He may have missed the cut in his last start, but despite that recent mishap, Johnson still has the best claim to this top spot. The Coastal Carolina product has been the world’s most productive golfer this year, and his powerful swing should set him up for success at a big ballpark like Erin Hills. With those factors working in his favor, we need to keep an eye on him as he prepares to make his first-ever major title defense.
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2. Jason Day
By his own standards, it’s been a monumentally frustrating season for this Aussie, but with a couple of top 15 finishes in the last month, his game is certainly heading in the right direction. Combine that with his sterling track record at the U.S. Open and Day looks like a clear frontrunner for this week.
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3. Justin Rose
This Englishman has reached a point in his career where major count is the only thing that matters, so you’ll have to forgive him for playing such a light schedule since the Masters. On the bright side, Rose has been consistently impressive this year, so he should be all systems go for the U.S. Open.
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4. Kevin Kisner
Despite all his recent success, this South Carolina native still lacks the fame enjoyed by most of his elite peers — probably because he’s yet to represent the stars and stripes in an international match play competition. Still, Kisner has an outsized game to make up for his relatively small name, so he should be able to impress at Erin Hills this week.
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5. Jordan Spieth
This Texan endured a bit of a rough patch in the month of May, but just like we knew he would, Spieth has returned to form with a vengeance. The youngster has seen encouraging results in his last two starts, and if his game keeps heading in the right direction, a second U.S. Open title might not be far off.
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6. Jason Dufner
Hot on the heels of a huge comeback win at the Memorial Tournament, Dufner should bring a lot of confidence into this year’s U.S. Open. The Auburn product has a ton of experience on the big stage and has demonstrated an ability to tame these USGA layouts in the past, so look for him to shoot some impressive scores.
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7. Rickie Fowler
He may have missed the cut at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, but look on the bright side — at least he got a couple of extra days to prepare. In all seriousness, Fowler has been playing too well this year for us to write him off because of one lost week. Momentum or not, he’s got the kind of well-rounded skill set that makes him a threat to win any tournament he enters.
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8. Sergio Garcia
Can this Spaniard pull a Jordan Spieth and get himself halfway to golf’s fabled Grand Slam? It’s unlikely, but now that he’s got the major monkey off his back, there has to be a part of Garcia that wants to make up for lost time. With his combination of confidence and skill, the 37-year-old should be well-equipped to make a run this week.
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9. Adam Scott
This Aussie has had a great career, but with just one major title in his trophy case, he’d love to do some more damage while he’s still an elite player. Fortunately for him, Scott is highly experienced on the big stage and has been close at past U.S. Opens, so he should be capable of shooting some low scores this week.
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10. Charl Schwartzel
I wasn’t going to include this South African on my list, but that was before his impressive performance at last week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic. Schwartzel shot three rounds in the 60s to tie for second, slowed only by a Saturday 74; given those results, he looks primed and ready to torch Erin Hills for some more low scores this week.
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