PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Like a British Open at St. Andrews, some majors just mean a little bit more.
The same is definitely true for a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where it’s impossible not to think about Tiger’s record-setting 2000 rout or Tom Watson’s 1982 chip-in or any of the number of historic moments at this venue.
We’ll see if history repeats itself with another one for the books in 2019 as we keep an eye on storylines like Brooks Koepka’s run at the three-peat and Woods’ bid for major No. 16.
Unlike last month’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, Pebble Beach is more about finesse than power. That opens up the possibilities on the leaderboard and means any type of player should be able to contend this week.
Here are my top 20 fantasy picks for the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
20. Brandt Snedeker
Two-time winner at Pebble Beach and less than a week removed from shooting 60 in Canada. Could be a nice sleeper pick.
19. Adam Scott
Missed the cut at the 2010 U.S. Open here, but just can’t ignore what he’s done this season with five top-10s. That includes a runner-up his last time out at the Memorial.
18. Webb Simpson
Pebble Beach track record isn’t great, but he’s a former U.S. Open champ and hitting his irons very well at the moment coming off a T-2 at the Canadian Open.
17. Francesco Molinari
Hasn’t done anything since the Sunday Masters meltdown, but the reigning British Open champ has been too good to ignore at the majors lately.
16. Tony Finau
Shot 69-70 in his two Pebble rounds for the Pro-Am back in February and now has some experience contending down the stretch at a major after the Masters.
15. Tommy Fleetwood
Ranks eighth in Strokes Gained tee-to-green and nearly pulled off his first stateside victory last year at Shinnecock.
14. Jon Rahm
Finished T-5 at Pebble Beach in 2017 and T-26 last year, though he is coming off back-to-back missed cuts at the PGA Championship and Memorial.
13. Hideki Matsuyama
Zero experience on this course is a concern, but we’re thinking Matsuyama should have success with the emphasis on iron play and ballstriking around here.
12. Matt Kuchar
Two wins this season and a great chance to make some noise with distance not playing as big a factor this week as in most majors.
11. Justin Thomas
Looked much better in his second start back from injury with a T-20 in Canada. Still seems to be working his way back into form.
10. Xander Schauffele
Big game hunter who won’t stay off anyone’s radar for long. He’s gone T-5, T-6 in his first two U.S. Open starts and has two runner-ups and a T-6 in three of his last five major starts.
9. Rickie Fowler
Everything looked good in his final tune-up at the Memorial and the putter is warming up again this season.
8. Jordan Spieth
An afterthought entering the PGA Championship, Spieth has suddenly ripped off three consecutive top-10 finishes and is putting lights out. Definitely back in the discussion.
7. Jason Day
Ridiculously good track record here with six top-10 finishes in 10 Pebble Beach Pro-Am starts, including three straight top-5s.
6. Justin Rose
Finished T-6 at Pebble in 2016 and bounced back from a brief rough patch with a 13th at the Memorial, which included a second-round 63.
5. Tiger Woods
Back to the site of his most dominant performance ever, Woods looked great at the Memorial. If he has one of his better weeks off the tee he’ll absolutely be in contention late Sunday.
4. Rory McIlroy
Made a ridiculous statement with his 64-61 weekend and seven-shot victory in Canada. Won’t find a more confident player in the field this week.
3. Patrick Cantlay
Coming off his biggest career win at Memorial, has experience here and playing so consistently well it’s hard to fathom anything outside of a top-10 finish.
2. Brooks Koepka
Finished T-8 at the 2016 Pro-Am but, more importantly, gunning for his third straight U.S. Open and fifth major overall in his last nine starts. Not much left to say.
1. Dustin Johnson
Plays better here than pretty much any other course on the planet and seems poised to redeem himself after letting the 2010 U.S. Open slip away on Sunday.