The 2021 U.S Open Championship returns to California for the 121st playing of the U.S. Open after a trip to the East Coast for the September addition in 2020. Last year’s tournament was postponed to the fall due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic over the summer and a pause in play.

The famed Torrey Pines South Course is your host for the second time in U.S. Open history, first hosting the tournament in 2008. In addition, this will be the second U.S. Open played in the state of California in three years (Pebble Beach, 2019). 

The winner of the U.S. Open Trophy will collect 600 FedEx Cup and 100 World Golf Rankings points. Along with the boost in rankings, the victor will take home $2,250,000 million of the $12,500,000 with a ten-year exemption to the U.S. Open, a five-year exemption to the PGA Tour, and a five-year exemption to the other three majors.

U.S. Open History

The U.S. Open is the oldest U.S. major and was first placed in 1895 at Newport Country Club, a 9-hole golf course in Newport, R.I. 18-hole courses were not around in the United States at the time.

The tournament was founded by the USGA and originally a one-day stroke play event. The first U.S. Open had only ten professional golfers and one amateur, with Newport’s own Horace Rawlins winning the inaugural event.

British golfers dominated nearly the first two decades of the tournament. It wasn’t until the 17th edition of the U.S. Open in 1911 that the American’s would get its first winner. 

19-year old John McDermott beat a pair of competitors in an 18-hole playoff to become the first American to win the tournament. McDermott is still the youngest U.S. Open winner in tournament history.

Following McDermott’s breakthrough for the U.S., the American’s dominated the U.S. Open. From 1911-2020, only 18 non-American professional golfers were able to claim a U.S. Open championship.

Qualifications 

Here is the qualification process for the U.S. Ope according to the United States Golf Association website:

  • Winners of the U.S. Open Championship the last ten years
  • From the 2020 U.S. Open, the lowest ten scorers and ties
  • Winner of the 2020 U.S. Amateur Championship
  • Runner-Up in the 2020 U.S. Amateur (must be an amateur)
  • Winners of the Masters’ Tournament from 2017-21
  • Winning the PGA Championship from 2016-21
  • Winners in the Open Championship from 2016-2019
  • Winning Players Championship from 2019 and 2021
  • Winner of the 2020 BMW PGA Championship
  • Winners of multiple full-point PGA Tour events from the originally scheduled 2020 U.S. Open to the 2021 U.S. Open
  • From the three-event U.S. Open 2021 European Qualifying Series and the top 10 aggregated points earners not otherwise exempt
  • Winner of the 2020 The Amateur Championship staged by the R&A (must be an amateur)
  • Winner of the 2020 Mark H. McCormack Medal for being the No. 1 player in World Amateur Golf Ranking (must be an amateur)
  • From May 24th, 2021, Official World Golf Ranking, the top 60 point leaders and ties.
  • From June 7th, 2021 Official Wolrd Golf Ranking, the top 60 point leaders and ties (if not previously exempt)
  • A leading player from 2020 Asian Tour Order of Merit, 2020 ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australia Order of Merit, and 2021 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.
  • Special Exemptions as selected by the US

Past Champions of the U.S Championship

There have been a handful of notable past champions that include some historical performances. Below is a list of the last ten U.S. Open Champions, followed by some highlights from earlier tournaments discussed today.

Year Winner Score To Par Venue Location
2020 Bryson DeChambeau 274 -6 Winged Foot Golf Club West Course Mamaroneck, New York
2019 Gary Woodland 271 -13 Pebble Beach Golf Links Pebble Beach, California
2018 Brooks Koepka 281 +1 Shinnecock Hills Golf Club Shinnecock Hills, New York
2017 Brooks Koepka 272 -16 Erin Hills Erin, Wisconsin
2016 Dustin Johnson 276 -4 Oakmont Country Club Plum, Pennsylvania
2015 Jordan Spieth 275 -5 Chambers Bay University Place, Washington
2014 Martin Kaymer 271 -9 Pinehurst Resort Course No. 2 Pinehurst, North Carolina
2013 Justin Rose 281 +1 Merion Golf Course East Course Ardmore, Pennsylvania
2012 Webb Simpson 281 +1 Olympic Club Lake Course San Francisco, California
2011 Rory McIlroy 268 -16 Congressional Country Club Blue Course Bethesda, Maryland

So notes from the past ten winners. The U.S. Open victory was the only major championship victory for Woodland, Rose, and Simpson. Koepka was the first golfer to win back-to-back U.S. Open titles since Curtis Strange in 1988 and 1989. 

The last amateur to win the tournament was by John Goodman in 1933. Ben Hogan captured his second U.S. Open victory in 1950, just 16 months after a terrible car crash that nearly ended his career. 

In 1973, Johnny Miller posted an 8-under par for the lowest single round of golf in U.S. Open tournament history. The late Arnold Palmer entered Sunday trailing by seven shots but came back to win the 1960 U.S. Open in one of the best performances by a golfer in a major.

The Course for the 2021 U.S Open Championship

Torrey Pines is a 36-hole municipal course owned by San Diego, CA, divided into a North and South course. Many Tour players are familiar with the historic Southern California track, as it is the host of the annual Farmers Insurance Open at the end of January.

The South Course is no slouch and will test professionals and amateurs alike. It is a par-72 and runs a whopping 7,689 in length, making it one of the longest venues on Tour. The track was designed by William F. Bell and opened in 1957.

Last Time at Torrey

The 2008 edition of the U.S. Open held on the same course was one that lives in PGA Tour lore. Tiger Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole Monday playoff, capturing his 14th major while playing with a stress fracture and torn ACL. This was the last major victory for Woods until his surprising triumph at the Masters in 2019.

The Field in the 2021 U.S Open Championship

The 156-man field has a unique qualifying process in that half the field is determined by final qualifying, allowing anyone from club pros to past major winners to play themselves into the tournament.

Along with non-Tour golfers getting a chance to tee up in a major championship, you will have the top 60 players in the world vying for the U.S. Open Championship trophy.

Betting Favorites in the 2021 U.S Open Championship

When looking at the favorites to win the U.S. Open, there are some key statistics you’ll want to follow before making your picks. Of course, driving distance is a major player in U.S. Open tournaments, along with accuracy off the tee. Other areas to follow are course history and current form. Check out the BParlay.com Golf Parlay Betting guide, packed full of the latest tips and advice for golf betting.

Here are four consensus top players to consider to win.

John Rahm (+800) – Rahm had to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament due to a positive COVID test after building an eight-shot cushion in round three is the favorite. Rahm is the No. 3 ranked player OWGR and still searching for his first major victory.

Bryson DeChambeau (+1200) – DeChambeau looks to capture his second U.S. Open trophy in as many years. The 27-year old is first in driving distance and comes into the tournament with three top-10 finishes in his last ten starts, including a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Rory McIlroy (+1200) – McIlroy hasn’t won a major championship since 2014, but a win earlier this season at the Wells Fargo Championship puts him square in the mix. Rory posted a disappointing T49 at the PGA Championship but bounced back with a T18 at the Memorial.

Justin Thomas (+1200) – It has been an exciting season for Thomas, one defined by inconsistency. Since winning the PLAYERS Championship in March, J.T. hasn’t cracked the top 10 in seven starts. 

Betting Darkhorses

Many players have a chance to win a major championship, but statistically, the winner comes from a betting favorite. However, there are still a handful of players to consider whose odds are worth the value.

Viktor Hovland (+2200) – Hovland might not be a true darkhorse, but the position here is still one to look at. The 23-year old has done well in U.S. Opens and finished T2 at the Farmers this January.

Phil Mickelson (+5000) – Why not? The oldest golfer to win a major is one U.S. Open victory away from the major Grad Slam. Mickelson has finished in second in this event six times, so the history is there.

Jason Kokrak (+6000) – Already a two-time winner this season on Tour (CJ Cup and Charles Schwab Challange), the 36-year old is in solid form heading to Torrey. Kokrak ranks 21st in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and is fifth in SG: Putting.

Max Homa (+8000) – Coming into the tournament after a T6 at the Memorial Tournament. Homa secured his second career victory earlier this season at the Genesis Invitational. The 30-yard old posted a T18 at this venue at the Farmers.