Why The U.S. Open Winner Will Be One Of These 10 Players
News

Why The U.S. Open Winner Will Be One Of These 10 Players

Support our Mission. We independently test each product we recommend. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

Why The U.S. Open Winner Will Be One Of These 10 Players

We’ve gone two-for-two playing this game so far in 2024.

First, it was the obvious selection of Scottie Scheffler winning the Masters. And then it was Xander Schauffele finally rewarding my patience with a PGA Championship triumph.

So you heard it here first: One of these 10 guys on this list is winning the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

Let me first address some of the players who did not qualify for the short list.

Jon Rahm isn’t here. He had to withdraw due to an infection in his foot—and I wasn’t in love with his T45-MC showing in the first two majors anyway.

I am also sadly passing on Cameron Smith, one of my favorite players in pro golf. Pinehurst No. 2 figures to be a phenomenal fit for the short-game wizard but Smith’s lack of consistency is scaring me. He is down to No. 57 in the Data Golf rankings, his worst mark in four years. A T63 at the PGA and a T48 at LIV Houston have washed away the good vibes from a T6 at the Masters.

Don’t worry LIV bots—I have two notable PGA Tour exceptions.

I’m punting on Viktor Hovland. He’s been playing some better golf but is ranked No. 173 in Strokes Gained around the green this season. Poor chipping and pitching won’t work at Pinehurst.

I would love to see Rory McIlroy win a major but I’m exhausted waiting for that to happen—and I’m not convinced a firm and fast Pinehurst will be the right place to end his decade-long major drought.

Who is on the list? You won’t be at all shocked to see that it starts with…

Scottie Scheffler

We’ve run out of ways to describe Scheffler’s brilliance, which now includes five wins in his past eight starts. His recent victories at Bay Hill, TPC Sawgrass, Augusta National, Harbour Town and Muirfield Village would be a career 99 percent of professional golfers would trade for in a heartbeat—Scheffler did it in three months.

In the past eight starts, he is 106-under. The next best among the group of 37 players who have competed in those same events? Collin Morikawa at 45-under. That’s 61 shots!

Scheffler’s caddie, Ted Scott, would rank around 51st on the PGA Tour money list assuming Scheffler pays his looper typical rates.

Nothing more to add here.

Collin Morikawa

Consider it a strong but winless season for Morikawa, a player who is now No. 4 in Data Golf. That is his best mark since 2021.

Morikawa’s profile couldn’t be much better for a place like Pinehurst. He is well above average in driving accuracy (No. 1 on the PGA Tour), approach play (No. 51) and around the greens (No. 10). His lack of distance—which is a glaring weakness compared to other stars—will be challenged in spots but I think iron play will be more critical this week.

There is some concern Morikawa hasn’t been able to close this year but he went T3-T4 in the first two majors and finished runner-up to Scheffler at Memorial. He should be involved this week.

Xander Schauffele

I’m tabbing Schauffele on a heat check here.

I could see some pressure being alleviated after he got his first major victory. He can really go out and play freely now, which is dangerous.

Add in the fact that Schauffele has never finished worse than T14 in seven U.S. Open starts and I’m not going out on much of a limb here.

Schauffele has a win and nine other top-10 finishes this year. Six of those have been top-five finishes. He is someone without any gaps in his game. Back-to-back majors is a stretch but it’s possible.

Hideki Matsuyama

Quietly, Matsuyama has been one of the few standout performers of 2024.

He won the Genesis Invitational at Riviera and has three top-10 results since then—including a T8 last week at the Memorial.

Matsuyama gets criticized for his woeful putting but his chipping and pitching are grossly underappreciated. He ranks No. 1 on Tour in Strokes Gained around the greens this season. Match that with being No. 3 in approach play and don’t be surprised to see the Japanese star on the first page of the leaderboard.

Brooks Koepka

I’m not quite as concerned about Koepka as I am with Rahm.

Koepka tends to shine in majors where discipline matters. It wasn’t a factor at Valhalla for the PGA Championship—he finished T26—but it will definitely be a factor this week in North Carolina.

The harder the course gets, the more I like Koepka to be involved.

Ludvig Aberg

Aberg’s knee might be a problem but he isn’t telling us that. In fact, he says it’s not an issue at all.

After a runner-up at the Masters and a T10 at Harbour Town, Aberg struggled at the PGA. He took some time off and then returned with a T5 at Memorial to restore faith that everything is fine.

Ultimately, I can’t pass up on someone this talented. His around the greens play is shoddy enough to give me pause but there is a real chance his prodigious length and exquisite iron play lift him near the top of the board.

Bryson DeChambeau

I’m interested to see how DeChambeau’s skill set matches up with Pinehurst.

While his short game struggles at Augusta National concern me, his overall performance at the Masters (T6) and PGA Championship (second) are enough to make him a threat going into this week.

The key will be patience. DeChambeau will need to play some defense and manage his emotions to have a good look at a second U.S. Open title.

I hope he is a part of the mix. Golf needs more characters like him.

Matt Fitzpatrick

When the conditions are difficult, Fitzpatrick rises.

The 2022 U.S. Open champion plays well when it’s firm, fast and punishing. He’s been quiet this year but did register a T5 at Memorial, indicating his game could be in good enough shape to take on Pinehurst.

He is also among the best putters on this list which is comforting in a U.S. Open where 10-foot par saves are crucial to maintain momentum.

Max Homa

Homa is making progress in major championships.

After a T10 at last year’s Open Championship got him his first top-10 result in 16 major appearances, he contended in the Masters (T3) and got a taste of what winning one of these could feel like.

I’m also convinced this course is a good fit for him. Homa excels with approach play and has a stellar short game so Pinehurst feels like a place where he can separate.

Russell Henley

Mark it down: Russell Henley will be a dark horse to win the U.S. Open.

Henley is No. 8 in the Data Golf rankings, quietly notching a trio of top-five finishes this season.

His below-average driving distance holds him back on typical Tour setups but a firm and fast Pinehurst might mitigate that. Henley is above average in driving accuracy, approach, around the greens and putting.

He also has a pair of top-15 results in two of the past three U.S. Opens so I’m willing to take a flier on him.

Who do you see winning a major championship this week? Let me know below in the comments.

For You

For You

2021 Tommy Armour Impact No. 2 Putter 2021 Tommy Armour Impact No. 2 Putter
Blade Putters
Jul 17, 2024
This Blade Putter is Under $100
News
Jul 17, 2024
Forum Member Review of Stix Golf Sets
Prime Day 2024 Prime Day 2024
Buyer's Guide
Jul 17, 2024
Amazon Prime Day Golf Deals 2024
Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean is a longtime golf journalist and underachieving 8 handicap who enjoys the game in all forms. If he didn't have an official career writing about golf, Sean would spend most of his free time writing about it anyway. When he isn't playing golf, you can find Sean watching his beloved Florida Panthers hockey team, traveling to a national park or listening to music on his record player. He lives in Nashville with his wife and dog (of course the dog's name is Hogan).

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm

Sean Fairholm





    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

      John Monteagudo

      1 month ago

      Homa is due.

      Reply

      Yummy

      1 month ago

      I like Colin. He has the straight ball with the cut to be able to fizz it down the middle and hold greens.
      I think the place does not fit well with guys who predominantly draw the ball, theirs will roll off the back pins all day.
      So Brooks will be in the picture 100%

      Reply

      Trusty Rusty

      1 month ago

      wow no Viktor Hovland?

      Reply

      Buck Tate

      1 month ago

      Lucas Glover could be a threat.

      Reply

    Leave A Reply

    required
    required
    required (your email address will not be published)

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    2021 Tommy Armour Impact No. 2 Putter 2021 Tommy Armour Impact No. 2 Putter
    Blade Putters
    Jul 17, 2024
    This Blade Putter is Under $100
    News
    Jul 17, 2024
    Forum Member Review of Stix Golf Sets
    Prime Day 2024 Prime Day 2024
    Buyer's Guide
    Jul 17, 2024
    Amazon Prime Day Golf Deals 2024