The case for and against top U.S. Open contenders

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The 156-man field at this week's U.S. Open is stacked with talented players, many of whom have a realistic chance at winning the prestigious major.

But there can be only one champion on Sunday. Here's the case for and against the top nine players in the betting market.

Jon Rahm

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World Rank: 3rd
Odds to win: +1000
Best U.S. Open result: T3 (2019)
Recent finishes: WD (Memorial), T8 (PGA Championship), T34 (Byron Nelson)

The case for: The Spaniard won his first TOUR event at Torrey Pines and likely would have won his most recent start at the Memorial if not for a positive COVID-19 test.

The case against: It's a big ask of Rahm to win his first major as the tournament favorite. Additionally, the aforementioned test result prevented him from beginning his U.S. Open preparation early.

Dustin Johnson

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World Rank: 1st
Odds to win: +1400
Best U.S. Open result: Win (2016)
Recent finishes: T10 (Palmetto Championship), MC (PGA Championship), T48 (Valspar Championship)

The case for: Johnson has an impeccable U.S. Open track record and should feel very comfortable at Torrey Pines. He also finally showed signs of life last week at the Palmetto Championship.

The case against: His top-10 from last week was his best finish on the PGA TOUR since February, and he's missed the cut in the two majors he played this year.

Bryson DeChambeau

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World Rank: 5th
Odds to win: +1600
Best U.S. Open result: Win (2020)
Recent finishes: T18 (Memorial), T38 (PGA Championship), T55 (Byron Nelson)

The case for: DeChambeau outmuscled the field in September to win the 2020 U.S. Open, and Torrey Pines' narrow fairways and thick rough should favor his power game once again.

The case against: History is working against him, as only two players since 1952 (Brooks Koepka and Curtis Strange) have successfully defended the U.S. Open.

Brooks Koepka

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World Rank: 10th
Odds to win: +1600
Best U.S. Open result: Win (2017, 2018)
Recent finishes: MC (Palmetto Championship), T2 (PGA Championship), MC (Byron Nelson)

The case for: Koepka always has a great chance at winning any major. He has two victories and a runner-up in the last three U.S. Opens he's played in.

The case against: It seems hard to believe Koepka can continue to flick a switch and turn it on in majors. The 31-year-old has six missed cuts in his last 10 starts and still isn't 100% recovered from his lingering knee injury.

Jordan Spieth

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World Rank: 24th
Odds to win: +1800
Best U.S. Open result: Win (2015)
Recent finishes: T18 (Memorial), 2nd (Charles Schwab Challenge), T30 (PGA Championship)

The case for: Spieth leads the PGA TOUR in strokes gained: total over his past 50 rounds. He's arguably the best player in the world at the moment with a win and five additional top-five results in his past 12 starts.

The case against: Torrey Pines doesn't fit Spieth's style of game. He's neither long enough off the tee to keep up with the bombers nor accurate enough with his driver to make up for his lack of distance.

Justin Thomas

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World Rank: 2nd
Odds to win: +1800
Best U.S. Open result: T8 (2020)
Recent finishes: T42 (Memorial), T40 (Charles Schwab Challenge), MC (PGA Championship)

The case for: Thomas is one of the best ball-strikers in the world and can win any tournament he tees it up at. He finished T8 at Winged Foot, another long venue with penalizing rough.

The case against: He doesn't have a top-10 finish since his win at The Players and missed the cut at the PGA Championship. His U.S. Open track record isn't anything special, either: he has only two top-10s in six appearances.

Xander Schauffele

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World Rank: 6th
Odds to win: +1800
Best U.S. Open result: T3 (2019)
Recent finishes: T11 (Memorial), MC (PGA Championship), T14 (Wells Fargo Championship)

The case for: Schauffele seems to always be a threat at majors, especially the U.S. Open. He's played it four times with no finish worse than T6.

The case against: Torrey Pines has given Schauffele fits throughout his career. He's made six appearances at the Farmers Insurance Open and missed the cut four times. However, he did finish as a runner-up in January.

Rory McIlroy

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World Rank: 11th
Odds to win: +2000
Best U.S. Open result: Win (2011)
Recent finishes: T18 (Memorial), T49 (PGA Championship), 1st (Wells Fargo Championship)

The case for: McIlroy will always be a threat at a course that requires an elite driving ability. He has two top-five showings at the Farmers Insurance Open and collected a victory only three starts ago.

The case against: His victory at Quail Hollow may be an outlier in what is a tough stretch for McIlroy. He missed the cut at The Players and the Masters, and finished outside the top 45 at what should have been a perfect setup for him at Kiawah Island.

Collin Morikawa

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World Rank: 4th
Odds to win: +2400
Best U.S. Open result: T35 (2019)
Recent finishes: 2nd (Memorial), T14 (Charles Schwab Challenge), T8 (PGA Championship)

The case for: He's the fourth-ranked player in the world but continues to not be treated as one of the game's elite. Morikawa lost in a playoff in his most recent start at the Memorial and played really well at the PGA Championship.

The case against: He'll need to be deadly accurate with his driver - he typically is - if he's going to have a chance. The 24-year-old is the shortest hitter of the contenders, which puts him at a disadvantage before any golf has even been played.

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

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The case for and against top U.S. Open contenders
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