The second major of 2017 is here, with Wisconsin’s Erin Hills hosting the U.S. Open for the first time. Welcoming a field of 156 players, the glacier-shaped prairie links will prove unique among modern Open host courses, even compared to Chambers Bay, a fellow hyper-modern host course in recent memory.
While the Open has a full field, most Opens disqualify an overwhelming portion of the field before the tournament ever starts. So, we’ve narrowed down the field to the top 10 players most likely to hoist the trophy on Sunday (or, God forbid, Monday).
Here are our top 10 players (and, if that’s not enough, here are Nos. 11-20) for the U.S. Open.
1. Dustin Johnson – DJ is the best player in the world. He has he length. He’s got the touch. He’s the defending champion, which counts for something. Don’t worry about the MC at Jack’s place.
2. Jason Day – Day is putting it all together at the right time. Unexpectedly lost the Nelson playoff. He had his best finish at Memorial, where he usually tanks. He is a top-15 MACHINE in the U.S. Open.
3. Jordan Spieth – This is a ranking out of both respect for his game and some very good recent results. Don’t worry about the Sawgrass cut; that place is in his head. He played great here in the ’11 Amateur, and he’s been good in his last two starts.
4. Justin Thomas – Justin Thomas struggles to finish off golf tournaments at times. He does. Should’ve won Memorial and booted it. That said, he was a key part of the ’11 U.S. Am here, and he just needs to not be wild off the tee to contend.
5. Rory McIlroy – Rory won an Open, and, yet, his game hasn’t translated in this championship since. Excellent driver of the ball, but his short game can bite him. It can’t here. But the par 5s should keep him hanging around.
6. Jon Rahm – Rahm was reportedly a little pissy at Memorial when he didn’t play well. We know he has that fire in him. We also know he’s fearless, long and can play anywhere. My worry is Rahm’s worried about his hype now. If he avoids that, he can win going away.
7. Adam Scott – Scott has done nothing spectacular all year, so why put him in the top 10? His game works for the Open. It always has. Frankly, he should’ve won one of these already.
8. Jason Dufner – The Duf Daddy isn’t long, yes, but he knew that and still won Memorial on a track he figured too long for him. Putting is an issue on normal weeks for him, but it’s not when putting is an issue for everyone at the Open.
9. Rickie Fowler – Fowler struggles to close out tournaments, but he’s a frequent contender. He fell apart on Sunday at Augusta National, but he nearly won Memorial before a not-too-important missed cut in Memphis last week.
10. Kevin Kisner – Kevin Kisner is a bad man. He’s been great almost all year, and his relative lack of length is not a problem here at all.