts ahead of the eagerly anticipated action.
European Tour represented
There will be 48 European Tour Members teeing it up in Pebble Beach, including seven who will be making their U.S. Open debuts.
Adri Arnaus, Rhys Enoch, Justin Harding, Marcus Kinhult, Renato Paratore, Clément Sordet and Erik van Rooyen will be rubbing shoulders with the world’s best when they take to the fairways this week. From the seven debutants, Arnaus, Enoch, Paratore and Sordet came through Sectional Qualifying at Walton Heath Golf Club.
Sordet, who finished second in Oman earlier in the year, birdied his final six holes to book his place in California. The Frenchman has fond memories of the West Coast, as he carded a low-third round of 67 helping his Texas Tech University side win The Carmel Cup at Pebble Beach in his 2011 Freshman year – also winning medalist honours for the tournament.
Brooks Koepka has become a specialist at winning Major Championships. The American has won four out of the last nine Major titles since he registered his first win at the 2017 U.S. Open.
The former European Challenge Tour graduate followed up his maiden Major success by defending his U.S. Open title at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club 12 months later. It was the first time since Curtis Strange in 1988 and 1989 that a player had successfully defended their U.S. Open title.
Should he triumph this week, he would become only the second player in history to win three successive U.S. Open titles. The only other player to accomplish the feat was Willie Anderson, who lifted the trophy in 1903, 1904 and 1905.
Fleetwood closing in
Koepka might have clinched the previous two U.S. Opens, but Tommy Fleetwood has run the American close on both occasions.
With four European Tour wins and a Ryder Cup victory to his name, the Englishman is still searching for his first Major triumph, and the U.S. Open may be his best opportunity after finishing fourth in 2017 and second last season following a history-making final round 63.
Fleetwood equalled the lowest round at a U.S. Open and the lowest score on a final day of a Major and will be looking to replicate that form which saw him come so close to a Major title 12 months ago.
Back at the Beach
Pebble Beach will stage the U.S. Open Championship for the sixth time and the first since 2010, when Graeme McDowell sealed his Major title.
The Northern Irishman joined the illustrious company of Tiger Woods (2000), Tom Kite (1992), Tom Watson (1982) and Jack Nicklaus (1972) as winners at Pebble Beach.
The sixth staging of the Major Championship will move Pebble Beach into a share of third place alongside Oakland Hills Country Club in the leaderboard of U.S. Open Championship hosts.
Record breaking Woods
Tiger Woods’ victory at Pebble Beach in 2000 was one of the greatest performances in golfing history as he clinched his debut U.S. Open title by 15 strokes.
He finished with rounds of 65-69-71-67 for a 12 under par total with his closest rivals Ernie Els and Miguel Ángel Jiménez ending the week in a share for second place on three over par.
In week where Pebble Beach was biting back, Woods carded 21 birdies across four rounds to surge ahead of the field and lift his first of four consecutive Major trophies, which became known as ‘the Tiger Slam’.