2019 US Open Picks, Rankings, Sleepers, Preview

Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2019 US Open Picks. The guys give their fantasy golf picks, provide their one and done strategy for the event from Pebble Beach. But first, at 5:23, Tim Anderson joins to fill us in on his Top 3 picks for the 2019 US OPEN.

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2019 US Open Picks: Show Index

0:22 Giveaways
2:28 Initial Thoughts
5:23 Cust and Course Preview
13:01 ANDERCURSED
34:18 Tiger Woods
37:59 Favorites
44:48 Second Tier
1:11:17 Middle Tier
1:24:41 Longshots
1:41:17 Quick Picks
1:43:51 One and Done


2019 US Open Field

Field: 156 Players | Top 60 and Ties Make the Cut (no MDF
First Tee: Thursday, June 13 at 9:45 a.m. ET
Defending Champion: Brooks Koepka

The 119th US Open returns to Pebble Beach for the sixth time on course’s centennial anniversary, and each one of the world’s elite will be in attendance to celebrate. Each of the top-60 golfers in the World Golf Rankings are on site, along with sectional qualifiers from around the globe, 14 amateurs, and an old. Ernie Els, a two-time US Open champions, has been provided a special exemption to make his 27th consecutive start.

However, when scouting for a winner, the US Open has been a favorites paradise for almost the last decade. In fact, Graeme McDowell’s victory at Pebble Beach in 2010 was the last time a winner emerged from beyond 50/1 in the betting market. With its shorter length, and emphasis on putting and short game, Pebble Beach should allow more of the field access to compete. So, while the longer odd players aren’t dead, like they were at Shinnecock a year ago, if stick to quality, as history as shown, the winner will come from this 50/1 and under group: Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Francesco Molinari, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Tommy Fleetwood, Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Kuchar, Tony Finau, Webb Simpson, Paul Casey, and six-time US Open runnerup, and 2019 Pebble Beach Pro-Am winner Phil Mickelson. Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson, and Brandt Snedeker just miss per those requirements.

If you want to start making some more cross-offs based on US Open history, Martin Kaymer (2014) was the last international champion, Francis Ouimet (1913) is the last player to win his first US Open start, Webb (2012) is the last to claim victory in his second start. Payne Stewart (1999) was the last winner over the age of 40, Lucas Glover (2009) was the last player to come through sectional qualifying, and, winner of the creatively named US Open Trophy last year, Brooks, is the last golfer to defend his title. DJ (2017) was the last defending champion to miss the cut the following year.

With a 156 players in the field, and only the Top 60 and ties getting to the weekend (no MDF), getting all six golfers through the cut line will be a more difficult task than even in a normal week. A balanced approach among DraftKings salaries will likely be the most popular lineup build, but don’t fool yourself. As we see with the US Open typically playing as the most difficult tournament all season, there are no safe golfers this week. Of players in the field, Hideki (22), Fleetwood (21), DJ (19), McDowell (13), Rory Sabbatini (11), Stenson (9) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (9) have the longest active made cut streak on TOUR. You’re missing a lot of gigantic names who you likely consider “safe” from that list. Imagine what happens when the difficulty is cranked up to 11?


2019 US Open: Key Stats

Strokes Gained: Approach
Fairways Gained
Strokes Gained: Around The Green
Par 4s Gained: 400-450 Yards
Opportunities Gained

 

Mayo’s Custom Stat POWER RANKINGS from FantasyNational.com


2019 US Open: Course

Course: Pebble Beach GL
Par: 71
Yardage: 7,075
Greens: Poa
Par 5 Eagles in 2010 (Last US Open at PB): 13
Rank: 1/52 (+3.983)


2019 US Open: 2019 AT&T Pro-Am Leaderboard

1st — Phil Mickelson -19
2nd — Paul Casey -16
3rd — Scott Stallings -15
T4 — Jason Day -14
T4 — Si Woo Kim -14
6th — Scott Langley -12
T7 — Lucas Glover -11
T7 — Kevin Streelman -11
T7 — Brian Gay -11
T10 — Scott Piercy -10
T10 — Chris Stroud -10
T10 — Michael Thompson -10
T10 — Max Homa -10


2019 US Open: 2010 US Open Leaderboard

1st — Graeme McDowell Even
2nd — Gregory Havret +1
3rd — Ernie Els +2
T4 — Phil Mickelson +3
T4 — Tiger Woods +3
T6 — Matt Kuchar +4
T6 — Davis Love III +4
T8 — Alex Cejka +5
T8 — Dustin Johnson +5
T8 — Martin Kaymer +5
T8 — Brandt Snedeker +5

 

*83 Players made the cut


2019 US Open Course & Stats

 

While the course is in the same location and the name is the same, expect Pebble Beach to look a tad different than when we annually see it at the AT&T Pro-Am event. The USGA has narrowed the fairway, dosed some Rogaine off the short grass to thicken up that rough, and they’ve crated run-off areas which should allow wayward shots to plunge into the Pacific if they catch the slope just right. Pebble will play as a Par 71 instead of 72 for the US Open and has been lengthened by about 300-400 yards, depending on the set up that day. The second hole has been transformed from a 520-yard Par 5 into a daunting 516-yard Par 4, one of three Par 4s measuring over 495 yards. The other eight Par 4s fall under 445 yards.

There are some other large differences between regular rotation Pebble Beach and Major Pebble Beach too. The placement on the schedule being the biggest. Inherently, the weather between early February and the middle of June should have the fairways and greens playing fastest. While the USGA is making a concerted effort not to have the greens play like grass like the third round last year, expect the tiny, poa putting surfaces to be a bit more speedy than during the Pro-Am. Also, the lack of amateurs (outside the ones good enough to qualify) will give the players different looks in terms of the grandstands, camera towers, and, most importantly, pace of play. During the Pro-Am event, rounds can take up to seven hours when you have 20 handicaps hacking it round the course. Now, with the difficult set up, it’s not like the field is going to get round the layout in a speedy fashion, but it shouldn’t be a slog like they’re used to.

This isn’t to say Pebble experience won’t be valuable. Four of the past five US Open winners at Pebble Beach Tiger Woods (2000), Tom Kite (1992), Tom Watson (1984), and Jack Nicklaus (1972) all had won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am previously in their careers. And Graeme McDowell had T8 finish to his credit.

Sorting by just Pebble Beach GL, where one of the first three rounds and the final round is used in the Pro-Am event, since 2014, per www.fantasynational.com, the leaders in each of the four strokes gained metrics are:

Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee (Total)

Dustin Johnson (10 Rounds)
Chez Reavie (8 Rounds)
Rory Sabbatini (7 Rounds)
Patrick Reed (9 Rounds)
Shane Lowry (9 Rounds)

Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee (Average Per Round)

Jhonattan Vegas (1 Round)
Gary Woodland (3 Rounds)
Abraham Ancer (1 Round)
Brendan Grace (4 Rounds)
Adam Scott (2 Rounds)

Strokes Gained: Approach (Total)

JB Holmes (8 Rounds)
Jimmy Walker (9 Rounds)
Jim Furyk (5 Rounds)
Paul Casey (4 Rounds)
Brian Stuard (7 Rounds)

Strokes Gained: Approach (Average Per Round)

Xander Schauffele (1 Round)
Paul Casey (4 Rounds)
JB Holmes (8 Rounds)
Jim Furyk (5 Rounds)
Tommy Fleetwood (2 Rounds)

Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green (Total)

Brandt Snedeker (9 Rounds)
Phil Mickelson (8 Rounds)
Jason Day (10 Rounds)
Bryson DeChambeau (3 Rounds)
Zac Blair (6 Rounds)

Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green (Average Per Round)

David Toms (1 Round)
Abraham Ancer (1 Round)
Bryson DeChambeau (3 Rounds)
CT Pan (1 Round)
Brandt Snedeker (9 Rounds)

Strokes Gained: Putting (Total)

Brandt Snedeker (9 Rounds)
Phil Mickelson (8 Rounds)
Jimmy Walker (9 Rounds)
Jordan Spieth (10 Rounds)
Jason Day (10 Rounds)

Strokes Gained: Putting (Average Per Round)

Xander Schauffele (1 Round)
Brooks Koepka (2 Rounds)
Aaron Wise (2 Rounds)
Gary Woodland (3 Rounds)
Lucas Glover (4 Rounds)

 

In the 2010 US Open, only eight players managed to hit more than 60% of their greens in regulation. In 2000 it was even more dire; only three players got over the 60% hump. So while it’s clear accuracy on these fairways thinner than Jordan Spieth’s hairline, and quality iron play is mist to compete, the field is going to miss greens. Period. This should put an emphasis on short game more than anything else. Unless someone goes full 2000-Tiger and runs away with a double-digit victory, the winning score should be in the realm of even par, and it’s going to be impossible to linger around that number without an elite short game. Bombers will be able to club down an improve accuracy; shorter players won’t be so far away from the green that they’ll be at an iron disadvantage on most holes, so the separation is going to be on getting up-and-down for par.

 

Of players in the field, over the past 50 rounds, the leaders in Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green are:

Byeong-Hun An
Brandt Snedeker
Aaron Baddeley
Louis Oosthuizen
Webb Simpson
Tyrrell Hatton
Justin Thomas
Patrick Reed
Si Woo Kim
Rory Sabbatini

Looking at the short-term, over the past 24 rounds:

Brandt Snedeker
Rory Sabbatini
Aaron Baddeley
Louis Oosthuizen
Charles Howell III
Jordan Spieth
Hideki Matsuyama
Webb Simpson
Justin Thomas
Si Woo Kim

To get a larger sample, from the begining of 2018:

Aaron Baddeley
Patrick Reed
Brandt Snedeker
Webb Simpson
Byeong-Hun An
Si Woo Kim
Louis Oosthuizen
Kevin Na
Tiger Woods
Zach Johnson

The worst since the start of 2018:

Hao Tong Li
Kevin Kisner
Daniel Berger
Chesson Hadley
Sepp Straka
Carlos Ortiz
Sam Saunders
Lucas Bjerregaard
Tom Hoge
Erik Van Rooyen
Bubba Watson
Keith Mitchell

And the bottom over the last 24 rounds:

Sepp Straka
Lucas Bjerregaard
Alex Prugh
Tony Finau
Anirban Lahiri
Keith Mitchell
Byron DeChambeau
Erik Van Rooyen
Chez Reavie
Keegan Bradley
Chesson Hadley
Daniel Berger

 

Obviously, a combination of all aspects along with a fortunate weather draw, hot putter, and excellent course management will ultimately determine the winner, but weeding out the players who struggle mightily in a key aspect is the best way to start whittling down your player pool.


2019 US Open Notes

Brooks Koepka (65.29). Dustin Johnson (56.35), Louis Oosthuizen (39.29), Patrick Reed (36.79), Tommy Fleetwood (36.59), Jim Furyk (36.94), Brendan Grace (32.94), Brandt Snedeker (32.79), Jordan Spieth (32.78) and Hideki Matsuyama (31.79) have the most Strokes Gained: Total over the past five US Opens. Over that stretch, only Brooks, Fleetwood, Louis, Furyk, Grace, Kevin Na, Zach Johnson, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Ian Poulter and Rafa Cabrera-Bello have made the cut every time in a minimum of three starts. Xander Schauffele has made the cut in each of his two appearances, and never finished worse than a tie for sixth.

Rory McIlory, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Graeme McDowell, Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson, Lucas Glover and Tiger Woods have missed the cut at the US Open in their past two starts.

This is the sixth time Pebble Beach has hosted the US Open, and 13th Open hosted in California.

Eight holes ranked inside the Top 50 in difficulty on TOUR in the 2010 US Open.

Pebble Beach has hosted 12 USGA championships, including five U.S. Opens and five U.S. Amateurs, and was the site of the 1977 PGA Championship.

The youngest winner of the U.S. Open is 19-year-old John McDermott, who won in 1911; he is among nine players age 21 or younger who have won the U.S. Open. The oldest winner is Hale Irwin, who was 45 and playing on a special exemption when he won his third U.S. Open title in 1990. Irwin also won in 1974 and 1979.

Four-time U.S. Open winners: Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905), amateur Bob Jones (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930), Ben Hogan (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953), and Jack Nicklaus (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980).

Just six players have won the Masters and U.S. Open titles in the same season: Craig Wood (1941), Ben Hogan (1951, 1953), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus (1972), Tiger Woods (2002) and Jordan Spieth (2015).


2019 US Open — Targets From Each Range

Justin Thomas

It’s difficult to bypass the top of the board, but doing so allows you access to two players at the next level and still have the option to build stars and scrub or go full balanced. And frankly, if it wasn’t for the first injury in March, Justin Thomas would be Top 5 in both DraftKings pricing and the betting market. The only concern is his health, and it appears like he’s back. After skipping the PGA Championship, JT returned at the Memorial, appeared fine and completely imploded in the second round to catch an early flight out of town. Chalk it up to rust. At least I will. This week in Canada, his excellent ball striking was masked by a lackluster flat stick. The biggest drawback isn’t the wrist, it’s his lack of Pebble Beach experience, having played just one competitive round at the Pro-Am in his career: a missed cut in 2014. Still, this is about value, and there’s enough mystery surround Thomas to keep people away despite the obvious savings you’re getting on the only player in the field who sits inside the Top 10 in both SG: APP and SG: ATG over the past 50 rounds. It’s a risk with Thomas, but a calculated one based on his skill profile and price point.

Jason Day

Day is essentially the opposite of Thomas. The stats rarely like the Aussie because of his wayward drives, inconsistent irons, and reliance on his chipping and putting. Still, Day enters the 2019 US Open with on the best Pebble track records: Four Top 10s and no finish worse than T11 in the past five years. And, in two of the three times he’s gained strokes on the field with his irons this year, it was at a shorter course: Pebble (+2.9) and Sawgrass (+1.3). Beyond the irons, the main worry is his chipping has been relatively lackluster lately, but this is still the same Jason Day who went 11 straight events gaining strokes around the green a year ago.

Paul Casey

One of the longest players in the field who actually hits fairways, the aging Brit may not have many more opportunities to fit perfectly with a Major venue. Runner-Up to Phil earlier this year, along with an eighth place Pebble finish the year previous, Casey has been ultra consistent Tee to Green all season, expect for when people backed him the most. As one of the most popular selections at the PLAYERS and Masters, Casey missed the cut without even sniffing the weekend. It was pretty brutal. He missed the cut at the Sony Open in January, too. However, he results in his next start following a missed cut in 2019: 2nd/1st/4th. Two of those coming at courses which played less than 7200 yards. Casey hasn’t played a competitive round since withdrawing from the Colonial a few weeks back with the flu. However, maybe it’s just time off that Casey needs to charge up the top end performances again?

Tyrrell Hatton

In his range, you can opt for the perceived safety of someone like Jim Furyk, or the Ricky Bobby, “If you’re not first, you’re last” mantra of Si WOOOOO Kim, but Hatton, despite having zero Pebble experience, is one of the premier short game and links players in the world. And his game, starting to round into form. After a brutal begining of March, Hatton won his group at Match Play, snuck through the cut at the Masters, made the weekend again at the PGA Championship, and followed that up with a T8 at Colonial and T33 at Memorial. So much needs to break right for him to compete at longer courses, which he did at the US Open a year ago, but a shorter track suits him perfectly. Having gained on accuracy in five of past six starts, the 41st ranked player in the world will save enough pars to lurk on the leaderboard come Sunday.

Other notable names appearing near the top of stat models and the win simulator at FantasyNational.com: Patrick Cantlay, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koekpa, Rory Sabbatini, Henrik Stenson, Hideki Matsuyama, Gary Woodland, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson


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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2019 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Podcast of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Video award, and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2019 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year). His 17 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.