Justin Rose, 2013 US Open winner
Justin Rose will be looking to secure back-to-back wins in North Carolina, after he won last year’s competition at the Merion Golf Club, Pennsylvania by an impressive two strokes. This selection appears to be quite the gamble though, as the last golfer to win back-to-back US Open tournaments was Curtis Strange in both 1988 and 1989. The fact lighting rarely strikes twice is already reflected in his pre-tournament price of 25/1 with Bet365 and despite his consistently strong performances, it appears Rose is far from a favourite to win the Open this time around.
By contrast, Rory McIlroy, who has had a whole host of golfing inconsistency problems to deal with over the past few months, is considered the clear favourite to achieve victory at Pinehurst, at a price of just 10/1 with Bet365. While he is closely followed by Adam Scott and Bubba Watson at 12/1 and 18/1 respectively, he is largely expected to build on his BMW PGA Championship win last month on the European Tour.
Graham DeLaet will be the only golfer originating from Canada when the tournament gets underway in two days and while he is far from considered a favourite, the 32 year-old is currently 21st in the FedEx cup ranks and is also remarkably ranked as the 32nd best golfer in the official world rankings. These statistics indicate he could be capable of something special this time around and after a recent tied-seventh at the HP Byron Nelson Championship last month, it appears he may have the form to surprise a few people.
Other golfers to watch out for are Matt Kuchar and the aforementioned Adam Scott. Kuchar is riding high on the PGA tour right now with one win, one runner-up and nine top-ten finishes to his name thus far in 2014. The man from Florida has now impressively climbed to fifth in the world rankings, whilst also staking his place for the FedEx cup, ranking third going into the US Open and will surely look to put another consistent performance in. One problem that we may see arise for Kuchar in Pinehurst is his green management. However, should he handle his putter sufficiently, we could be looking at the next US Open winner.
Scott, meanwhile, is sat happily in top spot across the world rankings, which is enough reason in itself to suggest that he can earn victory this time around. He is off the pace in the running for the FedEx cup though as he lies in 14th, but a win here would give him plenty of chance to shoot up into the top ten. The 2013 Masters winner comes into the Open with bags of confidence though and it will be interesting to see if he can put it to good use on the fairways this week.