As we turn the page to 2020, we start thinking about the four major championships of the year to come. We have the Masters in Georgia in April, the second May edition of the PGA Championship, the US Open in June and The Open Championship ending the major calendar in July.
The four men’s majors effectively straddle the middle of the real golf season, from January through August. With the PGA Championship moving to May for the first time in 2019, the US Open now kicks off the second half of the four majors of the year.
The 2020 US Open will offer a fascinating contrast to Pebble Beach Golf Links, which was host last year, as the formidable and venerable Winged Foot Golf Club in New York hosts the national championship. Winged Foot last hosted the US Open in 2006, when Geoff Ogilvy won his one-and-only major championship in a shocker over Phil Mickelson, who double-bogeyed the final hole to cost himself a chance at the one major title that has ultimately prevented him from winning the career Grand Slam.
At the time, Mickelson was going for a third-consecutive major after winning the 2015 PGA Championship and the 2016 Masters. Tiger Woods was mourning the death of his father, Earl, from earlier in the season and missed the cut in his return to major golf. Had Mickelson won the US Open, perhaps he would have gone on to win even more than the five majors he has pocketed.
Instead, 14 years later from that “such an idiot” moment at Winged Foot, one of the toughest future US Open venues, Mickelson is in the twilight of his career and still missing the US Open. A new generation has arisen, with Brooks Koepka leading the way with four major championships won dating back to his breakthrough at Erin Hills in the 2017 US Open. Koepka won again in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills, and he was the closest chaser to Gary Woodland last year at Pebble Beach Golf Links. The big question heading into the 2020 US Open is if Koepka can continue one of the all-time great runs in the national championship, or if he’ll become just another victim of Winged Foot.
Woods himself is the defending Masters champion, looking to add to his tally of 15 majors won in a new decade. If Woods wins a major before the end of his career, he would become the first golfer to win a major in four different and consecutive decades. Can he collect on one last debt in the national championship?
Then there’s Rory McIlroy, who hasn’t won the US Open since his 2011 major breakthrough at a diminished Congressional Country Club in suburban Washington, D.C. McIlroy hasn’t won a major title since the 2014 PGA Championship to complete a back-to-back run that summer. However, coming off wins in The Players Championship and the Tour Championship to take a second FedEx Cup, McIlroy has become a favorite to take down majors again to kick off a new decade.
While the lines are sure to move, our friends at viewpointnigeria have Brooks Koepka as an 8-to-1 favorite to win a third US Open. Rory McIlroy comes in at 10-to-1 to win a second US Open, and Tiger Woods is 14-to-1 to claim a fifth US Open title.