Greg Logan: Best Bets for U.S. Open, Why Rory is Due

The 124th U.S. Open tees off at Pinehurst No. 2 June 13-16.

The U.S. Open returns to Pinehurst No. 2 for the fourth time this week in North Carolina, and the classic par-70, 7,543-yard Donald Ross layout almost certainly will separate most of the top golfers in the world from the rest of the field.

It’s true that longshots Martin Kaymer (2014) and Michael Campbell (2005) won the past two U.S. Opens at Pinehurst following Payne Stewart’s popular 1999 victory, but in the current competitive climate between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, there is a bunching of star power at the top. So, I will say defending champion Wyndham Clark, who missed the cut at the Masters, PGA and last week’s Memorial, will be lucky to qualify for the final two rounds of this U.S. Open.

Given the recent dominance of World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, the 11/4 favorite who won the Memorial and previously added his second Masters green jacket in April, my pick to win might come as a bit of a surprise. I am going with Rory McIlroy to win his first major title in 10 years.

Rory McIlroy is going on 9 years without a major and the questions won’t stop but ace golf handicapper Greg Logan selects Rory to win his fifth major.

McIlroy is in the midst of a terrific resurgence this season. In January, he won one event in Dubai and finished second in another. More recently, McIlroy teamed with Shane Lowry to win the Zurich Classic team event in New Orleans, and he won the Wells Fargo event at Quail Hollow in North Carolina and was fourth at the Canadian Open. McIlroy has five straight top-10 finishes at the U.S. Open. He’s due.

Scheffler, who has finished T-7 or better in three straight U.S. Opens, has to be my second pick. He also was T-8 at the PGA at Valhalla. My third pick is Xander Schauffele, who finally broke through to win his first major title at Valhalla. He is 7-for-7 in terms of made cuts at the U.S. Open and has finished T-14 or better every time.

My fourth pick might come as a bit of an outlier. Tom Kim goes off at 55-1 odds, but he has made the cut in his previous two U.S. Opens, finished eighth last year and he leads the PGA Tour in par-4 scoring, which is critical on Pinehurst’s 12 par-4 holes.

My fifth favorite is 2020 champion Bryson DeChambeau, who goes off at 17-1, has the most length in the game and has finished T-8 or better in all four majors, including second at the PGA and T-6 at the Masters this year. DeChambeau has six T-10 finishes in 10 events this season.

Wyndam Clark is not among the favorites to repeat due to recent poor showings in the majors.

When it comes to “longshots,” I am going with four big-name veterans with stellar U.S. Open records. Dustin Johnson has made 14 of 16 cuts and won in 2016. Jason Day has made eight of 11 cuts, finished second in 2011 and 2013 and was T-4 in 2014 at Pinehurst. Hideki Matsuyama has made 10 of 11 cuts, including second in 2017, and it’s impossible ever to count out 2017-18 champion Brooks Koepka, who has made nine of 10 cuts and was T-4 in 2014 at Pinehurst.

One big-name player I would avoid is Jon Rahm even if he is healthy but he is WD. He won in 2021, but he withdrew from the LIV event in Houston last week with a minor foot injury, missed the cut at the PGA and was only T-45 at the Masters. Ludvig Aberg makes his U.S. Open debut, but he might be compromised by a partially torn meniscus, and Keegan Bradley, who finished T-4 in 2014 at Pinehurst, finished in dreadful fashion the final two rounds at the Memorial.

So, McIlroy, who goes off as the second choice at 11-1, is my favorite to end his decade-long major championship drought.

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