Andres Davidsson, The Golf Stream’s playing analyst, gives us a look at his top-six picks for favorites to win the U.S. Open, starting tomorrow.
This year the U.S. Open will return to Congressional, the course where Ernie Els won his first major. Sad to say, he will not be in the contention this year, even though he has taken our advice to heart and started using the belly putter that he had previously condemned.
The course, of course, has had its U.S. Open overhaul and it looks like Mike Davis has got some surprises for the players.
I have made a short list of the players that I feel have the best chance at winning the 2011 U.S. Open:
1. Luke Donald
As no. 1 in the world, I will expect him to do well in this major. I am not sure though if his stellar iron play will give him an advantage at Congressional, but his driving accuracy and scrambling will, and with a hot putter he will be in the hunt for his first major.
2. Rory McIlroy
What can I say? We all saw his potential at The Masters, and he played very well at The Memorial at Muirfield Village. I would have loved to see Steve Williams on the bag for McIlroy. I think they would be good fit. Will his first major victory come at Congressional? He could be close again.
3. Gary Woodland
Another young, up-and-coming player. He is one of the new breed of players who are also super-fit athletes. He showed wonderful golf at The Memorial and should have won. With improvements in his scrambling ability, especially from the greenside bunker, he will be a future force.
4. Dustin Johnson
He has the potential and we all remember last year. It is not a question if, but when he wins his first major. This year, he comes in with all the experience from last year. Recently, he has been putting a lot better, and with his length of the tee, he will be in the hunt for sure.
5. Nick Watney
Long and straight driver of the ball. He showed great play at the Blue Monster early this year, especially on the last day with all the pressure on the last hole. He is one of the bright stars for the future on tour.
6. Steve Stricker
The only previous major winner on the list. He was fantastic at The Memorial, and with that confidence I am sure he will feel like this is his moment.