Power Ranking The Top 25 Golfers of the 2014 US Open

Power Rankings: 2014 US Open at Pinehurst

US Open 2014 Power Rankings Pinehurst
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The summer golf season kicks off in earnest this week, as the top players in the world will contest 2014's second major, the US Open at Pinehurst.

The redesigned course is still steeped in tradition, and is sure to test every shot in a player's arsenal, and probably even some they didn't think they had. This isn't just any other tournament, and it'll show from the first tee time.

Read on to see how the top 25 should stack up this week.

25. Bill Haas

Bill Haas
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25. Bill Haas

Bill Haas

Back home in North Carolina, Haas could be in the hunt for his best major finish of his career. Haas ranks fifth on Tour in sand save percentage, and 17th in greens in regulation, but he has struggled at times with his putting this season. His high ball flight will help keep it close if he stays on line.

24. Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson
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24. Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson

It's been a tale of two seasons for the 2012 US Open champion. Through the WGC Match Play, he scoted six top-25 finishes in seven tournaments with a win. Since then, he has three missed cuts, and his only top-25 was this week’s tie for third in Memphis. His 72.22% Greens-in-regulation average for the first half of the year has been countered by just 59.53% in the second half.

23. Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson
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23. Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson

If it seems like forever ago that Zach Johnson was one of the hottest players on Tour…it pretty much was. His last top-10 came at the end of March in the Valero Texas Open, and he hasn’t cracked the top 50 in his last two starts. Combine that with the fact that the US Open has been anything but kind to him over the years, and his best chance here is that he hits the ball straight and gets out of trouble well.

22. Miguel Angel Jimenez

Miguel Angel Jimenez
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22. Miguel Angel Jimenez

Miguel Angel Jimenez

Maybe it’s the wine, or the signature warmup routine, or the cigars, but Jimenez doesn’t seem to age at all. After finishing fourth in the Masters this year, he went out the next week and won his Champions Tour debut and the European Tour’s Spanish Open. Realistically, he shouldn’t contend in one of the hardest tournaments on the planet, but when it comes to “The Mechanic”, the rules go out the window.

21. Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood
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21. Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood

It’s an ongoing battle with Lee Westwood. He’s run off nine top-ten finishes in majors since 2010, and six straight US Open top-25s. While he’s missed two recent cuts, he also scored big finishes at the Masters and the PLAYERS. The stats aren’t there, but he should be motivated by the magnitude of the event.

20. Charl Schwartzel

Charl Schwartzel
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20. Charl Schwartzel

Charl Schwartzel

Schwartzel has notched top-15s in three of his last four starts since missing the Masters cut. With no rough to speak of, Schwartzel will benefit greatly from a solid midrange putting stroke that allows him to avoid most three-putt situations.

19. Billy Horschel

Billy Horschel
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19. Billy Horschel

Billy Horschel

A solid start to 2014 was derailed a bit in March and April, but Horschel seems to be improving steadily, including a solid top-ten finish at last week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic. He’s known for hitting tons of greens, but he’ll need to get his midrange putting game going to contend for his first major victory.

18. Luke Donald

Luke Donald
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18. Luke Donald

Luke Donald

Donald, a former world No. 1, has made some promising strides working with new coach Chuck Cook this year, including finishing third at the BMW PGA Championship recently. He hasn’t hit a ton of greens this year, but he finds a way to get up and down, and that discipline should serve him well if he is to improve on his T8 from Merion last year.

17. Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker
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17. Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker

Still rolling along, Walker hasn’t really challenged for a win since his third of the season at the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, but with three wins, we’ll forgive that. This is his first shot at the US Open since 2001, but his game seems like it could fit Pinehurst. He’s ranked 13th in driving distance, and while he isn’t the most accurate off the tee, he hits over 68% of his greens and ranks second in birdie conversion at a 35.37% clip.

16. Henrik Stenson

Henrik Stenson
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16. Henrik Stenson

Henrik Stenson

Last year’s FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai winner has been mostly quiet stateside this year, but he’s made his fair share of noise on the other side of the pond, where he’s scored three straight top tens. He kicked off his run to championship history at this tournament in 2013, and is still one of the purest strikers in the game.

15. Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama
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15. Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama

Ready for your encore? Matsuyama made his debut in a big way at Merion last year, finishing T-10 in his first US Open. After his win at the Memorial Tournament, it sure doesn’t look like beginner’s luck. What he occasionally lacks in accuracy, he’ll make up for with a solid game around the greens to save strokes.

14. Keegan Bradley

Keegan Bradley
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14. Keegan Bradley

Keegan Bradley

Which putter will Bradley use this week at Pinehurst? He broke out a standard, non-anchored version at the Memorial, and he started well but faded down the stretch. He’s got all the talent in the world, but it’s been a tough year for the 2011 PGA Champion. Whichever putter he uses, he’ll need to get hot to contend in golf’s toughest test.

13. Jason Day

Jason Day
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13. Jason Day

Jason Day

Can Jason Day break through this year? Over the last three years, the Aussie has been runner-up twice at the US Open, and he was looking as strong as ever before taking some time away to deal with a thumb injury. He could make a big impact by winning his first major this week at Pinehurst.

12. Justin Rose

Justin Rose
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12. Justin Rose

Justin Rose

Last year’s champion has four top-25s dating back to the Masters, so there’s no reason to be overly concerned with his missed cut at the Memorial. Pinehurst's redesign with an emphasis on sandy areas and little to no true rough could play in to his remarkably solid bunker game.

11. Jason Dufner

Jason Dufner
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11. Jason Dufner

Jason Dufner

Dufner has, at times this year, looked both completely average and absolutely outstanding. He was nothing short of excellent at the Crowne Plaza recently, where the only thing keeping him from victory was the equally great play by Adam Scott, who won the playoff. Dufner thrived at both Merion and the Olympic Club in recent years, so he won’t likely be broken easily by Pinehurst.

10. Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker
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10. Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker

I’m a lot higher on Stricker than most are coming into Pinehurst. Four top-25 finishes in his last five US Opens, and a T5 here in 1999. Coming off his best finish of the year at the Memorial and still more than capable of making a run. Veteran experience will work in his favor.

9. Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia
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9. Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia

Back in action stateside for the first time since finishing solo third at the PLAYERS in May. Garcia withdrew from the BMW PGA Championship two weeks ago with a knee injury, specifically stating that although there was no structural damage, he didn’t want it to get worse heading into Pinehurst. He’s played some outstanding golf when healthy, and he is good enough to win a major. Will it be this one?

8. Jim Furyk

Jim Furyk
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8. Jim Furyk

Jim Furyk

The 2003 winner has twice been the runner up since then (2006 and 2007) and he was 4th in 2012. Missed cut last year in his backyard at Merion. Furyk's been outside the top 25 only once since the WGC Cadillac in March, including a T14 at Augusta, and 2nd at the PLAYERS. Ranked 11th in driving accuracy, 1st in scrambling. Putting is a sore spot, as Furyk isn’t ranked within the top 100 in putting from any distance outside 5 feet.

7. Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth
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7. Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth

Merion wasn’t very good to Spieth in his rookie season, but this is the same player who was low amateur when he tied for 21st in the 2012 US Open, and he was right there with Bubba Watson for much of Sunday at the Masters. What Spieth occasionally lacks in accuracy, he makes up for in his ability to get up-and-down to save strokes, ranked 11th in scrambling this season.

6. Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson
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6. Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson

Johnson has done almost everything there is to do this year besides winning a major. Since a two-shot penalty for grounding his club in a “bunker” cost him a playoff at the 2010 PGA Championship, he’s come close, but a redesigned Pinehurst may fit his game, as his monster drives leave him short irons and wedges into the small greens. Ranks fifth in proximity to the hole in 2014.

5. Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson
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5. Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson

Forget everything you've seen from Phil Mickelson in 2014. If you follow golf at all, you already know how big this one is to Phil. After finishing second to Payne Stewart in 1999, Lefty has gone on to be the runner-up five more times, and this whole season has been a warmup for Pinehurst. He's got every shot in the bag, he just needs to avoid the one big mistake that leads to more if he's going to complete the Grand Slam this year.

4. Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar
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4. Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar

Kuchar was scheduled to play in the FedEx St. Jude Classic, but withdrew to rest and practice for Pinehurst, so you know how important this tournament is. Kuchar is in a position much like Phil Mickelson was years ago, looking to shed “best player without a major” title.

3. Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson
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3. Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson

In a career year, this is an excellent chance for Bubba to prove his game translates beyond the hallowed grounds of Augusta National. Pinehurst’s length suits Watson, but he can be wildly erratic, and a US Open setup will punish any small error in judgment. Best finish in a US Open: T5 in 2007 at Oakmont.

2. Adam Scott

Adam Scott
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2. Adam Scott

Adam Scott

This is a great chance for the newly minted World No. 1 to step up and demonstrate the game that got him there. Scott rebounded in great form after the PLAYERS, with a win and another top-five heading into Pinehurst. Scott is ranked seventh on Tour in par-4 performance, 25th in GIR. However, he's just 142nd in par-3 performance, and Pinehurst's long par-3's will challenge him to score.

1. Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy
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1. Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Nobody in the world has played any better than McIlroy lately. His worst finish of the year on the PGA Tour is his T25 from the WGC Cadillac, and his win at the BMW PGA Championship looked like the Rory we all expected to take the throne from Tiger Woods a few short years ago. This will be his first crack at Pinehurst, but he’ll be prepared. His putting has been a bit inconsistent, but he handles his business on the par-3’s and par-4’s.


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