2011 US Open: Top 10 Favourites

The US Open is always a severe test of golf. The course is always brutal with only the most patient golfers prevailing. And before you go rushing off to pick the winner or tell your friends who will win, you may want to consider a few facts.

Over the last ten years, six US Open’s have been won by foreign players. In addition, the winning score has been par or worse on four occasions with 8-under-par being the highest winning score by Jim Furyk in 2003.
The last time the US Open was held at the Congressional Country Club, Ernie Els won with a winning score of 4-under par, beating Colin Montgomerie by a shot.

We’ve already had a look at Australia’s Top-5 chances at the US Open, but who are the favourites to win?

Foreign-born players tend to perform better in events in the United States when scoring is low. This isn’t to say that an American won’t win this weekend, but with Europeans holding down the Top-3 spots in the World Golf Rankings and plenty of non-Americans playing good golf right now, we’re thinking the US Open trophy may head abroad once again.

Luke Donald

1. Luke Donald ($13). Perfectly placed to win his first major this week. Donald’s form has been phenomenal and is reflected in his number one status.

2. Phil Mickelson ($13). I’m not convinced he should be listed this high to win this week. He won in March but he hasn’t looked like the Mickelson we know.

3. Lee Westwood ($13). Only marginally behind the top two to win the US Open. Like Donald, Westwood has yet to win a major championship but it is only a matter of time.

4. Rory McIlroy ($17). Looked a broken man on the 10th at Augusta during the final round. How could he come back from that? He’s young and doesn’t understand what choking means yet. Can win.

Rory McIlroy

5. Dustin Johnson ($23). Figured in the favourites to win majors since his good (but ultimately unrewarding) performances at the US Open and PGA in 2010. He’s been ok this year but may have some bad memories coming down the stretch.

6. Martin Kaymer ($23). Patience and a good, straight game? Kaymer has it by the bucket load but hasn’t turned it on much this year. Everyone was watching his first round at the US Masters and a 78 surprised many.

7. Hunter Mahan ($23). Will fly under the radar this week but here is a great opportunity for Mahan to make his mark. He actually holds the course record at Congressional and has been good this year. Like McIlroy, he needs a good start to get his confidence up.

Nick Watney

8. Matt Kuchar ($26). This guy should be higher. Kuchar is incredibly consistent and has eleven top-25’s this year from 14 starts. He may not win but he’s a great pick for a Top-10 finish.

9. Steve Stricker ($26). Another without a major. He should have won the PGA championship in 1998 but he could easily win this week at Congressional. A real grinder with patience – a perfect for any US Open.

10. Nick Watney ($26). When he is hot he often wins, but his game has been patchy with some great rounds followed by some stinkers. 

Tomorrow: 2011 US Open, the Top-5 dark horses

Previous: Australia’s Top-5 chances

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