US OPEN ’22: Capsules of 10 leading players at the U.S. Open

June 10, 2022 GMT
Sam Burns hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during round one of the Canadian Open at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Toronto on Thursday, June 9, 2022. Burns is expected to compete in the U.S. Open in Brookline, Mass., to be played June 16-19. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Sam Burns hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during round one of the Canadian Open at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Toronto on Thursday, June 9, 2022. Burns is expected to compete in the U.S. Open in Brookline, Mass., to be played June 16-19. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Sam Burns hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during round one of the Canadian Open at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Toronto on Thursday, June 9, 2022. Burns is expected to compete in the U.S. Open in Brookline, Mass., to be played June 16-19. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
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Sam Burns hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during round one of the Canadian Open at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Toronto on Thursday, June 9, 2022. Burns is expected to compete in the U.S. Open in Brookline, Mass., to be played June 16-19. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
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Sam Burns hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during round one of the Canadian Open at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Toronto on Thursday, June 9, 2022. Burns is expected to compete in the U.S. Open in Brookline, Mass., to be played June 16-19. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

A capsule look at 10 leading players for the U.S. Open, to be played June 16-19 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts (listed in order of predicted finish):

SAM BURNS

Age: 25.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 9.

Worldwide victories: 4.

Majors: None.

U.S. Opens appearances: 3. Best finish: T41.

U.S. Open moment: Making it through local and sectional qualifying to get into his first U.S. Open at age 19.

Backspin: His seven-shot rally to win Colonial was his fourth PGA Tour victory in his last 28 starts. Best friends with Scottie Scheffler, and he would love nothing more than to join him as a major champion.

COLLIN MORIKAWA

Age: 25.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 5.

Worldwide victories: 6.

Majors: PGA Championship (2020), British Open (2021).

U.S. Open appearances: 3. Best finish: T4.

U.S. Open moment: One shot out of the lead with six holes to play in 2021 at Torrey Pines until taking a double bogey.

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Backspin: In the last half-century, the only players to win a major in three straight years are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus. That’s the company Morikawa is trying to join. He has five top 10s this year without a serious chance at winning.

PATRICK CANTLAY

Age: 30.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 3.

Worldwide victories: 5.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open appearances: 6. Best finish: T15.

U.S. Open moment: Low amateur at Congressional in 2011.

Backspin: Not contending in majors is starting to become a narrative, even though Cantlay shrugs it off as a small sample size. His lone victory this year was in New Orleans with Xander Schauffele as his partner. Cantlay has two playoff losses in Phoenix and Hilton Head.

JUSTIN THOMAS

Age: 29.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 6.

Worldwide victories: 15.

Majors: PGA Championship (2017, 2022).

U.S. Open appearances: 7. Best finish: T8.

U.S. Open moment: His 3-wood to 8 feet for eagle on the 18th hole at Erin Hills in 2017 to become the only player with a 63 on a par-72 course in the U.S. Open.

Backspin: He will try to join Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen as the only players to win the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year. One of his 15 wins on the PGA Tour was outside Boston in 2017 during the FedEx Cup postseason.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER

Age: 25.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 1.

Worldwide victories: 4.

Majors: Masters (2022).

U.S. Open appearances: 4. Best finish: T7.

U.S. Open moment: One of only 11 players to break par in the first round at Oakmont in 2016 in his U.S. Open debut as a 19-year-old amateur. He missed the cut the next day.

Backspin: He already has four wins this year including the Masters, and will try to join Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players in the last 50 years to win the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year. Scheffler is coming off a missed cut in the last major, the PGA Championship.

JON RAHM

Age: 27.

Country: Spain.

World ranking: 2.

Worldwide victories: 14.

Majors: U.S. Open (2021).

U.S. Open appearances: 6. Best finish: Won.

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U.S. Open moment: Becoming the first U.S. Open champion to finish birdie-birdie and win by one stroke last year at Torrey Pines.

Backspin: His win in Mexico last month means Rahm now has at least one victory worldwide in each of his first seven years as a pro. Will try to join Brooks Koepka (2017-18) and Curtis Strange (1988-89) as the only players in the last 50 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title.

RORY MCILROY

Age: 33.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World ranking: 8.

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Worldwide victories: 28.

Majors: U.S. Open (2011), British Open (2014), PGA Championship (2012, 2014).

U.S. Open appearances: 13. Best finish: Won.

U.S. Open moment: Setting the U.S. Open scoring record at Congressional in 2011 right after losing a four-shot lead in the final round of the Masters.

Backspin: He has 15 finishes in the top 10 at majors since he won his last one in 2014 at the PGA Championship. He has top 10s in both majors this year, including a 64 on the final day at Augusta National. But he keeps putting himself too far behind going into the last day.

JORDAN SPIETH

Age: 28.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 10.

Worldwide victories: 16.

Majors: Masters (2015), U.S. Open (2015), British Open (2017).

U.S. Open appearances: 10. Best finish: Won.

U.S. Open moment: Finishing birdie-double bogey-birdie to win at Chambers Bay in 2015 and get the second leg of the calendar Grand Slam.

Backspin: He is getting a reputation as among the most entertaining players, good and bad. After enduring a three-year slump, Spieth now has wins in each of his last two years. But that win at Chambers Bay is his only top 10 in the U.S. Open.

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PHIL MICKELSON

Age: 51.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 72.

Worldwide victories: 47.

Majors: Masters (2004, 2006, 2010), PGA Championship (2005, 2021), British Open (2013).

U.S. Open appearances: 30. Best finish: Runner-up.

U.S. Open moment: Having a one-shot lead on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot in 2006 and making double bogey to lose by one.

Backspin: He has a record six runner-up finishes without ever winning the only major he lacks for the career Grand Slam. This will be his first American appearance since late January when he was the face of the Saudi-funded rival league. More curious than how he performs is what kind of reception he gets.

DUSTIN JOHNSON

Age: 37.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 15.

Worldwide victories: 25.

Majors: U.S. Open (2016), Masters (2020).

U.S. Open appearances: 14. Best finish: Won.

U.S. Open moment: Not knowing the score over the last seven holes when he won his first major at Oakmont in 2016.

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Backspin: Johnson has gone 16 months since his last win. He was No. 1 going into the U.S. Open last year. Now he’s No. 15. Johnson resigned from the PGA Tour to join the Saudi-backed LIV circuit run by Greg Norman. One question going forward is how motivated he will be with a reported $150 million as a signing fee.

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