Top 50 players at Pinehurst No. 2, ranked by best chances of winning U.S. Open

Top 50 players at Pinehurst No. 2, ranked by best chances of winning U.S. Open

This year’s U.S. Open includes 156 golfers from around the world, including 16 amateurs and 13 from LIV Golf. Some players earned exemptions based on various criteria, while others played their way into the championship via final qualifying.

Regardless of their path, Pinehurst No. 2 awaits them for golf’s most vigorous test.

The 124th U.S. Open has a loaded field with dozens of top players, all of whom have intriguing storylines. So let’s check out the top 50 players, ranked by who has the best chance of winning the U.S. Open.

Top 50 Players at U.S. Open, ranked:

50. Will Zalatoris

Two years ago, Will Zalatoris had a chance to force a playoff with Matt Fitzpatrick at Brookline, but he missed a putt on the 72nd hole by a hair. He then sat out most of last year due to a back injury and finally returns to the U.S. Open, hoping to build on his success from 2022. But his shaky short game may prevent him from doing so.

49. Victor Perez

The Frenchman is one of the better iron players on the PGA Tour, as evidenced by his solid ball-striking performance at the Memorial last week. If not for two closing bogies, he would have fared better than a tie for 12th. Perez also tied for 3rd at the RBC Canadian Open the week before.

Victor Perez during the final round of the 2024 Memorial Tournament.
Photo by Ian Johnson/Getty Images

48. Erik van Rooyen

Erik van Rooyen is 19th on the PGA Tour in overall strokes gained. He is also a solid putter. But the flat stick abandoned him last week at the Memorial, where he tied for 42nd. Still, van Rooyen has made five straight cuts dating back to the beginning of April.

47. Nick Taylor

Nick Taylor’s clutch win in Phoenix led many to think that he would take that next step. But he has only posted one top 10 since then. He missed the cut at both the Masters and the PGA Championship. He also failed to make the weekend in his two previous U.S. Open starts.

46. Ryan Fox

Could another Kiwi win at Pinehurst No. 2? Perhaps. His last start came at the RBC Canadian Open, where he tied for 7th. He also held off some of the biggest stars in Europe at last year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

45. Harris English

The former Georgia Bulldog tied for 18th at Valhalla, but he followed that up with a pair of missed cuts at the Memorial and Muirfield Village. Nevertheless, putting is his strong suit, so he may turn in another solid U.S. Open finish. He tied for eighth last year and finished in the top five in both 2020 and 2021.

44. Lucas Glover

It’s hard to believe that Lucas Glover conquered a rain-soaked Bethpage Black 15 years ago. Alas, Glover last played in the U.S. Open in 2020, tying for 17th at Winged Foot. His two wins last year earned him an invite back to Pinehurst No. 2, where he missed the cut in 2014.

43. Mackenzie Hughes

Mackenzie Hughes has an excellent short game, but he has produced inconsistent results. Look no further than the last four weeks: Hughes tied for 6th in Charlotte, missed the cut at the PGA Championship, tied for 7th in Canada, and then missed the cut at the Memorial.

42. Tom Hoge

One of the best ball strikers on the PGA Tour, Tom Hoge arrives at Pinehurst No. 2 looking to make a name for himself. He has two top-10 finishes this year, both of which came in Signature Events.

41. Adam Hadwin

Last week, Adam Hadwin finished in solo 3rd at the Memorial, thus earning an invite to The Open. His best attribute may be his short game, but he did rank second in strokes gained, approaching the green last week at Jack’s Place. At least Hadwin did not get pummelled by a security guard on the Sunday before the U.S. Open—unlike last year.

40. Cameron Young

Cameron Young has defined inconsistency in 2024. He began the season with a strong showing in Dubai and has four more top 10s to his name, including a tie for 9th at Augusta. But his short game and his putting have kept him from contending week in and week out.

39. Robert MacIntyre

Robert MacIntyre has returned to the United States, as he opted to skip the Memorial to celebrate his first PGA Tour victory at home in Scotland. His father will not loop for him this time around, but that should not diminish any of the Scotsman’s confidence.

Robert MacIntyre, U.S. Open

Robert MacIntyre during a Monday practice round at Pinehurst No. 2.
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

38. Keegan Bradley

Keegan Bradley arrives in North Carolina fresh off a tie for 43rd at the Memorial. But his poor finish can be attributed to a terrible third and final round, in which he carded rounds of 78 and 80. Before that, Bradley tied for 2nd at Colonial, thus indicating his game is in a decent place.

37. Sungjae Im

Sungjae Im missed the cut at both the Masters and the PGA Championship but has had five solid performances since the beginning of April. Im won the Woori Financial Group Championship Korea before tying for 4th at the Wells Fargo. He has the game to contend if he can roll it like he did at the Memorial last week.

36. Jordan Spieth

It has been all downhill for Jordan Spieth since his solo 3rd finish at The Sentry. He has missed five cuts since The Players while recording only one top 10 in that span. Spieth has not putted well either, and all signs point to him struggling again this week.

35. Denny McCarthy

Denny McCarthy’s game translates perfectly to Pinehurst No. 2. He is not a big hitter by any means, but he might be the best putter out of any player in the field. His best finish at the U.S. Open came two years ago at Brookline, where he tied for 7th.

34. Min Woo Lee

Min Woo Lee is one of the most entertaining players in golf. He is terrific off the tee but struggles at times with his irons and with his short game. Despite that, Lee tied for 5th at last year’s U.S. Open. Perhaps he can ‘cook’ a little more Min Woo magic this time around.

33. Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Fresh off a 4th place finish at the Memorial, Christiaan Bezuidenhout arrives at Pinehurst No. 2 full of confidence. He is also one of the best putters on the PGA Tour and has recorded nine top-25 finishes this season.

32. Alex Noren

Since the Cognizant Classic, Noren has finished in the top 25 in nine events. That includes a tie for 12th at the PGA Championship, which can be attributed to his exquisite ball-striking and terrific short game. The Swede could turn some heads this week.

31. Si Woo Kim

An excellent ball striker with a fantastic short game around the greens, Si Woo Kim has the game to contend at Pinehurst No. 2. But his problem is his putting. He ranks 162nd on tour in strokes gained putting but 4th in strokes gained, tee to green. Go figure.

30. Brian Harman

Since narrowly losing out to Scottie Scheffler at The Players, Brian Harman has not had his best stuff. He missed the cut at Augusta but then tied for 12th at Hilton Head. He has made four straight cuts since, with his best finish coming at Colonial, a tie for 24th.

Brian Harman, U.S. Open

Brian Harman plays a tee shot on the 4th hole during a Monday practice round ahead of the 2024 U.S. Open.
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

29. Dean Burmester

Dean Burmester has not played in a U.S. Open since 2019, when he missed the cut at Pebble Beach. But he most recently tied for 12th at Valhalla, showing that he can compete among the very best. The big-hitting South African also won LIV Golf Miami earlier this year.

28. Jason Day

The 2015 PGA Champion has a tremendous short game, and considering that Pinehurst is laid out on sandy soil—not dissimilar to the courses seen in his native Australia—you have to think Day will feel comfortable on No. 2. He tied for 4th here in 2014.

27. Byeong Hun An

It seems like Beyong Hun An is due for a big victory. He has four top 5 finishes, two of which came in Signature Events. He also tied for 16th at Augusta but tied for 43rd at Valhalla. An is a terrific iron player with plenty of length but struggles on the greens.

26. Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry almost made major championship history at Valhalla, coming close to shooting an epic 61. But he recently shot an abhorrent 85 at the Memorial, so who knows how the Irishman will fare at Pinehurst.

25. Tom Kim

Two weeks ago, Tom Kim posted his best finish of the season, a tie for fourth at the RBC Canadian Open thanks to a final round 65. But he could not carry that momentum to the Memorial, where he tied for 43rd. He made the cut at both majors this year but was never a factor in either.

24. Sahith Theegala

Perhaps this is the week for Sahith Theegala, who had a solid showing at Valhalla except for his final round. He most recently tied for 12th at the Memorial, despite a sub-par putting performance.

23. Sam Burns

Sam Burns did not make the cut at the Masters and the PGA Championship, the latter of which saw his putter seal his fate. But he has posted two respectable finishes since then: a tie for 10th in Canada and a tie for 15th at the Memorial.

22. Tony Finau

Tony Finau has not been a factor at either major this year, but he has turned in solid performances elsewhere. At any rate, it all comes down to the putter for Finau, who is one of the world’s best iron players.

Tony Finau, the Memorial Tournament

Tony Finau at the Memorial.
Photo by Amy Lemus/Getty Images

21. Sepp Straka

Sepp Straka missed the cut at Valhalla but has posted two top-five finishes since then at Colonial and at Muirfield Village. He is one of the most accurate players from tee to green, which always bodes well in a U.S. Open.

20. Corey Conners

Corey Conners has not missed a cut all season, with his best performance coming in his home country at the RBC Canadian Open. He tied for 6th that week thanks to a solid putting performance. If he can continue to putt well at Pinehurst, watch out. He’s one of the best ball-strikers on tour.

19. Tyrrell Hatton

Tyrrell Hatton turned in a solid performance at Augusta but did not contend at Valhalla, tying for 63rd. He has not been a factor in any LIV Golf event, but everyone knows he has the talent to break through in a major.

18. Wyndham Clark

Outside of his tie for 3rd at Harbour Town, the reigning U.S. Open champion has looked lost since missing the cut at the Masters. Clark arrives in North Carolina fresh off two more missed cuts at Valhalla and Muirfield Village. He also called Pinehurst No. 2’s greens “borderline,” referencing their difficulty bordering on an unfair level.

17. Max Homa

Max Homa contended in a major for the first time at Augusta but came up short. He has not played particularly well since then, although he did tie for eighth at the Wells Fargo Championship.

16. Justin Thomas

Since missing the cut at Augusta, Thomas has tied for 5th, 21st, 8th, and most recently, 23rd at the Memorial. He played well in front of his hometown crowd at the PGA Championship, but for Thomas to win at Pinehurst, he will need his putter to show up.

15. Russell Henley

Perhaps the most underrated—and least talked about—player in the world right now, Russell Henley has had a solid season. His only missed cut came at The Players, but he has four top 10s to compensate for that. Henley also tied for 14th at the Los Angeles Country Club a year ago.

14. Matt Fitzpatrick

Fresh off a bounce-back performance at the Memorial, Matt Fitzpatrick arrives in the Tar Heel State with a scorching hot putter. If the flat stick continues to cooperate, the Englishman could win his second U.S. Open in three years.

13. Cameron Smith

You would think Cameron Smith’s game will translate well at Pinehurst No. 2, a course that features some of the most challenging greens in the world. But he just posted an 8-over 80 at LIV Golf Houston. Still, he has three top 10 finishes in majors since Oak Hill last year.

Cameron Smith, LIV Golf

Cameron Smith at LIV Golf Houston.
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

12. Patrick Cantlay

The former UCLA Bruin has had a strange season. He lost his mojo down the stretch at Riviera, did not contend at either major, and most recently missed the cut at the Memorial. Cantlay did tie for 3rd at the RBC Heritage, though.

11. Hideki Matsuyama

Since racing past everyone to win the Genesis Invitational, Hideki Matsuyama has quietly put together some solid results. He has three top 10s, including a tie for 6th at The Players. He tied for 8th at the Memorial, too.

10. Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm would rank higher on this list, but he withdrew from LIV Golf Houston with a foot injury. That, coupled with his poor performances at Augusta National and Valhalla, raises some eyebrows.

9. Tommy Fleetwood

Tommy Fleetwood seems due for a major championship, as he is one of the most talented players without one. He is a terrific iron player and has a solid short game, so perhaps this is the week.

8. Viktor Hovland

After missing the cut at the Masters, Hovland has turned things around. He finished solo 3rd at Valhalla and most recently tied for 15th at Muirfield Village. The Norwegian looks like a top player again, like he did in all of 2023.

7. Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka prides himself on performing in major championships but has yet to show up this season. Knowing his pedigree, that could very well change this week.

6. Ludvig Åberg

After posting a solo 2nd in his major championship debut at Augusta National, Ludvig Åberg missed the cut at Valhalla. A knee injury may have affected that, but now he looks healthy going into Pinehurst No. 2, a course that suits his game perfectly.

Ludvig Åberg, PGA Tour, the Memorial Tournament

Ludvig Åberg at the Memorial.
Photo by Ian Johnson/Getty Images

5. Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has three worldwide wins in 2024, but his season seems somewhat unfulfilling. A win at Pinehurst would change that, and he obviously has the game to do so. But it all comes down to the putter for McIlroy.

4. Bryson DeChambeau

Although he did not play up to his standards at LIV Golf Houston, DeChambeau tied for 6th at the Masters and lost to Xander Schauffele by a stroke at Valhalla. He is one of the best players in the world right now.

3. Collin Morikawa

Collin Morikawa has come close so many times this year. A win has to come soon, but at least he is playing much better now than he did earlier in the season. He almost beat Scottie Scheffler at Jack’s Place and now arrives at the U.S. Open with an added chip on his shoulder.

2. Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele has the complete game to win back-to-back majors. He has no notable flaws, but avoiding mistakes at Pinehurst will be critical. He will also have to stay patient, like he did at Valhalla.

1. Scottie Scheffler

If you think anyone else should sit in this spot, you have not watched any golf in 2024. Scottie Scheffler is in a tier of his own, arriving at Pinehurst No. 2 with extremely low odds not seen since Tiger Woods in his heyday.

Scottie Scheffler, U.S. Open

Scottie Scheffler and instructor Claude Harmon III during a Monday practice round ahead of the 2024 U.S. Open.
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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