The 2012 season has been one for the ages, with the league racking up wins in true Sneadian fashion. With 18 wins through just 22 weeks of play, the league is on record pace, and there is no reason to think that we won’t win all four Majors. Let’s take a look at the players who have the best chance of winning the U.S. Open, and vaulting their owners to glory. This is the 2012 U.S. Open Player Rankings.
1. Tiger Woods – Although it’s been four years since he actually won a Major, Tiger has won two of his last five starts, both at tournaments boasting excellent fields. While the days of worrying about the ‘Tiger rule’ are long gone, he still has the talent and ferocity to win Majors, and it would come as no surprise if one of them came this week.
2. Matt Kuchar – His 410 points for the season may not be blowing away the rest of the league, but Kooch’s ability to step up to the plate in big situations has been second to none. In his four starts at tier three and four tournaments this year, he has finished T5, T8, T3, and 1. That’s ridiculous.
3. Phil Mickelson – With five career second place finishes, few play the U.S. Open better than Lefty. While he’s never won the tournament, you have to think Phil will view that as a motivator, along with the fact that the tournament is being held in his home state of California. Don’t be surprised to see Phil in contention come Sunday afternoon.
4. Luke Donald – Although he’s the number one ranked golfer in the world, the fact that Luke Donald has yet to win a Major is certainly a strike against him. While his distance may hurt him this week(it may take him up to 10 shots to reach the 670 yard par-5) his short game and iron play make him a favorite to win every week.
5. Dustin Johnson – Who knew that Dustin Johnson’s return would be the spark that Bryce needed to start his mid-season charge. The return of the golden boy with the golden burns has Bryce charging up the leaderboard. A win from either Johnson or Tiger would likely vault Bryce back up into the top three of the league, a remarkable change from just two weeks ago when he occupied last place.
6. Lee Westwood – Much like Luke Donald, Lee Westwood’s lack of a Major at this point in his career has certainly hurt him in the rankings. While his finishes in Major tournaments are almost always excellent, he just can’t seem to win one. Westwood’s consistent ballstriking will keep him in the fairways at Olympic, and as long as he can make some putts, he will certainly have a shot.
7. Rickie Fowler – While Prov had a Captain Jack Sparrow, the PGA tour has one of it’s own in Rickie Fowler. The young hotshot has been on a tear since Lawrence released him, and with getting his first win no longer lurking in the back of his mind, he has been playing the best golf of his career. Rory McIlroy and Keegan Bradley have proven that young guns can win on the biggest stage, so why can’t Fowler?
8. Jim Furyk – In case you hadn’t noticed, Furyk is looking like the Furyk of 2010, when he won three tournaments and the FedEx Cup. Furyk has three top tens so far this season, and four other finishes inside the top 13. The days of Furyk contending every week may be gone, but SSF has a good feeling about him this week.
9. Rory McIlroy – It’s kinda tough to repeat as a Major champion, but if anyone can do it, it will be the immensely talented McIlroy. Up until a few weeks ago, he was contending in every single tournament he played. His struggles of late have certainly bumped him down the list, but considering he almost won last week with a mess of a swing, leaving him out of the top ten would be foolish.
10. Justin Rose – Justin Rose has won some big tournaments so far in his career, including two tier threes. What’s missing from his resume is that first Major championship. While he seems like more of a PGA Championship type of player, Rose has already gotten one win on U.S. soil this year, and that’s why he’s in the top ten this week.
11. Jason Dufner
12. Zach Johnson
13. Steve Stricker
14. Hunter Mahan
15. Bo Van Pelt