2013 U.S. Open Power Rankings: Top 10

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Power Rankings: 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Soon enough all of the conjecture will stop and the 2013 U.S. Open will get underway at a soggy Merion Golf Club in the Philly ‘burbs. It’s always fun when the best golfers in the world get together in the same place for four days. Add in the fact that anyone can qualify for the tournament by playing their way in and you have the potential for something magical to happen. There are usually one or two guys that come out of nowhere and make a name for themselves.

It’s next to impossible to predict who will be the super-sleeper will be in any given year. Only slightly less difficult is forecasting who will win. Yes, Tiger Woods is a heavy, heavy favorite heading into the second major championship of the year, but he still has to outperform the field to win. Nobody is just going to simply hand him his fourth U.S. Open title. The weather, and its impact on the course, is expected to play a big role in determining a champion this year, but the winner still has to go out and execute.

In theory, everyone in this tournament has a chance to win. That’s what makes the game of golf so great. You can get hot for 72 holes and win one of the biggest tournaments in the world – and then go back to your desk job on Monday. Granted, there are some people whose chances of winning are significantly better than others.

Following, we break down the top golfers in the power rankings at this year’s U.S. Open.

Carl Conrad is the Senior Golf Writer for Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.

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#10 Rory McIlroy

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Ugh. Who really knows what to expect from the Ulsterman at this point? He’s been playing well as of late, but the putter has been incredibly disappointing. He’s fourth in greens in regulation but 123rd in strokes gained – putting. The flat stick will be his downfall this week.

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#9 Justin Rose

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

His performance depends on what he does on the greens. If Rose can get the short stick going he has a great shot at contending for the title.

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#8 Steve Stricker

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There’s no doubt that he’ll be fresh coming into this week. Thanks to his semi-retirement, Stricker has played in six events and has made the cut in every one. Because of the light schedule he doesn’t qualify for official rankings. If he did, he would be 13th in fairways hit, second in greens in regulation and 13th in strokes gained – putting. I’d say he has a pretty solid chance this week.

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#7 Webb Simpson

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The defending champion obviously knows how to quell the nerves in order to pull out a victory in a major. He’s not one to get rattled easily. Simpson has eight top 20s this season and should make that nine, even though he won’t repeat as champion.

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#6 Brandt Snedeker

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Having battled a nagging rib injury for quite some time, health is the big concern for Sneds. If he is able to play relatively pain-free, he has the game to make a run at the title. If his ribs start acting up he’ll struggle to make the cut (if he doesn’t withdraw).

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#5 Graeme McDowell

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Coming off of a tie for second at last year’s event, it’s all about ball striking for McDowell. While he’s first on Tour in driving accuracy, he hasn’t fared as well with the irons, ranking a paltry 142nd. If he can get the ball on the green he’ll have a chance. He’s won two of his last four starts.

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#4 Adam Scott

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

The Masters champion is looking to string together some success at consecutive major championships. He’s only played eight events so far this year but has three top 10 finishes. I expect him to make it four top 10s in nine events after this week.

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#3 Matt Kuchar

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

This event could not come at a better time for “Kuch”. He’s on fire at the moment, coming off of a second place finish at the Crowne Plaza Invitational followed by a win at the Memorial Tournament.

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#2 Tiger Woods

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger has been impressive this year, to say the least. In addition to his four wins and number one world ranking, he also ranks first in adjusted scoring and fifth in strokes gained –putting. I almost forgot to mention he’s won this event three times before. He’s got a lot going in his favor this week, but I like someone else just a little more.

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#1 Phil Mickelson

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It’s always fun to go against the chalk pick and that’s exactly what this is. I’m taking a bit of a flyer here, as Mickelson is notoriously streaky. With the wet conditions that the players will see this week and the short track, I like “Lefty” to get hot and stay hot. He’ll be in the mix late on Sunday.