U.S. Open Power Rankings: The Top 30

It is the second week of June, and that means the second PGA Tour major of the season is upon us. All the best golfers in the world will be at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island for the 118th edition of the U.S. Open, in what promises to be a treacherous challenge from the USGA bordering on unfair.

In a field replete with big names, here are the ones we like most:


20. BRANDEN GRACE

Credit: Getty Images/Jared Tilton

The man who shot the first 62 in major championship history last year has come close at the U.S. Open before, finishing in the top 5 in two of the past three. He is 12-for-12 on made cuts this season and remains one of the world’s premiere putters.

A South African won the U.S. Open last time it was at Shinnecock Hills, and Grace is a man who draws comparisons to Retief Goosen not just in heritage, but also in calmness and composure. Grace has a U.S. Open mentality and should be confident in his chances of snagging his first major championship.

Odds: 33/1
World Rank: 34th
Field Rank: 34th
2017 U.S. Open: 50th
Last Seven: 52, 5, 3, 46, 24, 29, 8


19. PATRICK CANTLAY

Credit: Getty Images/Streeter Lecka

His colleagues rave about his skill, and now the man who has come back from so much appears to be ready to make his mark on the major championship stage.

After missing all of 2015 and 2016 due (mostly) to injury, the 26-year-old Cantlay has been one of the most consistent and one of the best all-around players on Tour. He has top 7 finishes in three of his last four starts, including a solo-fourth at The Memorial Tournament, and he ranks 11th on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

His incredible story feels likely to have several major highlights, and it would not be a surprise if one of those came this week.

Odds: 60/1
World Rank: 29th
Field Rank: 29th
2017 U.S. Open: DNP
Last Seven: 4, MC, 23, 7, MC, 17, 30


18. FRANCESCO MOLINARI

Credit: Getty Images/Andrew Reddington

Many would be surprised to see that Molinari is a lofty 18th in the world rankings. They should not be, though. The Italian is a tee-to-green wizard who hits fairways and greens as well as anyone in the game.

His U.S. Open record is dismal, with a T23 in 2014 being his best finish, but he has a victory and a runner-up in his last two events on the European Tour, with the win coming at the prestigious BMW PGA Championship.

A T2 finish at last year’s PGA Championship also shows that the 35-year-old might have a sense of urgency to collect some major hardware.

Odds: 60/1
World Rank: 18th
Field Rank: 18th
2017 U.S. Open: MC
Last Seven: 2, 1, MC, 16, 49, 20, 17


17. WEBB SIMPSON

Credit: Getty Images/Icon Sportswire

The 2012 U.S. Open Champion at Olympic Club has made an absolutely awe-inspiring improvement with his putter, having gone from one of the players most negatively affected by the ban on anchored putting to his current position of 5th on Tour in strokes gained: putting.

Simpson has been a model of consistency all year, with nine top-25s in 14 starts, but the highlight of his 2018 was easily THE PLAYERS Championship, where he put on a one-man show, taking a seven-stroke lead into the final round before coasting to a four-shot triumph.

He has not recorded anything better than a T20 in any major since winning the 2012 U.S. Open, but perhaps tasting victory in a big event again, as he did at TPC Sawgrass, will get him close to the winner’s circle this week.

Odds: 66/1
World Rank: 21st
Field Rank: 21st
2017 U.S. Open: 35th
Last Seven: MC, 1, 21, 5, 20, 29, 8


16. BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU

Credit: Getty Images/Stan Badz

The 24-year-old has yet to make his mark as a professional on the major championship stage (although he did place T21 as an amateur at the 2016 Masters), but very few doubt that it is coming soon.

In his last start, DeChambeau came out on top in a three-man playoff at The Memorial Tournament just two weeks ago, his second victory in the past 11 months.

Not only did he flash elite skill at Jack’s Place, but he also took second place at Arnie’s (Arnold Palmer Invitational) in March. He is like a hot-shot TV detective: he is not orthodox, but he gets results.

Odds: 40/1
World Rank: 22nd
Field Rank: 22nd
2017 U.S. Open: MC
Last Seven: 1, 42, 37, 4, 3, 38, 2


15. BROOKS KOEPKA

Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote

Shinnecock Hills will not be the red-number birdiefest that Erin Hills was last year, but that is not enough reason to discount the defending champion.

Koepka ranks 9th in the world despite missing nearly four months of the current season with a wrist injury that seems to be no longer bothering him. His Sunday 63 at THE PLAYERS Championship was the low round of that last tournament that had a majoresque field, and he followed that up with two more 63s in a solo-runner up effort at the Fort Worth Invitational, where he looked like the only player who belonged on the same course as Justin Rose.

Something of a Tour oddity, he is very long and can still putt with the best of the them, making him a great fit in any event.

Odds: 20/1
World Rank: 9th
Field Rank: 9th
2017 U.S. Open: 1
Last Seven: 30, 2, 11, 42, 34, 18, 1


14. PAUL CASEY

Credit: Getty Images/Sam Greenwood

The past several years have seen one high finish after another for the 40-year-old Casey, but he seems to always fall just short of victory.

That may have changed in March when Casey took the Valspar Championship for his first PGA Tour win since 2010. Now, the man who ranks very highly on the list of best players without a major championship knows he can deliver in crunch time, and that could make him scary in the biggest events.

The World No. 11 ranks 7th on Tour in scoring average and is inside the top 60 in every strokes gained category, including 10th tee-to-green and 8th total. He has little positive history at the U.S. Open, with his last top 20 coming in the 2007 edition, but he should have a sense of urgency that is eclipsed by few, if any, players in the field.

Odds: 50/1
World Rank: 11th
Field Rank: 11th
2017 U.S. Open: 26th
Last Seven: 20, 5, MC, 15, 17, 1, 12


13. JORDAN SPIETH

Credit: Getty Images/Warren Little

Having Spieth – a man with three major championships at just 24 years of age – this low feels very wrong, but having come down with a puzzling case of the yips in 2018, he is drawing the least amount of confidence that he’s ever had going into a big-time event.

A final-round 64 at The Masters was nearly an all-time great comeback (he finished in solo-third), but in five events since, he has two missed-cuts and finishes of T41, T21, and T32 – extremely un-Speithlike results.

From tee to green, Jordan Spieth is still Jordan Spieth, but the man impersonating him with the flatstick has the entire golf world scratching its head. Still, when does Spieth fail to show up in the biggest events? The answer is, basically never.

Odds: 16/1
World Rank: 4th
Field Rank: 4th
2017 U.S. Open: 35th
Last Seven: MC, 32, 21, 41, 3, 3, 17


12. ALEX NOREN

Credit: Getty Images/Gregory Shamus

The world’s highest-ranked Swede (No. 16) was a virtual no-show at The Masters, missing the cut badly after a second-round 79, but Noren has flashed a nearly complete golf game over the past two seasons, making him an intriguing sleeper pick coming into Shinnecock Hills.

The 35-year-old is still looking for major championship No. 1, but has had a plethora of highlights this season, most notably a T2 at the Farmers Insurance Open where he took Jason Day to a sixth playoff hole, and third place finishes at the Honda Classic and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

He also played the flagship events of both the European Tour and PGA Tour very well, finishing T3 at the BMW PGA Championship, and shooting two rounds of 66 at TPC Sawgrass in a T17 PLAYERS Championship effort.

Odds: 66/1
World Rank: 16th
Field Rank: 16th
2017 U.S. Open: MC
Last Seven: 23, 3, 17, MC, MC, 3, 36


11. PATRICK REED

Credit: Getty Images/David Cannon

Could Reed start the season 2-for-2 in majors? The Masters Champion likely believes he can, and he showed little reason at Augusta of why he should be doubted. He might not have been the most popular major champion, but he showed an elite level of composure and is unlikely to be shaken if he gets out in front at Shinnecock Hills.

The 27-year-old has top 10s in six of his last eight starts and has been beyond brilliant around the greens. Reed is unlikely to get the attention that a man who has finished in the top 2 of the past two majors warrants, but nobody should be shocked if he contends again.

Odds: 40/1
World Rank: 13th
Field Rank: 13th
2017 U.S. Open: 13th
Last Seven: 29, 41, 8, 1, 9, 7, 2


10. HENRIK STENSON

Credit: Getty Images/Jamie Squire

Stenson currently leads the Tour in driving accuracy, greens in regulation, and bogey avoidance, which together would seem to scream “U.S. Open Champion”.

The 42-year-old from Sweden is looking to further pad a resume that features an Open Championship and an Olympic Silver Medal, and winning his second major would certainly help a great deal. He was Mr. Consistency at The Masters, shooting 69-70-70-70, and a similar effort at Shinnecock Hills would likely lead to a similar top-5 result.

Odds: 33/1
World Rank: 17th
Field Rank: 17th
2017 U.S. Open: MC
Last Seven: 26, 13, 23, 5, 6, 4, MC


9. JON RAHM

Credit: Getty Images/Icon Sportswire

At No. 5 in the World Rankings, Rahm is the highest ranked player without a major championship, but given that he is just 23 years old, that is more than forgivable.

The Spanish prodigy is as close to a sure-thing as this is to someday win one; could it be this week at Shinnecock Hills? The man who ranks first on Tour in birdie average and second in strokes gained: off-the-tee certainly has the game for it, and with five victories worldwide over the past 17 months, he has the confidence of having been there before, albeit not on quite THIS big of a stage.

He went through something of a swoon when he reached No. 2 in the World, but appears to be back on track, finishing solo-fourth at The Masters and winning the European Tour’s Open de Espana.

Odds: 22/1
World Rank: 5th
Field Rank: 5th
2017 U.S. Open: MC
Last Seven: 5, 63, 1, 4, 52, 20, 26


8. TIGER WOODS

Credit: Getty Images/Sam Greenwood

Professional sports legend Tiger Woods has three U.S. Opens among his 14 career major championships, in addition to two runner-ups and a third place.

Shockingly, though, this year’s event marks 10 years since the now 42-year-old last won a major, when he took the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in a heroic 19-hole playoff over a scrappy Rocco Mediate.

Due to a frustrating series of injuries and personal problems, Tiger has not started three of the past four U.S. Opens, but now finally healthy, he is ready to re-invent himself in the latter part of his illustrious career.

He has two top-10s in nine events this season, had close calls at the Valspar Championship (T2) and the Arnold Palmer Invitational (T5), and finished spectacularly at THE PLAYER Championship with a 65-69 weekend. He ranks 4th on Tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green, 5th in strokes gained: around-the-green, and 6th in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

The game seems to be coming back to him, and he is anxious to no longer be a “remember when?”.

Odds: 18/1
World Rank: 80th
Field Rank: 69th
2017 U.S. Open: DNP
Last Seven: 23, 11, 55, 32, 5, 2, 12


7. RORY McILROY

Credit: Getty Images/Warren Little

The acme of a very up-and-down season for the four-time major winner McIlroy was easily his stellar win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, and he has added two more top-10s in five events since.

He played in the final Sunday pairing at The Masters, but an underwhelming 2-over 74 dropped him into a tie for fifth. Rory has struggled to put together four rounds in any tournament, but when he is on, there is probably nobody better. That was most evident when he obliterated the field at the 2011 U.S. Open in an eight-stroke romp, setting the tournament scoring record in the process.

While he has been frustratingly inconsistent, one reason to really like Rory’s chances this week is that he is finally putting it together on the greens, where he currently ranks a respectable 55th in strokes gained: putting.

Odds: 14/1
World Rank: 6th
Field Rank: 6th
2017 U.S. Open: MC
Last Seven: 8, 2, MC, 16, 5, 36, 1


6. RICKIE FOWLER

Credit: Getty Images/Michael Reaves

The newly-engaged star player Fowler is under as much pressure as anyone in the field to win this week, still sitting at zero major championships at 29 years of age.

Fowler has done everything else in the majors, especially as of late, where he has finished in the top five in three of the past four, including a solo runner-up to Patrick Reed at The Masters in April.

Is this finally his time? It would put an exclamation point at the end of one heck of a month.

Odds: 18/1
World Rank: 7th
Field Rank: 7th
2017 U.S. Open: 5th
Last Seven: 8, 14, MC, 21, 2, 43, 14


5. JASON DAY

Credit: Getty Images/Streeter Lecka

The 2017 season was something of a lost cause for the former PGA Tour Player of the Year, but in 2018, he has transformed back into the man who ranked No. 1 in the world most of the year prior.

Day has two victories, most recently at last month’s Wells Fargo Championship, and at No. 1 on Tour in strokes gained: putting, and No. 3 in strokes gained: around-the-green, he boasts the best short game in golf.

The 2015 PGA Championship remains the only major among 14 career victories, but he has done everything else at the U.S. Open, with five top-10s, including two runner-ups in just seven starts.

Odds: 18/1
World Rank: 8th
Field Rank: 8th
2017 U.S. Open: MC
Last Seven: 44, 5, 1, 20, 36, 22, 2


4. JUSTIN THOMAS

Credit: Getty Images/Andrew Redington

The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year, and recent World No. 1, Thomas is in the midst of another strong season, with two victories among six top 10s in 14 starts. He contended last year at Erin Hills, setting records in a 9-under 63 in round three.

He currently sits atop the FedExCup standings and ranks highly in nearly every metric. Simply put: he is very, very good and deserves to be ranked among the favorites at Shinnecock Hills.

Thomas has already made $5.7 million this season, and nobody should be surprised if that number is approximately $2 million higher by Sunday night.

Odds: 14/1
World Rank: 2nd
Field Rank: 2nd
2017 U.S. Open: 9th
Last Seven: 8, 11, 21, 17, 4, 2, 1


3. JUSTIN ROSE

Credit: Getty Images/Stan Badz

An eight-month tear, where Rose has four wins and 15 top-10s finishes worldwide in his last 20 starts, has the 2013 U.S. Open Champion all the way up to No. 3 in the world rankings.

The most recent of those victories was a 20-under slaughter at last month’s Fort Worth Invitational, where Rose gained an incredible 15.8 shots on the field tee-to-green.

Surprisingly, he has missed his last two U.S. Open cuts, but right now, he looks like a guy who can contend absolutely anywhere. He might be the safest bet in the entire field.

Odds: 14/1
World Rank: 3rd
Field Rank: 3rd
2017 U.S. Open: MC
Last Seven: 6, 1, 23, 12, 52, 3, 5


2. PHIL MICKELSON

Credit: Getty Images/Andy Lyons

With zero wins and six runner-up finishes in his U.S. Open career, nobody wants this tournament more than Mickelson, who also needs this event to become the sixth golfer in PGA Tour history to complete the Career Grand Slam.

He turns 48 on Saturday, but has not played like someone in the twilight of his career – especially in 2018 where a victory (WGC-Mexico Championship) is among his five top-five finishes.

His short game is as good now as it has been at any time in his 43-win career, and at 9th on Tour in scoring average, he has shown that he can still go low.

Phil is much beloved in New York, and it would be a special thrill for the crowd to see his championship happen here. They will certainly be rooting loudly for it, like they were the last time the U.S. Open was held at Shinnecock Hills, when Phil lost the 2004 tournament co-lead on the penultimate hole, and was one of just two players to finish the tournament under par.

Odds: 30/1
World Rank: 20th
Field Rank: 20th
2017 U.S. Open: DNP
Last Seven: 12, 13, MC, 5, 36, 24, 17


1. DUSTIN JOHNSON

Credit: Getty Images/Stan Badz

The 2016 U.S. Open Champion at brutally difficult Oakmont could not be coming into Shinnecock Hills any hotter, capping off a six-stroke throttling last weekend of the FedEx St. Jude Classic field with a walk-off eagle-2 from 170 yards.

DJ’s second win of the season also moved him back into the highly-coveted World No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings, that he’d recently lost to Justin Thomas after more than a year on top.

The 33-year-old’s legacy may be dependent on winning more majors (he just has the one), and he has the confidence and game to make this year’s edition No. 2 on his resume, an event where he has three top-four finishes in the past four years.

Odds: 9/1
World Rank: 1st
Field Rank: 1st
2017 U.S. Open: MC
Last Seven: 1, 8, 17, 16, 10, 59, 7


THE NEXT 10

Credit: Getty Images/Andrew Redington

21. Hideki Matsuyama: The world No. 10 has no top-10s since early January, but three of his last eight rounds have been a 66 or better, so he may be coming back around. He finished in the top 15 of all four 2017 majors, including a runner-up at Erin Hills.

22. Bubba Watson: the two-time Masters Champion has a thoroughly unimpressive U.S. Open record, but has won twice in 2018, including an obliteration of the field at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

23. Xander Schauffele: The reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year made a name for himself when he contended out of nowhere at last year’s U.S. Open. Year 2 has been tougher, but he did finish T2 at THE PLAYERS Championship, and unquestionably has the iron game to win a U.S. Open.

24. Ian Poulter: The 42 year old Englishman has had something a career rebirth over the past 12 months. After nearly losing his PGA Tour card last spring, Poulter has played some of the best golf of his career. In his last seven starts, he owns a win and five additional top 20s (T8, T20, T11, T7, T44, 1).

25. Louis Oosthuizen: The former Open Champion has a career runner-up finish in all four majors, and can never be counted out on this stage. He has not been overly impressive in 2018, but does rank 10th in strokes gained: around-the-green.

26. Tommy Fleetwood: The world No. 12 and reigning European Tour Race to Dubai Champion contended at last year’s U.S. Open, playing in the final Sunday pairing and finishing solo-fourth. His ability to hit fairways makes him difficult to bet against in this event.

27. Jimmy Walker: The 2016 PGA Championship winner saw his results suffer in 2017 while battling Lyme Disease, but is clearly on the way back up, and has finished in the top 25 of his last six events, including a T2 at THE PLAYERS Championship. He has been abysmal in the past three U.S. Opens, but did post a T9 in 2014.

28. Aaron Wise: The 21-year-old is competing in just his second career major championship, but showed elite ability and veteran composure in a very impressive victory at AT&T Byron Nelson. He will likely contend at many U.S. Opens, but is it too soon to expect much at Shinnecock Hills?

29. Brian Harman: A few things to like about Harman: he finished T2 at last year’s U.S. Open after holding the 54-hole lead, and he co-leads the PGA Tour this season with seven top-10 finishes. None of those top-10s, however, have come in the last two months, and he has been all over the place lately. His last 10 rounds contain a 64, a 67, and a 68, but also an 80, and an 81, and he was a nightmare at THE PLAYERS.

30. Matt Kuchar: The 39-year-old has not been super impressive this season, but should be as motivated as anyone in the field, given that he has seven career victories, but has not yet won a major. He contended for four days at last year’s Open Championship, and has 10 career top-10s in majors.

Joel Cook

Joel Cook is Pro Golf Weekly's Lead Writer. He is a member of the Golf Writer's Association of America.

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