U.S. Open 2019: Can Tiger Woods Win at Pebble Beach?

In April, Tiger Woods ended an 11-year wait for a major when he triumphed at The Masters. Now he takes the quest for a 16th major back to the scene of arguably his most famous success—the greens of Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

It was here, in 2000, that Woods secured the first of his three U.S. Open titles with what many call the best performance he ever produced.

The first year of the 2000s was vintage Woods. The U.S. Open was followed by a successful defense of his PGA Championship and a first triumph at The Open Championship.

The win at Pebble Beach, however, was on a completely different level. Woods annihilated the field. He finished 12-under-par and an astonishing 15 shots clear of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ernie Els, who shared second spot.

So, as the tournament returns to Pebble Beach for the first time since 2010, can Woods add another major to his collection?

The omens are mixed. The 43-year-old's triumph at Augusta in April was followed by a missed cut at the PGA Championship, with his plans were derailed by a mysterious illness.

Woods was in much better form earlier this month, when tied ninth at the Memorial Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. That was his 10th top-10 finish in the last 16 starts, a figure only bettered by Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy.

Tiger Woods, U.S. Open
Tiger Woods of the United States chips to the sixth green during a practice round prior to the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 10 in Pebble Beach, California. Getty/Andrew Redington

Along with Dustin Johnson, that duo are the only players entering the U.S. Open with shorter odds than Woods, who is currently fourth-favorite at 9/1.

Tiger's familiarity with Pebble Beach, where he finished tied fourth in 2010, should also play into his hands.

The relatively small greens will make the approach even more important and that should favor Tiger, who leads the PGA in terms of greens in regulations.

Woods has hit 72.86 percent of greens in regulations this season, compared with a tournament average of 65.38. He ranks 13th in strokes gained on approach.

Conversely, Tiger's putting game could slow him down a little. So far this season, Woods ranks 73rd in shots gained when putting and that could make the difference over four days at Pebble Beach.

Even being on the top of his own game, however, might not be enough for the 43-year-old, given the quality of the field.

A 15/2 favorite, Koepka also arrives in California looking to win a second major this season.

Doing so would see the Floridian become the first man in 114 years to win the U.S. Open three years in a row.

Willie Anderson last achieved the feat in 1905, and few would bet against the 29-year-old emulating the Scotsman this week.

"It's about trying to peak at the right time," Woods said in a press conference on Monday. "That's the trick and it's not easy to do. Brooks has done it better than anyone else over the last couple of years.

"He knows what he needs to do and he seems to get his game, mind and body coming together for those big weeks."

Johnson and McIlroy, meanwhile, are joint second favorites at 8/1. The former finished second at both The Masters and at the PGA Championship this year, but has demons to banish at Pebble Beach.

In 2010, the last time the U.S. Open was staged at the course, Johnson held a three-shot lead going into the final day—but ended up shooting a 10-over-par 82.

McIlroy, meanwhile, is still searching for a first major winner since 2014. He arrives in California on the back of a dominant win at the Canadian Open last weekend.

U.S. Open 2019: Can Tiger Woods Win at Pebble Beach? | Sports