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The US Open 2024 Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 10 Jun 2024

The US Open returns to Pinehurst No. 2 this week - and there will be no hiding place at what can be one of the most brutal tests in golf.

When Martin Kaymer won here in 2014, he opened with successive rounds of 65 and romped to an astonishing eight-stroke victory. He closed out his week with rounds of 72 and 69 to win the tournament with a 72-hole total of 271, nine under par.

But history tells us that anybody who can end the tournament anywhere close to level par is going to be there or thereabouts on Sunday afternoon. Much will depend on the weather but you can be sure of one thing - if the greens are firm we are going to see some big numbers.

So if we are trying to identify a likely winner then we are looking for somebody who can master strategy. That man is going to have to find plenty of fairways, possess a great deal of patience, be a wonderful iron player and have a magical touch on and around the greens.

I am not exactly sticking my neck out when I say that Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele, winners of Masters and PGA Championship this season, will both fancy their chances. Both men drove the ball quite superbly in winning their majors. Schauffele has always been a renowned putter who also possesses a wonderful touch around the greens. 

And Scheffler has achieved incredible success not because of the vast distances he hits the ball. They key has been laser-like accuracy with his irons along with discovering a putting stroke that he can now depend on. The bottom line is that if Scheffler holes more than his fair share of putts then everybody else is playing for second place.

Scottie Scheffler

I believe this is a golf course upon which Rory McIlroy is going to struggle. Like Kaymer, it is 10 years since the Northern Irishman won the most recent of his four majors. But while Kaymer has not won a tournament of any sort since, McIlroy has at least gone on to enjoy huge success on both the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.

Unless he comes to Pinehurst with his A+ game then this could be a long week for him. First and foremost, he is going to have to drive superbly. If he is going to end his major drought I will be amazed if it happens here.

Ludvig Aberg continues his magical journey. This will be his third major. He finished second at The Masters in his first and then missed the cut at the PGA. Aberg has every shot in the book and is equipped to eventually become a world number one. Incredibly he has not yet been a professional for 12 months. But in a short period of time he has caused quite a stir, winning on both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour and making his Ryder Cup debut for Europe at Marco Simone. He has an old head on young shoulders, takes absolutely everything in his stride and is a certain future major winner. But maybe not just yet.

Viktor Hovland returned to something approaching his best at the PGA Championship. He will know that Schauffele’s victory there means that many people will now be pointing at Hovland as the best current player not to have won a major. After a horribly shaky start to 2024, caused by opting to change a swing that won him the FedEx Cup, he returned to his long-time swing coach and there were immediate results. But I suspect he is carrying a bit of scar tissue just now and may have to wait a while yet to shed that tag.

Having weighed up all the options, I believe that Max Homa, Collin Morikawa and Jason Day will all be there or thereabouts. 

Morikawa is already a two-time major winner who spent a time in the wilderness but is now back with a bang. He finds an awful lot of fairways and is regarded as one of the very best iron players on the planet. He may not be the best putter but if you put as many approaches as close as Morikawa does then you don’t need to be.

Homa would be a hugely popular winner. For much of his career he was regarded as something of a journeyman. Not any longer.

He was born in Burbank, California in November 1990. As an amateur he qualified to play in the US Open in 2013. He represented the USA in the Walker Cup that year and then turned professional. 

A decent year on the Web.com Tour saw him earn his PGA Tour card for 2015 but he lost his privileges after just one season. 

He regained his card but lost it again before returning to the PGA Tour in 2019, when he won the Wells Fargo Championship. In the 2021-22 season he won twice and earned a place in the US Presidents Cup team, where he starred as they defeated The Internationals.

When he won the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open it was his sixth PGA Tour victory. He was also the sole shining light for the USA at the 2023 Ryder Cup, securing 3.5 points as his team were soundly thrashed.

And then there is Day. It is all too easy to forget that he is a major champion and a former world number one. The Australian has suffered a myriad of injury woes and has had to change his golf swing to put less pressure on his back. There have been a lot of positive signs in 2024 and he just might be ready to add a second major to his CV.

Tommy Fleetwood just loves the majors. 

If you are looking for an outsider or two - and aren’t we all - then you could do an awful lot worse than having a flutter on Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre and Belfast's Tom McKibbin.

MacIntyre put a troubled start to his PGA Tour career behind him with a magnificent victory at the recent Canadian Open. It will fill him with confidence and it will be fascinating to see how he progresses. McKibbin came through qualifying and made a decent fist of defending his European Open title at one of the toughest golf golf courses on the DP World Tour in Hamburg. Make no mistake, McKibbin is going to be the real deal and I have a sneaky feeling that he could make a proper impression here.

Tournament Winners:

It was won in 2015 by Jordan Spieth, in 2016 by Dustin Johnson, in 2017 and 2018 by Brooks Koepka, in 2019 by Gary Woodland, in 2020 by Bryson DeChambeau, in 2021 by Jon Rahm, in 2022 by Matt Fitzpatrick and last year by Wyndham Clark.

Form Guide:

Scottie Scheffler is once again the man to beat as he goes for his sixth title of the year. Unsurprisingly, the world number one is the 3/1 favourite on Betway. But the exciting news for fans is that most of the world’s top golfers have all shown their very best form in recent weeks. This could be an absolute thriller.

The Course:

Pinehurst No. 2 is a par 70 that measures 7,458 yards. The greens are incredibly tricky - if you don’t find the right spot you are either staring three putts in the face or are going to watch your ball rolling off the putting surface. There are nine courses but No. 2 is, without a shadow of a doubt, the No1! Par is a really good score here.

To Win:

Jason Day. Looking good (66/1)

Each Way:

Scottie Scheffler. The man to beat (3/1)

Each Way:

Collin Morikawa. Brilliant iron player (14/1)

Five to Follow:

Jason Day. Back to his best (66/1)

Scottie Scheffler. Absolutely dominant (3/1)

Collin Morikawa. Will really fancy this (14/1)

Max Homa. Impressive in everything he does (33/1)

Tommy Fleetwood. Loves tough courses (33/1)

Five Outsiders to Watch:

Ryan Fox. Fun to watch (150/1)

Tom McKibbin. The real deal (200/1)

Austin Eckroat. Underrated (150/1)

Tom Hoge. Great ball striker (150/1)

Billy Horschel. Much improved in 2024 (150/1)

How to Watch The US Open

Tuesday, June 11 - Live from the US Open, Sky Sports Golf, 2pm

Wednesday, June 12 - Live from the US Open, Sky Sports Golf, 2pm

Thursday, June 13 - first round, Sky Sports Golf, 12.30pm

Friday, June 14 - second round, Sky Sports Golf, 12.30pm

Saturday, June 15 - third round, Sky Sports Golf, 3pm

Sunday, June 16 - final round, Sky Sports Golf, 2pm

Must Read US Open Content

This 2024 US Open preview article was written in collaboration with Betway.

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