Starts: 17th June 2021
Course: Torrey Pines (South)
Length: 7,765 yards
2020 Champion: Bryson DeChambeau
The South course at Torrey Pines hosts the US Open for the first time since 2008. Many of the competitiors will be familiar with the course as it is the host course for the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour. The course was renovated in 2019 by Rees Jones in preparation for this event.
In an event known for the thickest rough it would have been unthinkable a few years ago to predict the last five winners of the US Open would be Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka (twice), Gary Woodland and Bryson DeChambeau - players not known for their driving accuracy. However, 'bomb and gouge' has become the order of the day and length is a definite advantage.
Torrey Pines last hosted the US Open in 2008 and it was memorable. Tiger Woods played with two stress fractures and a torn ACL in his left knee yet somehow willed his way to victory. Coming down the 72nd hole, he holed a clutch 12ft birdie putt to get into an 18 hole playoff with Rocco Mediate. It was a similar story during the playoff as Tiger again birdied the last to force a sudden death playoff. A par at the 7th hole was enough for Tiger to finally prevail and claim his 14th Major.
Woods and Mediate were the only two players to finish under par for the tournament. Four of the top eight were Europeans and the other four were from the USA.
The US Open has been a younger man's Major in recent times with the last 12 winners being 35 or less on the day they lifted the trophy. Of those 12, 11 were under 32.
It has also been an event which has favoured first time Major winners in recent years with 9 of the past 12 claiming their first Major. However, it's not an event to record your first ever win in America - only one winner from the past 12 did not have a previous PGA Tour title.
US Open Exposure
As with the Open Championship, prior experience of playing in a US Open is essential. In the last 11 years only one player has won a US Open without previously having a top-25 finish, and every winner in the last 11 years has made at least one previous US Open appearance.
Three of the top 5 were ranked inside the top 30 in the world when the US Open was last played at Torrey Pines. The other two players had previously won on the PGA Tour. Coincidentally, the top 5 at Winged Foot last year comprised three players inside the world's top 30 and two who had previously won on the PGA Tour. It is a similar story through the years:
2019: The top 6 comprised five players within the world's top 30 and one player who had won on the PGA Tour before.
2018: Four of the top 5 were in the world's top 30 and the other player, Tony Finau (ranked 37th), had won on the PGA Tour before.
2017: The top seven comprised four players inside the top 30. Two had won on the PGA Tour before and one who had not won but would win twice later that year (Xander Schauffele)
2016: Four of the top six were inside the top 30 and the other two had both won on the PGA Tour before.