Who are the Top Contenders for the 2020 US Open?
A victory at Winged Foot would do more than serve as redemption for Phil Mickelson. It would make Lefty the sixth golfer in history to capture the career Grand Slam.
Unfortunately, as historic of a headline as that would be, the 50-year-old erratic driver isn’t likely to contend.
I would love to see Tiger Woods win major #16 at the A.W. Tillinghast design, but recent form indicates that he arrives in New York as nothing more than a long shot. A T-40th at the Memorial is Tiger’s best finish since January.
In terms of who are the top contenders at the 2020 US Open, I’ve narrowed it down to 10 names.
Dustin Johnson (+800)
To no surprise, Dustin Johnson tops the odds sheet at all of the best US Open betting sites. Since withdrawing after shooting 78 at the 3M Open, DJ is a whopping 64-under-par through a “12th-2nd-1st-2nd-1st” stretch. That doesn’t include the 10-shot cushion in Atlanta either – it simply accounts for his eye-popping 67.0 stroke average during his last 20 rounds on tour.
Talk about remaining calm and collected and having the ability to persevere on tough tacks, it’s as if Dustin’s pulse slows down as the pressure mounts.
Jon Rahm (+1000)
Ranked 2nd in the world and 2nd in total driving, now “Rahmbo’s” putter is finally warming up.
Jon Rahm has actually forgotten how to miss long putts pic.twitter.com/OREi3oS0up— Fore Play (@ForePlayPod) September 4, 2020
This is bad news for the rest of the tour, especially at a venue as tight as the West Course at Winged Foot. Geoff Ogilvy won the 2006 US Open here at five-over-par, and all signs are pointing to red numbers being extremely hard to come by in the 2020 edition.
Remember all of the carnage at the BMW Championship – where five guys finished under par and -4 won the golf tournament? What about the brutal setup at Jack’s Place in mid-July at the 2020 Memorial?
Surely you can remember that Jon Rahm was the last man standing on both occasions.
Rory McIlroy (+1400)
We know Rory’s driver will be a weapon at this layout, the question is, will his short game hold up. Specifically his flat stick – a club that has betrayed him all summer long.
Working in Rors’ favor is the well-documented story of him recently becoming a father. McIlroy flashed what that could mean with an opening 64 at the TOUR Championship but eventually ran out of gas.
After a week of rest and playing a golf course that caters to superior drivers of the golf ball, Rory is undoubtedly on the shortlist of genuine US Open contenders.
Justin Thomas (+1600)
As good of golf has DJ and Rahm have played, neither were able to trump Justin Thomas when it came to the PGA America Player of the Year award. JT didn’t win this coveted honor thanks to a group of voters – he won based on merit and the straightforward points system that’s in place.
There isn’t a weakness to speak of in Justin’s game, and it looked like all facets were clicking en route to a runner-up finish at East Lake.
Collin Morikawa (+2200)
The 2020 PGA Champ is looking to add to his collection of prestigious hardware, and Winged Foot just might be the setup that enables him to do so. The only way to attack this place is from the fairway, and you need to be precise where you’re picking your spots.
Collin Morikawa displayed that type of execution to a tee at Harding Park.
Nothing suggests he’s not ready to jump back into winner’s circle – especially after rebounding from a missed cut in Boston with a 20th and a 6th over the next two playoff events.
Xander Schauffele (+2200)
The tougher the golf course and the brighter the spot, the better this kid plays. Nowhere has that been more evident than right here at the United States Open.
5th, 6th, 3rd.
Those are Xander’s results at the US Open in his three previous appearances (2017-2019).
I could leave it at that and say nothing more, but here’s some more substance.
Schauffele’s exquisite ball-striking (7th in SG: Tee-to-Green) bodes well for his chances at Winged Foot. Ranking 2nd in scrambling makes him one of the undeniable favorites.
Webb Simpson (+2800)
The 2012 US Open champ knows what it takes to win this championship when conditions get rough. Webby triumphed at Olympic Club eight years ago winning with a final score of 1-over-par.
As far as his current form, Simpson has been lights-out all season long. 10 top-12 finishes in 14 starts allude to his success, as does the fact that he won the Vardon Trophy and led the PGA Tour in birdie average.
With Paul Tesori by his side, few men, if any, will be more prepared to flourish at the 2020 US Open.
Daniel Berger (+2800)
It’s absolutely criminal that Daniel Berger is not in the field for the 2020 Masters. He posted six top-5s including a victory in 2020. For crying out loud he’s ranked 13th in the world.
What makes Berger one of the top-10 contenders at the 2020 US Open is his propensity to control the golf ball at will. He’s got the low cut with his driver on repeat and has his putter dialed in.
Leading the tour in scrambling should also come in handy at a course as penal as Winged Foot.
Paul Casey (+5000)
The most important element to prospering at Winged Foot is driving your golf ball long and in play.
Nobody on the PGA Tour did that better than Paul Casey in 2019-20.
That skillset thrust him into the limelight at the PGA Championship, and it should once again allow him to blossom at Winged Foot. Paul placed 15th here at the 2006 US Open which included firing a 69 on Sunday – the lowest score recorded that year during the final round.
Scottie Scheffler (+5000)
FedEx Cup Starting Strokes aside, Xander Schauffele shot -15 in Atlanta. Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas each shot -11, while Scottie Scheffler quietly came in at -12.
Nothing worse than 22nd over his last six starts, a trio of top-5s during that period has all but cinched him of being named the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
A year ago, Scottie Scheffler was getting ready to start his rookie season. Today he picks up $2.5 million for finishing 5th at East Lake.— Doug Ferguson (@dougferguson405) September 7, 2020
Clocking in 7th on tour in total driving and armed with a silky rhythm on the greens, Scheffler has more than enough game to make some noise at Winged Foot.
It’s not just a coincidence that my top contenders at the 2020 US Open are the same guys who pop in the total driving statistic.
I’ll be making a formal prediction in due time, as well as highlighting sleepers and head-to-head matchups to target. Stay tuned for what’s to come by checking out our page dedicated to golf picks.