It’s time for our third major of the PGA Tour season, the US Open at Torrey Pines. This will be the 121st US Open and the second time it has been played at Torrey Pines. The last time was 2008 in what would be Tiger Woods’ last major championship win before his incredible career at the 2019 Masters. While Tiger will not be on the course this year, this is still a group of golfers absolutely stacked, making it more challenging to complete a PGA DFS lineup.
The 7,652 yard, par 71 course has changed slightly over the years, but still features narrow fairways and thick rough as well as poa annua greens. The second hole is the only par 4 under 400 yards on the course. The distinctive par 3 third hole is measured at 195 yards, but with multiple tee boxes and wind directions, players could use any number of clubs to attack this hole throughout the week. The easiest hole should once again be the 568-yard par 5 finisher, which will generate high levels of drama down the stretch.
US OPEN BETS: Better Bets, Sleepers
The biggest change during the 13 years will be the field. These players are more analytical, stronger, more agile, and generally better. The south course at Torrey generally ranks in the top 15 toughest for fairways, regulation greens, proximity, and turns. Driving, approaching and climbing will be the keys to success.
We should see perfect conditions this weekend. The weather appears to be typical for San Diego in the summer, with temperatures between 70 and 70 degrees. As of now, the forecast is for winds to be relatively calm, hovering between 8 and 12 MPH throughout the weekend.
PGA DFS Strategy for the US Open 2021
The US Open has always been known for trying to challenge all parts of the player’s game, from the mental to the physical. It will have all the usual US Open features with narrow fairways, coarse roughness, and greens like hardwood floors. A player like Bryson DeChambeau won’t be able to dominate this course like he did at Winged Foot in 2020. The rough will take its toll on these players if they can’t keep it on short grass. I will focus on players who have experience playing in the US Open and know what it takes to win. I’m not taking away anything that DeChambeau did in 2020, it was phenomenal, but I’m just saying this week will be a different story.
When Tiger Woods won the US Open in Torrey in 2008, he finished with a score of one under par. When you look at the average winning score from the Farmers Insurance Open over the past five years, it’s almost 15 under par. That is why I will look at the recent results in the Farmers, but they will not be very weighted, this week he will play more difficult than in January. I hope the winner has a four to six under par.
Picks from the US Open DFS
Brooks Koepka: Koepka freely admits that he doesn’t get up mentally for a regular touring event like he does for a major championship. You know your career will be defined by the number of major titles you win. He missed the cut at the Masters but ruled it out due to knee surgery. If you remove that, he finished runner-up at last month’s PGA Championship, seventh at the 2020 Masters, won the PGA Championship ’19, runner-up at Masters ’19, won the PGA & US Open in ’18, and won the US Open ‘ 17. I am confident that Koepka’s mental game will be stronger than most others on the field this weekend.
Jon Rahm: If you don’t think Rahm doesn’t have great value on his shoulder heading into this weekend, I have an oceanfront property to sell to you in Omaha. A six-shot lead that was heading into Sunday at the Memorial has just been wiped out, and don’t you think it’ll blow up at the US Open? He also has a great track record at Torrey Pines with a win and second place at Farmers Insurance. He is second on the tour in “Strokes Gained: Tee to Green”, third in “Strokes Gained: Off the Tee”, fifth in “Greens in Regulation” and 12th in “Strokes Gained: Approach”. The only reason I don’t like it is its price, but I will pay.
Will Zalatoris: What else can I say about this child that hasn’t been said 100 times? The only thing he has yet to do in his young career is win, but he came very close with a second place finish at the Masters. He also finished eighth at the PGA Championship. That’s just one of his seven top-10 finishes in 2021. This kid can smash the ball off the tee (25 in “Driving Distance”), hit the ball with the best of them on the road (third in “Strokes Won: Approach “) and seventh in” Strokes Won: Tee to Green “) and got into position to birdies often (14 in” Greens in Regulation “). While his last outing at Charles Schwab was his worst result in his young career (59th), I actually hope that kills some of his owners this weekend.
Gary Woodland: Woodland has been an afterthought on the PGA Tour since his win at the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2019. He struggled after the big win and then dealt with a hip injury in late ’20. We’ve seen signs of life in his game for the past two months, starting with a top-10 at Valero and then a top-five a few weeks later at Wells Fargo. He still ranks 10th in “Driving Distance” and in the top 50 in “Strokes Won: Approach” despite his struggles in the early part of the season. I think it will be lower in ownership than players like Jason Kokrak, Joaquin Niemann, Sungjae Im and Shane Lowry in the similar price range.
Shane Lowry: The reigning Open champion is approaching his best form as we get closer to defending his title. I feel like Shane Lowry is flying under the radar despite three top-10 finishes in his last four starts; ninth at the RBC Heritage, fourth at the PGA Championship and sixth at the Memorial Tournament. He also finished 21st at the Masters. He has two top 10 finishes in his US Open history. While he hasn’t won this championship, he still has the Claret Jug at home, so that adds extra points to me. One of the best players in his bag ranks in the top 45 in all Strokes Won categories except putting. That’s the most consistent you can get when it comes to a PGA Tour pro.
Jhonattan Vegas: Something has woken up in Las Vegas over the past few weeks and I personally love seeing it. He just finished second at the Palmetto and ninth at the Byron Nelson in his previous outing. Why not ride the hot hand? One of the best drivers on the PGA Tour, Vegas can be a birdie machine if you get things going. Torrey Pines demands a good driver, and that’s his best skill on the golf course. He currently ranks fourth in “Strokes Won – Off the Tee” and 14th in “Driving Distance.”
Jason Kokrak: Jason won his first PGA Tour event earlier this year at the CJ Cup and used that momentum to score his second win at Charles Schwab just a couple of weeks ago. Aside from those wins, he has top 10 finishes at WGC-Workday, Arnold Palmer and The Players. At 36, he’s all the length it takes to tame Torrey Pines, ranking 22nd in both “Driving Distance” and “Strokes Won – Off the Tee.” He is also fifth on the tour in “Strokes Gained: Putting”, 14th in “Par 5 Scoring” and 25th in “Greens in Regulation”. Kokrak has consecutive top 30 results at the Farmers Insurance Open.