2017 U.S. Open: 13 Picks To Win At Erin Hills

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2017 U.S. Open: 13 Picks To Win At Erin Hills

May 26, 2017

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Photo By: Dan Kitwood

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1.) Dustin Johnson

U.S. Open history: Winner in 2016; Runner-up in 2015.Current Vegas odds: 13/2 (Favorite; Lines from golfodds.com)Reason to pick: He’s the best player in the world and he’d be going for a three-peat in this event if not for a three-putt. Need we say more?Cause for concern: We’re trying to think of something, but it’s tough.

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2.) Justin Rose

U.S. Open history: Winner in 2013.Current Vegas odds: 20/1Reason to pick: Rose hasn’t won in 2017, but he’s been close, in particular at the year’s first major when he lost in a playoff to Sergio Garcia. Of all the big names, Rose seems to be the best value at more than three times the odds of favorite Dustin Johnson.Cause for concern: Despite his stellar play, it’s odd that Rose has gone so long without a victory (2015 Zurich Classic). Well, other than that Olympic gold medal he likes to show off.

Photo By: Dan Kitwood

3.) Sergio Garcia

U.S. Open history: Five top 10s, including a T-5 last year.Current Vegas odds: 25/1 (Down from 20/1)Reason to pick: A green jacket? A hole-in-one on No. 17 at the Players? A wedding in July? It’s clearly the Year of Sergio.Cause for concern: Erin Hills' bent-grass greens are going to be lightning quick, which is something he’s struggled with. Oh, right. He won at Augusta National. Never mind. It's still the Year of Sergio.

4.) Jordan Spieth

U.S. Open history: Winner in 2015.Current Vegas odds: 12/1Reason to pick: The best grinder of today’s young stars, Spieth's win at Chambers Bay in 2015 made him the youngest U.S. Open champ since Bobby Jones in 1923. He’s also one of the few players in the field to have played Erin Hills in competition having made it to the quarterfinals of the 2011 U.S. Amateur.Cause for concern: Spieth has uncharacteristically struggled on the greens this year, causing him to briefly switch to a mallet putter at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Since going back to old reliable the following week, though, he finished runner-up at Colonial and T-13 at the Memorial.

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5.) Jason Day

U.S. Open history: Five top 10s in six tries, including two runner-ups (2011 and 2013).Current Vegas odds: 12/1 (Up from 15/1)Reason to pick: Day has been remarkably consistent in this event thanks to a 70.71 scoring average that probably makes Mike Davis cringe. And now the Aussie -- along with basically everyone in the field -- will get his first crack at a par 72 in the tournament.Cause for concern: As steady as Day has been in golf's toughest test, a trying 2017 has been marked by inconsistency. The former World No. 1 showed plenty of positive signs during a playoff loss at the Byron Nelson, but it was just his second top 10 of the season.

Photo By: Seth Wenig/AP Photo

6.) Jon Rahm

U.S. Open history: T-23 in 2016 (low amateur)Current Vegas odds: 20/1Reason to pick: This will be Rahm's first U.S. Open as a pro, but based on his other first time experiences this season, we're not expecting him to back down from the big stage.Cause for concern: At times, Rahm has shown an ability to frustrate easy when things aren't going well. And at the U.S. Open, it's all about managing yourself when things aren't going well -- because they usually aren't going well.

Photo By: Jared C. Tilton

7.) Rory McIlroy

U.S. Open history: Winner in 2011.Current Vegas odds: 12/1 (Down from 10/1)Reason to pick: He's Rory McIlroy playing at a U.S. Open that will have uncharacteristically wide fairways. Sprinkle in a little rain and we could be looking at another route like what we saw at Congressional in 2011.Cause for concern: We thought Rory was past his rib issues, but they flared up again at the Players. All this time away (throw in a wedding and a honeymoon) has kept him from practicing -- and getting used to that new bag of TaylorMade equipment.

8.) Brooks Koepka

U.S. Open history: Three top 20s in four starts, including a T-4 in 2014.Current Vegas odds: 30/1Reason to pick: After a rough start to the season, Koepka caught fire starting at the WGC-Match Play with a run of five consecutive top 16s, including a runner-up at the Valero Texas Open. His length gives him an edge over most of the field, and his odds are just long enough to put a few bucks on him.Cause for concern: Koepka failed to make the match-play portion of the 2011 U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills, but he shot a respectable 71. . . so, that's a stretch. But he is carrying around the added weight of trying to make a hole-in-one to win boatloads of beer for fans. Talk about pressure.

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9.) Henrik Stenson

U.S. Open history: T-4 in 2014.Current Vegas odds: 25/1Reason to pick: The Swede had a run of six straight top 30s at the U.S. Open come to an end last year at Oakmont when he withdrew with two holes to play in his second round with "minor neck and knee issues" (unofficially, he also had a minor case of not wanting to get up early the next day just to miss the cut). More importantly, his historic performance at last year's British Open showed that when he's on, he can beat anyone anywhere.Cause for concern: It's been a weird PGA Tour season for Stenson, who has balanced out four strong performances with four missed cuts. We're guessing the good Henrik shows up in Wisconsin.

Photo By: David Cannon/R&A

10.) Justin Thomas

U.S. Open history: T-32 in 2016.Current Vegas odds: 30/1Reason to pick: Remember when JT was firing 59 and winning every week? Well, that wasn't that long ago. Thomas has since cooled down, but he added a pair of T-5s at the WGC-Mexico Championship and the Zurich Classic. Plus, he's one of the rare players with experience here, having lost in the Round of 32 at the 2011 U.S. Amateur.Cause for concern: Although he's one of the best ball-strikers on tour (8th in strokes gained/tee-to-green), Thomas' strokes gained/putting has dipped to 62nd.

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11.) Thomas Pieters

U.S. Open history: First appearance.Current Vegas odds: 40/1Reason to pick: Did you watch the Ryder Cup? Pieters was arguably Europe's best player at Hazeltine last fall, putting together a 4-1 record. Pieters backed that up with a T-4 at this year's Masters.Cause for concern: It's the Belgian's first start at the U.S. Open. Then again, his first trip to Augusta National went pretty well.

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12.) Alex Noren

U.S. Open history: T-51 (2011) and three missed cuts.Current Vegas odds: 50/1Reason to pick: Quick, which golfer has the most worldwide wins since July 10, 2016? That's right, Noren, whose five victories are only matched by Hideki Matsuyama. And yet you can get Noren, No. 8 in the Official World Golf Ranking, at 50/1? Who cares about his U.S. Open track record with odds like that!Cause for concern: OK, so that U.S. Open track record is a bit alarming. . .

Photo By: Ross Kinnaird

Jason Dufner

U.S. Open history: T-4 in 2012 and 2013.Current Vegas odds: 60/1Reason to pick: Dufner takes the place of Phil Mickelson, who announced he'll skip the U.S. Open to attend his daughter's high school graduation (Mickelson's odds have been taken off the board in Vegas). And he's an obvious replacement following his Memorial win. For the year, Dufner has 10 top 25s in 15 starts. And since 2012, his vaunted ball-striking has led to a pair of T-4s, a T-8 and a T-18 in this event.Cause for concern: Dufner ranks 92nd on the PGA Tour in driving distance. Erin Hills will play as one of the longest-ever courses in major championship history.

Photo By: Keyur Khamar

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