124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2



Ranking The Field

U.S. Open 2024: Power rankings for the entire field at Pinehurst

June 10, 2024

Prepare your eyes for a scene set sometime back in golf history. James Walker Tufts developed the Pinehurst resort prior to 1900 as a wellness retreat. Ironically this week, the world’s best will walk amongst those same pines in search of their own sanity. A true test of confidence and capabilities, this national championship will be unlike many in recent years.

The detailed design work of Donald Ross tests every element of a player’s game. Our past U.S. Open champions of Pinehurst include Payne Stewart (1999, 1-under), Michael Campbell (2005, E), and Martin Kaymer (2014, -9). No, that Kaymer total is not a misprint. He bested a fantastic field by eight strokes that Father’s Day. This week you will read and hear much about the work done in 2010-2011 by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to restore #2—then the additional planting of wiregrass to penalize shots not hit with precision.

The genius of Pinehurst #2 can be found in your ability to use the ground. My U.S. Open power rankings reflect Ross’ roots across the Atlantic along with the ability to remain cool in the Carolina heat. Certainly, deserving of an infinite number of U.S. Opens, the template test that is Pinehurst #2 ranks first on so many architectural lists.

I have designed these rankings to be a valuable reference tool. Take a moment to peruse the key in case any of the information below baffles you. I suggest you bookmark the link the first time you read them. The plan is to win that friendly betting pool or your weekend wagers. Our national championship blends trends with tradition like no other tournament. Many of the top 10 are different than one month ago at Valhalla. How different? Keep reading to find out!

Key:

  • Age: Most majors are won by players in their twenties and thirties. Always good to keep track of these things.
  • Odds to win: These are the best futures odds listed for each player across multiple domestic betting boards.
  • OWGR/Data Golf: Let’s face the facts, the OWGR is incomplete. To give us a better top line view of player performance, I included the Data Golf rankings.
  • Masters/PGA finish: With two majors behind us, how has the field performed?
  • U.S. Open appearances/cuts made: The number of times a player has competed in the tournament along with the number of successful cuts made.
  • Best U.S. Open finish: Again, another quick reference tool. Wyndham Clark is the first winner since 2009 (Lucas Glover) to win the U.S. Open without first making the cut in any of their previous U.S. Open starts. Every winner in-between had at least T22 or better prior to winning.
  • Notes: A quick summary for each player to pique or deter your interest in their chances to win or play well in the 124th U.S. Open.

Best and Worst Value Bets for the 2024 U.S. Open

Nos. 126 and beyond

We know the U.S. Open is fabulous for delivering fantastic stories. Some of them: Ranked 2,152 in the OWGR, Robert Rock is a two-time DP World Tour winner. His last major championship start was the 2019 Open Championship. Journeyman professional Willie Mack III last competed on tour at the Wells Fargo Championship in 2023. With seven PGA Tour starts on his résumé, one wonderful week amongst the pines can be a life changer. Sam Bennett finished as the low amateur (T-16) at the 2023 Masters. He turned professional right after, and Bennett has only made three cuts in his past eight starts. Can the 2022 U.S. Amateur champion regain his club twirl confidence down in the sand hills of North Carolina?

Parker Bell – a, Sam Bennett, Gunnar Broin – a, Eugenio Lopez, Chacarra, John Chin, Grant Forrest, Ryo Ishikawa, Carter Jenkins, Sung Kang, Riki Kawamoto, Bryan Kim – a, Willie Mack III, Richard Mansell, Logan McAllister, Ashton McCulloch – a, Michael McGowan, Chris Naegel, Colin Prater -a, Chris Petefish, Charles Reiter, Robert Rock, Carson Schaake, Jason Scrivener, Taisei Shimizu, B. Robinson Thompson, Joey Vrzich

Nos. 101-125

It is not often the reigning U.S. Amateur champion punches his return visit to the U.S. Open as a PGA Tour winner while still being an amateur. Nick Dunlap did it back in January at The American Express and immediately turned pro, becoming the first amateur to win on tour since Phil Mickelson (1991), The runner-up to Dunlap last August was Neal Shipley. Shipley, the low amateur at the Masters, and will be looking for that elusive dual title of winning both in the same season.

101. Rikuya Hoshino, 102. David Puig, 103. Tim Widing, 104. Brandon Wu, 105. Takumi Kanaya, 106. Stewart Hagestad (a), 107. Peter Malnati, 108. Nick Dunlap, 109. Ben James (a), 110. Frederik Kjettrup, 111. Adrian Meronk, 112. Santiago De la Fuente (a), 113. Hiroshi Tai (a), 114. Frankie Capan III, 115. Matteo Manassero, 116. Andrew Svoboda, 117. Omar Morales (a), 118. Wells Williams (a), 119. Tom McKibbin, 120. Jim Herman, 121. Neal Shipley (a), 122. Isaiah Salinda, 123. Brian Campbell, 124. Jackson Buchanan (a), 125. Casey Jarvis

Nos. 76-100

Two brothers competing in the U.S. Open happens more than one would think. The 2018 Champion Golfer of the Year Francesco Molinari will be joined by his brother Edoardo in Pinehurst. This will be the sixth time the two have played together in our national championship. Together, they have a combined 20 wins and also were teammates on the winning 2010 European Ryder Cup team. The U.S. Open always presents us with a number of sensational stories. Bringing together two brothers from Italy again, one a major champion and the other a U.S. Amateur Champion in 2005, that’s just an example of the power of the U.S. Open!

76. Webb Simpson, 77. Nick Taylor, 78. Adam Svensson, 79. Davis Thompson, 80. Francesco Molinari, 81. Ben Kohles, 82. Martin Kaymer, 83. S.H. Kim, 84. Mac Meissner, 85. Gary Woodland, 86. Gordon Sargent (a), 87. Seamus Power, 88. Justin Lower, 89. Luke Clanton (a), 90. Emiliano Grillo, 91. Max Greyserman, 92. Eric Cole, 93. Daniel Berger, 94. Sam Bairstow, 95. Cam Davis, 96. Nicolas Echavarria, 97. Edoardo Molinari, 98. Chesson Hadley, 99. Greyson Sigg, 100. Rico Hoey

Nos. 61-75

There are two players in the 2024 field who have participated in the 1999, 2005 and 2014 U.S. Opens: Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar. A testament to their longevity, both have been playing our national championship for decades. I don’t see Phil’s success at Kiawah in the 2021 PGA Championship as a good comp here, but Kuchar’s short game definitely has him ranked right near that difficult cutline in our U.S. Open power rankings of the top 60 and ties. One of the toughest cuts to navigate in professional golf, the USGA just does not do easy for anything.

61. Taylor Pendrith, 62. Nicolai Højgaard, 63. Adam Hadwin, 64. Rickie Fowler, 65. Ryan Fox, 66. Brendon Todd, 67. Matt Kuchar, 68. Thomas Detry, 69. Zac Blair, 70. Akshay Bhatia, 71. Sungjae Im, 72. Beau Hossler, 73. Matthieu Pavon, 74. Phil Mickelson, 75. Jake Knapp

Ranking the top 60 players (with write-ups for the top 50)

60. Tiger Woods

Age: 48
Odds to win: 190-1.
OWGR: 820. Data Golf: N/A.
Masters/PGA finish: 60/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 22. Cuts made: 17.
Best U.S. Open finish: Won (2000, 2002, 2008).

59. Min Woo Lee

Age: 25
Odds to win: 65-1.
OWGR: 35. Data Golf: 43.
Masters/PGA finish: T22/T26.
U.S. Open appearances: 2. Cuts made: 2.
Best U.S. Open finish: 5th (2023)

58. Erik van Rooyen

1387700700

Kevin C. Cox

Age: 34
Odds to win: 190-1.
OWGR: 67. Data Golf: 59.
Masters/PGA finish: T55/T53.
U.S. Open appearances: 4. Cuts made: 2.
Best U.S. Open finish: 23rd (2020)

57. Mackenzie Hughes

Age: 33
Odds to win: 280-1.
OWGR: 65. Data Golf: 48.
Masters/PGA finish: DNP/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 6. Cuts made: 3.
Best U.S. Open finish: 15th (2021)

56. Kurt Kitayama

Age: 31
Odds to win: 190-1.
OWGR: 50. Data Golf: 56.
Masters/PGA finish: T35/T26.
U.S. Open appearances: 3. Cuts made: 0.
Best U.S. Open finish: N/A

55. Victor Perez

Age: 31
Odds to win: 190-1.
OWGR: 84. Data Golf: 92.
Masters/PGA finish: DNP/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 4. Cuts made: 0.
Best U.S. Open finish: N/A

54. Lucas Glover

Age: 44
Odds to win: 90-1.
OWGR: 34. Data Golf: 33.
Masters/PGA finish: T20/T43.
U.S. Open appearances: 15. Cuts made: 4.
Best U.S. Open finish: Won (2009)

53. Robert MacIntyre

Age: 27
Odds to win: 80-1.
OWGR: 39. Data Golf: 90.
Masters/PGA finish: DNP/T8.
U.S. Open appearances: 2. Cuts made: 2.
Best U.S. Open finish: 35th (2021)

52. Harry Higgs

Age: 32
Odds to win: 420-1.
OWGR: 140. Data Golf: 362.
Masters/PGA finish: DNP/DNP.
U.S. Open appearances: 0. Cuts made: 0.
Best U.S. Open finish: N/A

51. Stephan Jaeger

2128459669

Raj Mehta

Age: 35
Odds to win: 190-1.
OWGR: 42. Data Golf: 61.
Masters/PGA finish: MC/76.
U.S. Open appearances: 3. Cuts made: 2.
Best U.S. Open finish: 34th (2020)

50. J.T. Poston

Age: 31
Odds to win: 190-1.
OWGR: 44. Data Golf: 50.
Masters/PGA finish: T30/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 4. Cuts made: 1.
Best U.S. Open finish: 40th (2021)

As a North Carolina native, J.T. Poston will be looking to make more than just the cut. With nine top 10s since Los Angeles C.C. a year ago, Poston feels confident he can deliver.

49. Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Age: 30
Odds to win: 280-1.
OWGR: 57. Data Golf: 22.
Masters/PGA finish: DNP/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 2. Cuts made: 2.
Best U.S. Open finish: 31st (2021)

Scrambling suits the South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout. With a stellar short game (ranked ninth in the field), one can easily see why 2024’s current major record should be overlooked.

48. Mark Hubbard

Age: 35
Odds to win: 340-1.
OWGR: 82. Data Golf: 82.
Masters/PGA finish: DNP/T26.
U.S. Open appearances: 1. Cuts made: 0.
Best U.S. Open finish: N/A

Mark Hubbard has really taken his middle tier PGA Tour résumé to the next level in 2024. Currently 52nd on the FedEx Cup points list, Hubbard has found a home near the top of a couple leader boards with five top-35 results.

47. Tom Hoge

Age: 35
Odds to win: 120-1.
OWGR: 62. Data Golf: 32.
Masters/PGA finish: DNP/T23.
U.S. Open appearances: 6. Cuts made: 2.
Best U.S. Open finish: 43rd (2019)

Every national championship is an approach test. Tom Hoge is our resident ball-striking savant with an iron in hand. Over Hoge’s last 10 starts, he’s gaining four strokes (on average) against the field with his approach play.

46. Sam Burns

Age: 27
Odds to win: 55-1.
OWGR: 27. Data Golf: 23.
Masters/PGA finish: MC/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 5. Cuts made: 3.
Best U.S. Open finish: 27th (2022)

Sam Burns was one of the toughest players to rank. The four-time PGA Tour winner had his first top 10 since February two weeks ago in Canada. Hopefully that trend continues, and Burns can celebrate his first Father’s Day weekend by playing in Pinehurst.

45. Denny McCarthy

Age: 31
Odds to win: 140-1.
OWGR: 31. Data Golf: 19.
Masters/PGA finish: T45/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 4. Cuts made: 3.
Best U.S. Open finish: 7th (2022)

Denny McCarthy’s scrambling ability and prolific putter are a huge weapon this week. Trouble is when you are ranked in the bottom half of the field for approach, you are using those skills to save par and not score.

44. Cameron Young

Age: 27
Odds to win: 55-1.
OWGR: 19. Data Golf: 45.
Masters/PGA finish: T9/T63.
U.S. Open appearances: 4. Cuts made: 1.
Best U.S. Open finish: 32nd (2023)

In Cameron Young’s past five starts, he is losing strokes on approach and around the green versus the field. A mediocre finish at Valhalla was just backed up by a missed cut in Canada.

43. Dustin Johnson

Age: 39
Odds to win: 35-1.
OWGR: 365. Data Golf: 58.
Masters/PGA finish: MC/T43.
U.S. Open appearances: 16. Cuts made: 14.
Best U.S. Open finish: Won (2016)

The age-old LIV “effort” argument can be exemplified by how to handicap Dustin Johnson in majors. Should he start hot on Thursday, he’ll be relevant. If a couple loose shots spoil the mood in round one, the cutline will be a constant concern.

42. Aaron Rai

2154296886

Sam Hodde

Age: 29
Odds to win: 160-1.
OWGR: 74. Data Golf: 52.
Masters/PGA finish: DNP/T39.
U.S. Open appearances: 1. Cuts made: 0.
Best U.S. Open finish: N/A.

Aaron Rai is ranked seventh in strokes gained/tee to green on tour over the past 12 rounds. He’s an impeccable ball-striker, and Rai has four straight top-40 finishes since mid-May, gaining an average of six strokes tee to green per start in that span.

41. Chris Kirk

Age: 39
Odds to win: 190-1.
OWGR: 28. Data Golf: 60.
Masters/PGA finish: T16/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 6. Cuts made: 3.
Best U.S. Open finish: 28th (2014)

Great wedge players like Payne Stewart have been rewarded at Pinehurst #2. Chris Kirk can knock it close with the best of them from short range. He finished top 30 in 2014 and is one of a few in the field with prior Pinehurst U.S. Open experience, plus he owns a signature event victory in 2024.

40. Adam Schenk

Age: 32
Odds to win: 340-1.
OWGR: 49. Data Golf: 78.
Masters/PGA finish: T12/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 2. Cuts made: 1.
Best U.S. Open finish: 24th (2022)

Adam Schenk finished top 20 at The Players and the Masters but missed the cut at Valhalla. Schenk’s strengths are iron play and putting, which means the fit for him at Pinehurst matches more of those positive results than the MC at the PGA.

39. Justin Rose

Age: 43
Odds to win: 120-1.
OWGR: 53. Data Golf: 72.
Masters/PGA finish: MC/T6.
U.S. Open appearances: 18. Cuts made: 9.
Best U.S. Open finish: Won (2013)

Just after Justin Rose won the 2013 U.S. Open, he finished 12th a year later at Pinehurst. Another with experience on this championship course, Rose also has a wonderful game when you are forced to use the ground.

38. Sepp Straka

Age: 31
Odds to win: 160-1.
OWGR: 21. Data Golf: 29.
Masters/PGA finish: T16/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 3. Cuts made: 1.
Best U.S. Open finish: 28th (2019)

Sepp Straka has four top-eight results in his past six starts. Now the MC was at the PGA, but #2 is much more like Augusta National than Valhalla. The ground game he used to finish fifth at Colonial is what he will need to contend much like he did at the Masters.

37. Austin Eckroat

Age: 25
Odds to win: 280-1.
OWGR: 48. Data Golf: 71.
Masters/PGA finish: MC/T18.
U.S. Open appearances: 2. Cuts made: 1.
Best U.S. Open finish: 10th (2023)

Austin Eckroat was built for U.S. Opens. The 2024 Cognizant Classic winner in Palm Beach is extremely accurate off the tee and on approach. Eckroat keeps the ball in play and therefore can score. The putter and short game are not a strength, but they tend to be seldom tested with his ball-striking.

36. Will Zalatoris

Age: 27
Odds to win: 55-1.
OWGR: 38. Data Golf: 62.
Masters/PGA finish: T9/T43.
U.S. Open appearances: 4. Cuts made: 2.
Best U.S. Open finish: 2nd (2022)

We are all not sure if Will Zalatoris is healthy. A shaky spring has led to three mediocre results since a top 10 at the Masters. What’s even more concerning is back surgery shouldn’t affect your short game, and Will’s scrambling has been letting him down significantly.

35. Jordan Spieth

Age: 30
Odds to win: 55-1.
OWGR: 25. Data Golf: 42.
Masters/PGA finish: MC/T39.
U.S. Open appearances: 12. Cuts made: 8.
Best U.S. Open finish: Won (2015)

Last week at the Memorial, Jordan Spieth was in full grind mode and missed the cut. Spieth was T-17 in 2014 at Pinehurst, and he’s always a great choice when he can perform. But Jordan just came off a 10-start stretch where he is losing at least a shot (on average) against the field on approach, which does not inspire confidence.

34. Jason Day

/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2024/4/jason-day-masters-2024-pants-thursday.jpg

J.D. Cuban

Age: 36
Odds to win: 40-1.
OWGR: 20. Data Golf: 31.
Masters/PGA finish: T30/T43.
U.S. Open appearances: 11. Cuts made: 8.
Best U.S. Open finish: 2nd (2011, 2013)

Wardrobe aside, Jason Day has an incredible fit for Pinehurst #2. The one-time No. 1 in the world hits the ball insanely high and can score with ease around the greens. His approach will need to improve, but that short game and familiarity with the venue (T-4 in 2014) will no doubt help.

33. Shane Lowry

Age: 37
Odds to win: 55-1.
OWGR: 33. Data Golf: 44.
Masters/PGA finish: T43/T6.
U.S. Open appearances: 11. Cuts made: 7.
Best U.S. Open finish: 2nd (2016)

Shane Lowry’s ball-striking numbers will keep him in any contention conversation. Question is, can he just break even with the putter? Pundits will point toward his performance at the PGA, but that was just one week with the flatstick. Tread lightly here if you’re looking for more than a decent placement.

32. Matt Fitzpatrick

Age: 29
Odds to win: 46-1.
OWGR: 17. Data Golf: 27.
Masters/PGA finish: T22/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 9. Cuts made: 8.
Best U.S. Open finish: Won (2022)

Matt Fitzpatrick has had a roller-coaster campaign in 2024. A fifth at The Players and the Memorial but an MC at the PGA seriously sum up his season. Each of the major skills have failed him at some point. In a year where his career scrambling skill and former U.S. Open winner status should shine, I’m just wondering which Fitzpatrick will show up.

31. Keegan Bradley

Age: 37
Odds to win: 120-1.
OWGR: 14. Data Golf: 21.
Masters/PGA finish: T22/T18.
U.S. Open appearances: 11. Cuts made: 5.
Best U.S. Open finish: 4th (2014 - Pinehurst)

Keegan Bradley is one of eight players who has finished inside the top 25 in both majors. A big part of Keegan’s confidence comes from his ball-striking. Top it off with a T-4 at Pinehurst #2 in 2014, and Bradley should be on your radar big time!

30. Tom Kim

Age: 21
Odds to win: 55-1.
OWGR: 22. Data Golf: 36.
Masters/PGA finish: T30/T26.
U.S. Open appearances: 2. Cuts made: 2.
Best U.S. Open finish: 8th (2023)

Over the past 12 rounds, Tom Kim is ranked first in the field for par-4 scoring. We have 12 of those this week averaging 431 yards in length. That kind of edge will keep him there all week and can help him contend come Sunday.

29. Byeong Hun “Ben” An

Age: 32
Odds to win: 120-1.
OWGR: 26. Data Golf: 24.
Masters/PGA finish: T16/T43.
U.S. Open appearances: 7. Cuts made: 3.
Best U.S. Open finish: 16th (2019)

Ben An looked excited last week at the Memorial. He was a study subject for me on the range, and I walked away impressed. An hits his long clubs like lasers. Where he lacks with the flatstick might just be mitigated by his ability on #2 to stay out of the wire grass.

28. Si Woo Kim

Age: 28
Odds to win: 75-1.
OWGR: 46. Data Golf: 41.
Masters/PGA finish: T30/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 7. Cuts made: 3.
Best U.S. Open finish: 13th (2017)

Former Players champion Si Woo Kim can scramble. Most admire his accuracy off the tee and general ball-striking, but I’m always entranced by his pitching and chipping. That’s a skill-set most don’t have and will desperately need amongst the pine needles this week.

27. Russell Henley

Age: 35
Odds to win: 90-1.
OWGR: 16. Data Golf: 8.
Masters/PGA finish: T38/T23.
U.S. Open appearances: 9. Cuts made: 6.
Best U.S. Open finish: 13th (2021)

Take a good look at the Data Golf ranking. Russell Henley is a top-10 performer on the world golf stage. Equal parts approach and around the green, Henley will be a very popular mid-tier betting option. Need a player under the radar? Then take Russell who plays like his ball has GPS.

26. Brian Harman

Age: 37
Odds to win: 90-1.
OWGR: 11. Data Golf: 28.
Masters/PGA finish: MC/T26.
U.S. Open appearances: 8. Cuts made: 6.
Best U.S. Open finish: 2nd (2017)

Brian Harman has made six straight cuts in the U.S. Open. The scoring skill he showed overseas last summer should give us great interest. Throw in a comp course runner-up at The Players in March and his accuracy on approach catches my attention even more.

25. Harris English

1933337442

Michael Reaves

Age: 34
Odds to win: 190-1.
OWGR: 51. Data Golf: 35.
Masters/PGA finish: T22/T18.
U.S. Open appearances: 8. Cuts made: 8.
Best U.S. Open finish: 3rd (2021)

Another one of those guys who has two top 25s in the first two majors, Harris English gets better when the conditions are challenging. Yet to miss a cut in a U.S. Open, English has eight top-25 finishes in 14 starts this season.

24. Corey Conners

Age: 32
Odds to win: 90-1.
OWGR: 45. Data Golf: 15.
Masters/PGA finish: T38/T26.
U.S. Open appearances: 5. Cuts made: 0.
Best U.S. Open finish: N/A

Here’s another incredible ball-striker we may need to tread lightly around the Carolina sand hills. Corey Conners has never made the cut in a U.S. Open. If hope were an action verb, we can say Conners is gaining five strokes tee-to-green in his past five starts.

23. Wyndham Clark

Age: 30
Odds to win: 46-1.
OWGR: 4. Data Golf: 25.
Masters/PGA finish: MC/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 3. Cuts made: 1.
Best U.S. Open finish: Won (2023)

What has happened to our defending champion? Wyndham Clark missed the cut at Augusta National, Valhalla and The Memorial. The always confident Clark gets a top-25 ranking here based upon a Players runner-up and Pebble Beach win. Length and short-game skill are two assets that will help him contend again, but will they show up at Pinehurst #2?

22. Patrick Cantlay

Age: 32
Odds to win: 36-1.
OWGR: 9. Data Golf: 12.
Masters/PGA finish: T22/T53.
U.S. Open appearances: 7. Cuts made: 7.
Best U.S. Open finish: 14th (2022, 2023)

The lowest-ranked enigma on my board. Patrick Cantlay started the year ranked fifth in the world. Challenged by committee meetings, his game has only surfaced at comfortable courses. Considering another struggle at Muirfield Village (missed cut) where he has been so consistent, I cannot back Cantlay comfortably.

21. Taylor Moore

Age: 30
Odds to win: 190-1.
OWGR: 54. Data Golf: 54.
Masters/PGA finish: T20/T12.
U.S. Open appearances: 1. Cuts made: 0.
Best U.S. Open finish: N/A

Taylor Moore is in some pretty elite company. He is one of five players who have finished top 20 or better in both majors. The others: Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau. Moore makes the most of every round with an excellent driver and putter. Taylor, the trend is your friend, go get a top 20 or better again, and allow us to cash those tickets.

20. Sahith Theegala

Age: 26
Odds to win: 75-1.
OWGR: 13. Data Golf: 20.
Masters/PGA finish: T45/T12.
U.S. Open appearances: 3. Cuts made: 1.
Best U.S. Open finish: 27th (2023)

Here’s a popular name you will here next week. Sahith Theegala has been very impressive improving his ball-striking this season. He has five top 10s and a T-12 at the PGA Championship. Be careful though, Theegala should be lower on these rankings, but the short game is struggling. Around the green will be very important at Pinehurst, and the main reason why Sahith sits where he does on this list.

19. Alex Noren

Age: 41
Odds to win: 160-1.
OWGR: 56. Data Golf: 18.
Masters/PGA finish: DNP/T12.
U.S. Open appearances: 10. Cuts made: 3.
Best U.S. Open finish: 17th (2020)

On the opposite end of the short-game spectrum from Sahith is Alex Noren. The 10-time DP World Tour winner rattled off eight straight top-25 finishes before missing the cut in Canada. In Alex’s last five starts he has gained an average of six strokes on the field with his approach and around-the-green play combined.

18. Dean Burmester

Age: 35
Odds to win: 90-1.
OWGR: 109. Data Golf: 26.
Masters/PGA finish: DNP/T12.
U.S. Open appearances: 2. Cuts made: 1.
Best U.S. Open finish: 56th (2018)

In seven LIV events this year, Dean Burmester has not finished lower than twelfth. He’s incredibly long and accurate. That was a huge advantage at the PGA, where he finished T-12, and it will be again at Pinehurst. He’s ranked in the top 10 on LIV in GIR, scrambling and BoB percentage, Dean will again get it done in another major championship.

17. Max Homa

2153574225

Ross Kinnaird

Age: 33
Odds to win: 46-1.
OWGR: 10. Data Golf: 17.
Masters/PGA finish: T3/T35.
U.S. Open appearances: 5. Cuts made: 1.
Best U.S. Open finish: 47th (2022)

I believe Max Homa’s still getting better in major championships. Fact is, Homa’s game is built for tough challenges. Max doesn’t make big mistakes so when the conditions are tough, he stays in contention. Six top-20 results in an off ball-striking season succinctly shows how good his short game and putting really are.

16. Tyrrell Hatton

Age: 32
Odds to win: 55-1.
OWGR: 18. Data Golf: 13.
Masters/PGA finish: T9/T63.
U.S. Open appearances: 7. Cuts made: 4.
Best U.S. Open finish: 6th (2018)

Tyrell Hatton is always going to be around a leader board that favors long-iron play and short-game scoring. Those are two facets of the angry Englishman’s game he can differentiate with from the field. Ranked third on LIV for putting average, his top nine at Augusta National is a nice comp performance for Pinehurst #2.

15. Billy Horschel

Age: 37
Odds to win: 280-1.
OWGR: 66. Data Golf: 38.
Masters/PGA finish: DNP/T8.
U.S. Open appearances: 11. Cuts made: 7.
Best U.S. Open finish: 4th (2013)

Billy Horschel does not get enough credit as a great long-iron player. One of the most difficult skills in golf, Billy beat the field on a very long course in Punta Cana. Eighth at the PGA, Billy has backed up that top 10 with another solid finish at Muirfield Village (T-15). Horschel also gains a bunch around the green and on the surface with his putter—four strokes on average to be precise over his past five starts.

14. Tony Finau

Age: 34
Odds to win: 55-1.
OWGR: 29. Data Golf: 30.
Masters/PGA finish: T55/T18.
U.S. Open appearances: 8. Cuts made: 4.
Best U.S. Open finish: 5th (2018)

Tony Finau’s best finish at a U.S. Open was at Shinnecock Hills in 2018. The brilliant ball-striker is known for his ball speed, but often overlooked is that short game. Over Finau’s last five starts he’s gaining nearly two strokes around the green. Added alongside his driver and irons it is a per event average of positive six strokes. If Finau has any kind of a decent week of putting at Pinehurst, look out!

13. Tommy Fleetwood

Age: 33
Odds to win: 36-1.
OWGR: 12. Data Golf: 11.
Masters/PGA finish: T3/T26.
U.S. Open appearances: 8. Cuts made: 6.
Best U.S. Open finish: 2nd (2018)

Tommy Fleetwood was runner-up at that Shinnecock U.S. Open to Brooks in 2018. Fleetwood is another straight flusher of the ball who possesses a great short game. He’s excellent at bogey avoidance and putting. Fifth at LACC, we have to view 2023 as another great comparison. The North Course was fast and firm much like Pinehurst #2 will be. With 20 top-five results on the PGA Tour, Tommy probably won’t win, but between a nice placement and head-to-head matchups, he can win you some money.

12. Justin Thomas

Age: 31
Odds to win: 46-1.
OWGR: 23. Data Golf: 14.
Masters/PGA finish: MC/T8.
U.S. Open appearances: 9. Cuts made: 6.
Best U.S. Open finish: 8th (2020)

I consider Justin Thomas to be one of the best wedge players in the world. The delivery speed he displays with his arms is only rivaled by his buddy Tiger. That level of scoring control around the greens will pull pressure away from his putting and off-the-tee play. Much like Southern Hills, I love this fit for Thomas in a very tight scoring affair.

11. Jon Rahm

Age: 29
Odds to win: 24-1.
OWGR: 7. Data Golf: 6.
Masters/PGA finish: T-45/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 8. Cuts made: 6.
Best U.S. Open finish: Won (2021)

Nobody knows what to make of Jon Rahm in 2024. Rumors of injury came to fruition at LIV last week with the Spaniard WDing on Saturday. The 2021 U.S. Open champion has played very poorly by any elite standards in the majors. Funny thing is Rahm leads LIV in birdies and has not finished outside the top 10 in seven starts. With so much weight on these majors, Rahm really needs to jumpstart his year with a great finish. Can he? The drop in pre-tournament odds from the Masters and the PGA would lead us to believe even the books lack confidence in the Legion’s leader.

10. Brooks Koepka

Age: 34
Odds to win: 24-1.
OWGR: 41. Data Golf: 47.
Masters/PGA finish: T45/T26.
U.S. Open appearances: 10. Cuts made: 9.
Best U.S. Open finish: Won (2017, 2018)

Brooks Koepka finished T-4 in his fourth professional major. That was 2014 at Pinehurst #2, foreshadowing of his win at Shinnecock four years later, and a bunch of other major trophies. Another guy who everyone thinks of as a ball beater, but his short game is really what gets it done. A mediocre Masters gave way to an open apology to his team. Unfortunately, Koepka really didn’t keep his promise finishing T-26 at Valhalla. Pinehurst #2’s difficulty will bring Koepka back into the conversation this weekend. Whether or not he can close in 2024 is still up for debate.

9. Ludvig Åberg

2087304767

David Cannon

Age: 24
Odds to win: 16-1.
OWGR: 6. Data Golf: 5.
Masters/PGA finish: 2/MC.
U.S. Open appearances: 0. Cuts made: 0.
Best U.S. Open finish: N/A

Beware the injured golfer. Ludvig Åberg has a partially torn meniscus. Far better than a broken leg, this distraction might just make him more focused than usual. Muirfield Village is a difficult walk and he finished fifth—pretty good considering the circumstances. He certainly wouldn’t play if he thought it would keep him from winning. You know he’s a big part of this betting board with that driver and long iron game. In 11 starts this season, Åberg is gaining an average of six strokes total on the field. If you’re looking for Pinehurst experience, Ludvig has it. He played in the 2019 U.S. Amateur, qualified for match play, and lost in the Round of 32 matches.

8. Viktor Hovland

Age: 26
Odds to win: 17-1.
OWGR: 5. Data Golf: 7.
Masters/PGA finish: MC/3.
U.S. Open appearances: 5. Cuts made: 3.
Best U.S. Open finish: 12th (2019).

It’s been a tale of two Viktor Hovlands this season. An 81 at the Masters sent him home and back to his successful coach from last summer. Six weeks later, he fires a 66 on Sunday at the PGA and re-enters the major conversation. Fact is, even with all of his short-game struggles, Viktor gained off the tee in seven of eight starts and six of eight with his iron game. It’s amazing how much one skill can submarine your whole game. After gaining strokes around the green at the PGA, look out for Hovland’s aggressive attitude as he attacks Pinehurst #2 in order to get that elusive first major trophy.

7. Cam Smith

Age: 30
Odds to win: 36-1.
OWGR: 69. Data Golf: 37.
Masters/PGA finish: T6/T63.
U.S. Open appearances: 8. Cuts made: 5.
Best U.S. Open finish: 4th (2015, 2023)

The best fit on the betting board from a pure entertainment perspective in Pinehurst is Cam Smith. Much like he mastered St. Andrews and TPC Sawgrass in 2022, watch Smith contend with his world-class scrambling. A modern-day golf magician, Cam’s putter is the best in the world on any greens, and the challenge of these turtleback greens will only further help him separate. Fourth at LACC a year ago, Smith continues to prove he’s an elite player in major championships.

6. Hideki Matsuyama

Age: 32
Odds to win: 46-1.
OWGR: 15. Data Golf: 16.
Masters/PGA finish: T38/T35.
U.S. Open appearances: 11. Cuts made: 10.
Best U.S. Open finish: 2nd (2017)

Hideki Matsuyama has one of the best short games on tour. It helped him win the 2021 Masters and so many other worldwide victories. Everyone always thinks of the pause in his backswing and ball-striking, but the fact is, he’s incredible with a wedge. Career wins at Riviera, Muirfield Village and Firestone prove he can close on great designs. With all of the attention on others at the top of the betting board, watch him slide into position on Sunday just like he did a couple months ago in Los Angeles winning the Genesis Invitational.

5. Bryson DeChambeau

Age: 30
Odds to win: 17-1.
OWGR: 36. Data Golf: 10.
Masters/PGA finish: T6/2.
U.S. Open appearances: 9. Cuts made: 7.
Best U.S. Open finish: Won (2020)

I walked the entire final round with Bryson DeChambeau at Valhalla. His golf was amazing, but what was even more impressive was the paradigm shift we all witnessed in his personality. Pinehurst is going to require intricate attention to detail over 72 holes. A game plan and the stubbornness to stick to it. Bryson has four top-eight finishes in his past seven majors. Plain and simple, DeChambeau’s length is incredible. Combine it with his deft skill on the greens, and there’s no doubt he’s only going to continue to get better on the biggest stages.

4. Rory McIlroy

Age: 35
Odds to win: 11-1.
OWGR: 3. Data Golf: 3.
Masters/PGA finish: T22/T12.
U.S. Open appearances: 15. Cuts made: 10.
Best U.S. Open finish: 4th (2011)

Rory McIlroy has two wins in his past five starts. He’s gaining more than nine strokes (on average) over the field during that stretch, and the biggest driving force behind the incredible golf has been his approach play. We know Rory can drive the golf ball better than anyone on the planet. His putter can go hot or cold, but when his iron game is on, that’s when he wins. McIlroy enters Pinehurst coming off five straight top-10 results in the U.S. Open. Runner-up to Wyndham Clark a year ago, and an Open Championship winner, we know he can compete on short-game savvy courses. If the big three at the top of the betting board are taking major turns, then guess what: Rory you’re up…

3. Collin Morikawa

Age: 27
Odds to win: 21-1.
OWGR: 8. Data Golf: 4.
Masters/PGA finish: T-3/T-4.
U.S. Open appearances: 5. Cuts made: 4.
Best U.S. Open finish: 4th (2021)

Only one player has finished top 5 in both majors this year: Collin Morikawa. On a sensational run of golf, his success has been fueled by his career bugaboo. Gaining an average of nine strokes total per start since the Masters, 2.5 of those strokes have been gains from around the green. The confidence in scrambling has permeated throughout other aspects, making him a complete contender. That textbook Morikawa fade will fit perfectly at Pinehurst along with his best-in-class long-iron acumen. I’m excited to see Collin come back. With two majors under belt, he has the résumé to return some intimidation down the stretch against the best in the world.

2. Xander Schauffele

Age: 30
Odds to win: 13-1.
OWGR: 2. Data Golf: 2.
Masters/PGA finish: 8th/1.
U.S. Open appearances: 7. Cuts made: 7.
Best U.S. Open finish: 3rd (2019)

Xander Schauffele has finished in the top 14 (or better) of every U.S. Open he has played. A 10th place at LACC a year ago and a sixth at Shinnecock Hills serve as accurate comps if you’re getting ready for Pinehurst #2. One of the very best par-70 players at the elite level, he just tears up par 4s. The only real rival to Scheffler in ball-striking this season, Xander is gaining an obnoxious 11 strokes total (on average) against the field per start! Post his PGA Championship win, I have also seen a different Schauffele in the media center. Confident and composed, he no longer looks like he’s under attack. Watch out this week as many pundits at the start of the year picked the U.S. Open to be his best major chance. Little did they know it would be his second trophy.

1. Scottie Scheffler

Age: 27
Odds to win: 4-1.
OWGR: 1. Data Golf: 1
Masters/PGA finish: 1/T-8.
U.S. Open appearances: 6. Cuts made: 4.
Best U.S. Open finish: 2nd (2022)

Scottie Scheffler is the best ball-striker in the world, but that isn’t the reason he will win the U.S. Open. Pinehurst #2 is a remarkable mental examination. Much like Augusta National, to succeed at Pinehurst you must play with patience. Generational golfers seldom make mistakes. Scottie’s second green jacket in very difficult conditions proved why he’s on a completely different level. If Scottie loses this week, it will be surprising, but given what happened in Louisville, we know nothing is guaranteed. Considering the circumstances post-Valhalla, I wouldn’t be surprised if he sleeps on property at the resort!

Looking for insider golf betting knowledge? Subscribe to Read The Line for Stewart's weekly picks.

Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor and content partner with Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA Tour. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith's winning content can also be found on SportsGrid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.