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By : BGA Golf
The world’s best are yet again coming together, this time at Torey Pines for the newest instalment of the US Open. Let’s take a look into who we think are the top 5 players to watch over the coming weekend.
Number 5: Jordan Spieth
Major Wins: 3
The COVID interrupted 2020 season may have been a blessing in disguise for Jordan Speith. He has come back this year, showing glimpses of his former self, even capturing his first win since the 2017 British Open at the Valero Texas Open in early April. Not only the win, but we have also gotten used to seeing Jordan towards the top of the leader board, and in contention come Sunday afternoon, something that became very rare over the last few seasons, even dropping him outside the top 100 players in the world.
This week at Torrey Pines could be the perfect opportunity for Speith to get back to his major winning best. Speith's only missed cut of the 2021 came earlier this season at Torrey Pines, however, current form is enough to get him onto our list of top players to watch this week. Given he has made the cut in 3 of his previous four visits.
Number 4: Bryson DeChambeau
Major Wins: 1
Looking to defend his championship, world number 5 Bryson DeChambeau will be one to look out for this weekend at Torrey Pines. The long hitter seems to spark conversation wherever he lands, most recently in his somewhat comedic “rivalry” with fellow American Brooks Koepka. Despite this, Bryson will be trying to replicate Brooks’ performance at the 2017 & 18 US Opens, being the last man to win back to back.
A dominant performance at last year’s US Open saw him win by 6 shots, and was the only player to finish under par for the tournament. His long hitting seems to capture people’s attention, however, it may not be the most valuable part of his game. Bryson’s short game could be the most important factor if he is to win back-to-back US Opens.
Number 3: Brooks Koepka
Major Wins: 4
after yet another impressive performance at a major, just a few weeks ago at the USPGA Championship at Kiawah Island, the former world number one will most likely be in contention yet again at this weekend’s US Open. A disappointing final round saw Brooks finish just 2 shots back of eventual winner, Phil Mickleson.
Brooks has become known for putting all his attention into the four majors each year, even claiming that he loses focus during regular PGA Tour events, leading to generally poorer results. Missing the cut in last week’s Palmetto Championship may just be another example of this. Koepka has spent most of the last 12 months under an injury cloud, and it is still not clear if he has fully recovered from his knee injury. Despite this, even an 80% fit, fully focused Brooks Koepka is very hard to stop, which is why he has earned the number 4 spot in our power rankings.
Number 2: Dustin Johnson
Major Wins: 2
Entering the Palmetto Championship last week, DJ hadn't had a top 10 finish in his previous 10 starts and questions were starting to be raised arround his fitness. However, an opening round of 65 last week showed that DJ is world number 1 for a reason, and if it wasn't for a triple bogey late on Sunday afternoon, he may have taken home the silverware himself, as it turned out, finishing just three strokes behind.
Johnson has teed it up 5 times at Torrey Pines but it yet to capture a win, a rareity on DJ's resume. A T-3 finish is his best result at Torrey, coming back in 2011. It has been to everyone's surprise that he has opened his 2021 campaign with back-to-back missed cuts, however, it would be very like Dustin Johnson, to brush that off, and come out all-guns-blazing at this year’s US Open.
Number 1: Jon Rahm
Major Wins: 0
Rahm will finish 2021 with one of the most unfortunate “hard-luck” stories of the year. After completing his third round at the Memorial Tournament just a few weeks ago, he held a 6 shot lead over his nearest competitor. As he walked off the 18th green, he was told he had returned a positive COVID test and had to withdraw from the tournament immediately. Not only missing out on what would have been a fairly comfortable win, but also a substantial pay day.
In what will be his first event since his WD, this week’s US Open will pose the perfect opportunity for Rahm to capture his first major victory. He enters the week as most people favourite and its easy to see why. Not only does he have some good recent form under his belt, but he seems to like playing at Torrey Pines. It was here in which he won his very first PGA Tour event at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open. This memorable final round 65 was capped off with a 60-foot eagle putt on the 72nd hole. He has also finished T-5th, 2nd and T-7th in his last three starts at Torrey Pines. It’s clear that Rahm will be the one to watch this year, as it seems all the stars are aligning for the Spaniard to finally become a major Champion.