The U.S. Open begins today at Pinehurst No. 2 with a 156-player field that does not include Tiger Woods but features six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson. Post-Gazette golf writer Gerry Dulac looks at the leading contenders.
Rory McIlroy: He has two majors already, including 2011 U.S. Open, at age 24.
Adam Scott: He’s the No. 1 player in the world, and playing like it.
Jordan Spieth: At age 20, seasoned beyond his years and ready to win a major.
Bubba Watson: Masters champ has the creativity to hit the squirrely shots necessary at Pinehurst.
Phil Mickelson: Can Lefty finally (Grand) Slam the door on his U.S. Open disappointments?
Jason Day: He hits it long, hits it high and thrives in major championships.
Matt Kuchar: Eight top 10s, a Heritage win and a playoff loss make him Tour’s most consistent player.
Justin Rose: No Open champ has successfully defended his title since Curtis Strange in 1989.
John Senden: Pure ball-strikers are always welcome at the Open, and the Valspar champ is that.
Dustin Johnson: Don’t be fooled, length will matter at Pinehurst.
Lee Westwood: Englishman is big-game hunter who can never bag the prize.
Jason Dufner: The reigning PGA champ has been fourth each of the past two years.
Sergio Garcia: OK, the Spaniard might never win a major, but he is playing very well.
Hunter Mahan: He was fourth last year at Merion and has the swing that shouldn’t fail.
Zach Johnson: He won a Masters with a strong wedge game and distance control, so why not here?
Luke Donald: Greenside mastery should keep him in good stead on Pinehurst’s turtleback surfaces.
Keegan Bradley: Missed the cut at the two biggest tournaments to date — Masters and TPC.
And the winner is … Jordan Spieth. He has the grinding mentality and tenacity to win a U.S. Open, even at a young age.