What The U.S. Open Results Mean For The Open Championship

The U.S. Open was held earlier this month at Pebble Beach, California, and featured a dominant performance by Gary Woodland. The new major champion certainly put himself at the forefront of golf fans’ minds heading into the rest of the summer – and toward the Open Championship – but who else’s showing at Pebble Beach pointed toward a good rest of the summer?

With the 2019 Open Championship just around the corner, set to begin on July 18th at the Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland, here are a few words on top contenders based on the action at Pebble Beach.

1.) Gary Woodland

We still have to start with Gary Woodland, whose win at the U.S. Open positions him as a factor at the Open Championship next month. Although Woodland doesn’t have much of an Open Championship track record to this point, his performance at Pebble Beach was no fluke. This season alone Woodland has had two runner-ups and eight top-10 finishes on the tour. He seems as if he’s just beginning to flourish, which means there’s every chance he could be in contention yet again in Northern Ireland.

2.) Brooks Koepka

Although Brooks Koepka finished second at the U.S. Open, he’s the natural pick to have the best odds to win the Open Championship. Indeed, most of the U.S.-based sportsbooks have honed in on Koepka and are listing him as the favorite at Royal Portrush – which should come as a surprise to no one following golf of late. In four of the last five majors, Koepka has finished either first or second. And in his last three appearances at the Open, he’s had two top-10 finishes. Koepka is on a prime Tiger Woods-like run of late, is unquestionably the tour’s most consistent player at the moment, and will have every chance to lift the hardware in Northern Ireland.

3.) Justin Rose

Justin Rose was the runner-up at last year’s Open Championship, and he just finished tied for third at the U.S. Open. In other words, he’s got a strong history at this particular event and he’s coming in hot. Now, Rose did leave some fans disappointed on Sunday at Pebble Beach; for a moment on Saturday he seemed to have a chance to contend, but he never actually challenged for the lead. The bigger picture, though, suggests that he should be among the leaders at the Open, with a shot at his second major.

4.) Rory McIlroy

Although McIlroy only tied for ninth at the U.S. Open, some of the aforementioned sportsbooks have him listed not too far behind Koepka in the Open Championship odds. For such a talented player he’s always been a little bit up and down at the big tournaments, which makes him consistently hard to gauge at the majors. However, it should be noted that McIlroy hails from Northern Ireland, and will feel right at home at the Royal Portrush. He’s talked about how much it would mean to him to win at this particular course, and that could serve as the sort of motivation that propels him into contention. Then again, he didn’t look his best at Pebble Beach (though ninth place is certainly nothing to shrug off), and playing at home also comes with a degree of pressure.

5.) Tiger Woods

It seems as if we were just reaching a point at which Woods didn’t automatically factor in on lists like this – and then 2019 happened. Woods may not be the most consistent or dominant player on tour anymore, but he proved at The Masters that he can still reach into his old bag of tricks, and anyone who’s watched him this season has to believe he has at least another major or two left in him. Woods is a three-time Open winner, and this combined with his general breadth of experience means we can basically count him as a contender in a vacuum. That is to say, a somewhat disappointing showing at Pebble Beach (Woods finished 21st) should have no bearing on the Open, in his case. Woods will enter the tournament as one of the top players to watch.

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