This time of year is always my favorite because the real heat of the summer has not kicked in yet, graduations are going on around the country and the U.S. Open takes place.  It’s also hard not to love this time of year because it’s my birthday weekend and now that I’m a Dad, I get to enjoy Father’s Day weekend. I wish I could tell you that I’ll be plopped down in front of the TV all weekend enjoying the views of Pebble Beach but I’m not that lucky.  No, I’ll be running around Sesame Place in the lovely Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with my wife and my nearly two year old son. If I just didn’t love that kid so damn much. But let’s move on and talk about America’s championship.

If you’ve been following along with my articles all year long, you know we’ve already had a golf tournament played at Pebble Beach this season but this time around, the course will play totally different.  “It’s going to be a typical U.S. Open,” Tiger Woods said on June 1st during a news conference at the Memorial in Ohio. “It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be difficult. And we know that going in.” This coming from a man who won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach back in 2000 and finished T4 in 2010. Tiger will play Pebble Beach for the first time competitively since the 2012 AT&T Pro-Am where he finished 15th.

We saw old man Phil Mickelson win for a record-tying 5th time at the AT&T Pro-Am back in February and will be looking once again for his first U.S. Open title.  We all know that it took Phil awhile to get over the hump and win his first major at the 2004 Masters but did you know that he has finished in second, six times at the U.S. Open in his career?  Here’s to lefty finally getting it done.

When you look at the field, 33 of which competed in the 2010 U.S. Open and 42 laced it up at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year.  If you want to get down to it, 14 of those players participated in both. You may see just a few of those names in my playbook this weekend.

The tournament will be played on just one golf course, Pebble Beach Golf Links, as opposed to the AT&T Pro-Am that uses Pebble Beach as well as Spyglass Hill and the Monterey Peninsula Shore Course.  Pebble Beach has undergone a bunch of changes to upgrade itself against the likes of these terrific 2019 golfers. The par is about the only thing that stays the same this weekend. The second hole will play as a par 4 this weekend which played as a par 5 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am making the par 71.  The total length of the course is not terribly long for these players at just 7,075 yards, which is 35 yards longer than it was in 2010. These players will need to hit the fairways as one-and-three-quarters inches of rough await them in the first cut and it only gets deeper from there, I’m hearing around hip-high in the primary rough.  The Poa annua greens are averaging only 3,500 square feet, these players will need clean lies for their approach shots if they hope to stick these greens.

The course is right up against the Pacific Ocean, which means more elements coming into play and that definitely favors curtain players over others.  Mother Nature looks to be playing ball right now, the daytime highs will be in the low 60s and only a few passing clouds in the forecast. The biggest challenge for these golfers will be the wind which will help out the players who have prepared, have experience and are known as good course managers.

All eyes will be on Brooks Koepka this weekend. The man is coming off successfully defending his PGA Championship in dominant fashion and he's looking to defend his U.S. Open title for the third straight year. Just know going into this weekend, he is not a surprise anymore and his ownership will be threw the roof. Dustin Johnson won his first major at the U.S. Open in 2016 and he's my personal pick to win and my one-and-done selection this weekend. I do not see anyone but one of the big names on the Tour coming out on top this weekend. You will not see a random name at the top of the leaderboard at the end of this weekend.

(Max 3)