Who will Emerge as US Open 2021 Champion at Torrey Pines Golf Course?
At the 2020 US Open, Bryson DeChambeau was on track to win his first major title on the West Course of Winged Foot Golf Club in New York. But few got to witness the American golfer sink his 7-foot putt on the 18th and thrust his arms into the air to celebrate his maiden major triumph. The US Open organisers had to implement changes and safe distancing measures during the tournament. “It’s been a lot of hard work. I’d also be remiss not to talk about my sponsors and the people who have affected me to make this all possible,” said the 27-year-old Rolex Testimonee after winning the US Open last year. “They’ve all been there supporting me through the tough times and the good times; they’ve been incredible for me.”
But when the 156-strong field tees off at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in California for US Open, from June 17 to 20, things will be more normal. For one, the tournament is back to its usual spot in June after it was rescheduled to September last year. Fans will be allowed into the famous golf course too.
The return of the US Open to Torrey Pines this year is also significant. It marks the first time the oldest of the US three majors is being held there since former world No 1 and Rolex Testimonee Tiger Woods dramatically edged out American golfer Rocco Mediate in 2008. (Woods, however, will not be participating this year.)
The question on everyone’s lips: can DeChambeau defend his title with the power and speed he demonstrated last year?
The golfer, affectionately known as “the Scientist” for his unorthodox and sometimes experimental approach to playing golf, has had a somewhat erratic year. He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March but posted mixed performances at the other tournaments he took part in. Or will 2021 Masters champion and Rolex Testimonee Hideki Matsuyama from Japan win his first US Open title? His form has been on the ascent since the start of the year and if he sustains his good play and holds his nerves as he did at Augusta for the Masters in April, he stands a really good chance. Or will it be fellow Rolex Testimonee Phil Mickelson, the oldest winner in major championship history after he lifted the Wanamaker Trophy at PGA Championship 2021?
Other Rolex Testimonees to look out for at Torrey Pines include Americans Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Thomas had a brilliant 2020, putting in several exceptional performances. Spieth, on the other hand, has recently shown flashes of his brilliance—on a more consistent basis—reminding people of his winning performance at the 2015 US Open with a score of 5-under-par.
Over the decades, the US Open has been staged at the country’s most iconic golf courses including Torrey Pines, Winged Foot and Pebble Beach Golf Links.
For the tournament to maintain its success and appeal, it takes more than just outstanding performances by the golfers on the fairways. Rolex’s sustained support for the fabled tournament started in 1980 and the 2021 edition will be its 41st as the official timekeeper. The longevity of the relationship is the result of the common beliefs between the Swiss watchmaker and the tournament. These include the desire to uphold high standards, respect for history and legacy and the “pioneering spirit in the quest for perpetual excellence”—Rolex’s philosophy of constantly improving itself.
Besides the US Open, the Swiss marque also serves as the official timekeeper for the United States Golf Association and is a partner of The R&A, golf’s worldwide governing authority. The US Open is also very special for Rolex Testimonee and golf legend Jack Nicklaus (pictured), one of “The Big Three” alongside Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. In his playing career, he snagged the major four times—a record he holds in modern golf history. Whether DeChambeau can retain his crown remains to be seen. (For the last 30 years, only American and fellow Rolex Testimonee Brooks Koepka have successfully defended his US Open title, winning back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018.)
But one thing’s for sure, the eventual winner who overcomes the challenging Torrey Pines course will have to showcase excellence, precision and accuracy—the same qualities reflected by Rolex’s watches.
Related: Watches & Wonders 2021: Rolex’s 3 Big Themes For the Year