Quick Bit: The course at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. will favor golfers with great ball-striking and scrambling abilities. Here’s who should be among those in contention at the U.S. Open.

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The 2022 U.S. Open is nearly here, and per usual, the tournament has put together a star-studded field.

Of the world’s top 30 golfers, 29 are participating in this year’s American championship. The only one who isn’t — England’s Paul Casey, who ranks 27th — is sitting out the event due to a back issue.

Suffice to say, the competition in the U.S. Open will be stiff, and some may find it difficult to figure out who will be the top golfers in this year’s field. That said, the set-up of the course at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., will help to identify which golfers should find the most success in this year’s tournament.

Who are the top golfers in this year’s U.S. Open? Below is a look at the 25 best projected performers at this year’s event and the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) of each player in the field.

MORE: Breaking down the best bets to win the U.S. Open 2022

Ranking the top 25 players in the U.S. Open field 2022

The Country Club is a mid-length championship course that will test each golfer’s combination of power and precision. It will require players to make accurate shots both off the tee and on approach to hit some of the PGA Tour’s smallest greens (4,200 square feet on average) while also looking to avoid 5 1/2-inch thick rough.

As such, when evaluating the U.S. Open field, it is important to look at the ball striking stats of each golfer, such as strokes gained off the tee (SG:OTT) and strokes gained on approach (SG:APP). It will also be crucial to know which players are the best scramblers, as they will be able to work themselves out of trouble if they find the rough.

Finally, it’s also important to see which players hit greens in regulation (GIR) the most frequently and which players are good around the green. That will make strokes gained around the green (SG:ARG) and strokes gained putting (SG:P) two other key areas to watch.

Below is a breakdown of The Sporting News’ top 25-ranked golfers for the U.S. Open in 2022. All odds to win the event are courtesy of Sports Interaction.

1. Justin Thomas

OWGR: 5
Odds: +1200

Thomas is fresh off a third-place finish at the Canadian Open — which had unforgiving rough, much like The Country Club does — and won the PGA Championship in May. He is playing well and his combination of a top-20 game off the tee, on approach and scrambling should make him a safe bet to stay near the top of the leaderboard during this tournament.

2. Rory McIlroy

OWGR: 3
Odds: +1000

McIlroy is fresh off a win at the Canadian Open where he was red-hot with the putter and shot a final-round 62 to finish 19 under for the tournament. The last time McIlroy won an event the week before a major was in 2014 when he won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He followed that up with a PGA Championship win and could do the same at the 2022 U.S. Open.

(Getty Images)

3. Matt Fitzpatrick

OWGR: 18
Odds: +2200

Fitzpatrick is playing some of the best golf of his career of late and has logged a top-10 finish in 11 of his 14 events this year. That includes a top-five finish at the PGA Championship.

Fitzpatrick is a top-five scrambler on the PGA Tour and ranks 10th in strokes gained off the tee (SG:OTT). He seems close to putting it all together and he won the U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in 2013. This is as good a place as any for him to earn his first PGA Tour victory.

4. Shane Lowry

OWGR: 24
Odds: +2800

It’s hard to find a golfer with a more consistent game than Shane Lowry. He has made all 10 of his cuts since January and has finished no lower than 32nd during that span. During that span, he has three top-three finishes.

Lowry is the second-best scrambler on the PGA Tour and ranks ninth in strokes gained on approach (SG:APP). The Irishman’s top-five scoring average will make him a threat to win his second career major.

5. Sam Burns

OWGR: 9
Odds: +2500

Burns has been hot since May of 2021, as he has earned all four of his PGA Tour victories during that span. He has won two events since March and logged another top-five finish at the Canadian Open last week. Burns’ combination of accuracy on approach and putting prowess makes him an intriguing golfer to watch, even if his SG:OTT and scrambling numbers rank outside of the top 50 on tour.

MORE: Tee times, groups, pairings for the first two days of the U.S. Open

6. Xander Schauffele

OWGR: 12
Odds: +2200

Schauffele always seems to be in contention at the U.S. Open. He has finished top 10 in each of his five appearances in the event and his solid tee-to-green game makes him an ideal fit for courses that demand a combination of accuracy and power. His putter can hold him back at times — he ranks 62nd in SG:P — but if he has a good week on the greens, he could finally win his first U.S. Open.

7. Scottie Scheffler

OWGR: 1
Odds: +1400

Is No. 7 too low for the world’s No. 1 golfer? Perhaps, but this course could be a tough challenge for Scheffler. He ranks 129th in scrambling among 204 qualified players on the PGA Tour, so he could have trouble navigating the 5 1/2-inch rough at The Country Club.

Scheffler still has a high ceiling, as his greens in regulation (GIR) percentage ranks second-best on the tour. That said, this course suits a handful of other golfers better than the reigning Masters champion.

8. Sungjae Im

OWGR: 21
Odds: +5000

Looking for an intriguing value pick in this week’s U.S. Open? Look no further than Im. He is one of the PGA Tour’s best players in GIR percentage, scrambling and strokes gained around the green (SG:ARG), ranking top-10 in all categories.

The greens at The Country Club are among the smallest on tour. In fact, Pebble Beach is the only course used for majors that has smaller greens in terms of average size. Im is one of the few players who shouldn’t have trouble hitting onto them or around them with success. That could allow him to card a low score during the tournament.

9. Patrick Cantlay

OWGR: 4
Odds: +2200

Cantlay doesn’t have a great track record in major tournaments, as he has missed the cut in three of his last six and has just two top-10 finishes in the 18 he has competed in as a pro. Still, Cantlay is a good putter and scrambler, and has a solid tee-to-green game that could put him in contention. He just needs to shake the yips he has gotten in recent majors.

10. Jordan Spieth

OWGR: 10
Odds: +2500

The good with Spieth: he ranks top 30 in SG:OTT, SG:APP and SG:ARG while supplementing that with a top-10 mark scrambling. The bad: he ranks 153 in SG:P and that often negates his success getting to the green.

Spieth can get hot with the putter, but often, we’ve seen it falter in the final round. That makes him a bit of a risk, but he has three major wins and eight other top-five finishes in majors.

11. Joaquin Niemann

OWGR: 17
Odds: +3300

Niemann is seeking to become the first major winner from Chile, and his game suits The Country Club course well. He is one of the best tee-to-green players in the game, posting top-20 marks in SG:OTT and SG:ARG while having a good approach game. That should give him a chance to get to the green with relatively little trouble, a big advantage considering the state of the rough.

In his most recent action, Niemann carded a 7 under at The Memorial Tournament. That put him in a tie for third place. He made the cut at 2022’s two other majors and if he can do so at The Country Club, he will shoot for a top-10 finish.

12. Mito Pereira

OWGR: 45
Odds: +5000

If Niemann isn’t the first Chilean to win a major, Pereira could be. In fact, he nearly became that at the PGA Championship, but a double-bogey on 18 eliminated his one-stroke advantage in the most brutal way possible.

Pereira is a steady, consistent sleeper option because of his ability to hit the green. He ranks top-10 in SG:APP and GIR percentage, so he should be able to avoid the rough in Brookline. Pereira is also a top-10 scrambler, so even if he doesn’t, he should save par frequently.

MORE: How Mito Pereira left 2022 PGA Championship a big winner despite a bigger collapse

13. Cameron Smith

OWGR: 6
Odds: +2000

Smith is coming off a tough week at the Canadian Open where he struggled with his driver accuracy and couldn’t get things going with his best club, the putter. The No. 6-ranked player in the world has the skill set needed to do well in the U.S. Open, but his recent form and his below-average off-the-tee performance drop him out of the top-10 golfers in this week’s tournament.

14. Billy Horschel

OWGR: 11
Odds: +5000

In his last action, Horschel put together an easy victory at Muirfield Village, one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour. He shot a 70-68-65-72 at the Par-72 course to finish 13 under for the tournament and was steady throughout the action.

Horschel is one of the best players on and around the green at this week’s event, as he is a top-10 putter who also ranks top-12 in SG:AGR, meaning that he will get the ball close to the hole frequently. His approach is the weakest part of his game, as it’s just below average, but as long as he avoids the rough, he should do just fine in Brookline.

15. Hideki Matsuyama

OWGR: 13
Odds: +3300

Matsuyama will be looking to make up for an unfortunate disqualification at the Memorial Tournament, but The Country Club could be difficult for him. His tee-to-green game is strong and he ranks top 10 in GIR percentage. However, his putting is well below average this season, so that could hold him back on the tough greens at The Country Club.

Still, Matsuyama has potential so he can’t be counted out. It’s just a matter of whether he’ll perform closer to the T14 he logged at the Masters or the T60 he carded at the PGA Championship.

(Getty Images)

16. Jon Rahm

OWGR: 2
Odds: +1400

Rahm may be the defending U.S. Open champion, but it’s hard to like him too much on this course. Why? Rahm ranks 140th in scrambling out of 204 qualified PGA Tour players and is 154th in SG:APP. That could cause him to have trouble if he struggles off the tee, as we saw at the Memorial Tournament, where his driver accuracy was just 50 percent.

That said, Rahm is still No. 1 in SG:OTT and in GIR percentage, so his ball-striking should keep him in the tournament. Still, it’s hard to be overly excited about him on this course, as he figures to have a lot of trouble if he lands in the thick rough.

17. Viktor Hovland

OWGR: 8
Odds: +2500

Hovland is very good off the tee and also has a solid approach game. However, he has one major weakness that will hold him back. He ranks dead last in SG:ARG, so he will struggle to get the ball close if he doesn’t land it on the green in regulation. More often than not, he has done the latter, but The Country Club’s small greens give him little room for error.

18. Will Zalatoris

OWGR: 14
Odds: +2800

Zalatoris ranks top 10 in both SG:OTT and SG:APP, so that should make him a quality choice this week, right? Not necessarily. His putter is extremely hot and cold and he ranks 160th among qualified players in SG:P. Zalatoris has gotten hot with the putter, but between that and his middling scrambling game, there are better options than him in this week’s field.

MORE: Why Will Zalatoris has been compared to caddie from “Happy Gilmore” & Owen Wilson

19. Collin Morikawa

OWGR: 7
Odds: +2800

Morikawa finished fifth at the Masters, but his form has declined in the two months since then. He has finished no better than T40 in his last three events and missed the cut at the Memorial Tournament.

Given his recent form and his struggles on and around the green this season, Morikawa shouldn’t be trusted to win this week. Still, the No. 7-ranked golfer in the world should make the cut and could be a top-20 finisher because of his upside.

20. Aaron Wise

OWGR: 44
Odds: +6600

If you’re looking for another sleeper-type, Wise looks like a good one. He finished in second place at the Memorial Tournament after carding a 9 under in that difficult tournament. He has shot at least 8 under in four of his last five events and has finished no lower than 23rd in those tournaments.

Wise’s top-20 approach game is his biggest strength, but he also ranks top 50 in SG:OTT and in scrambling. The big question is whether his average putter will allow him to climb up the leaderboard this week.

21. Daniel Berger

OWGR: 25
Odds: +5000

Since missing the cut at the Phoenix Open in February, Berger has performed well. He has two top-five finishes in six events and has finished top 23 in three of the other four. He has only missed the cut once over the last four months.

Berger’s good approach game, scrambling ability and play around the green makes him an ideal fit for this year’s U.S. Open course. He is another solid sleeper and betting on him to earn a top-10 finish seems like a wise investment.

22. Corey Conners

OWGR: 30
Odds: +6000

Conners has been underrated this season. Since March, he has missed the cut just once — it came at the PGA Championship — and he has finished top 15 in five of his nine events played. That includes his sixth-place finish (12 under) at last week’s Canadian Open.

Conners’ unique skill set should help him out on this course. Like Rahm, he ranks top 10 in both SG:OTT (eighth) and GIR percentage (fourth) but he is a better scrambler than the world’s No. 2 golfer. That could put Conners in contention at The Country Club but at the very least, he has a great chance to be a top-20 finisher.

23. Tommy Fleetwood

OWGR: 40
Odds: +5000

Fleetwood checks three boxes that will be important to having success at The Country Club. He ranks top-15 on tour around the green, is a top-20 putter and ranks 26th in scrambling this season. His game off the tee isn’t great, and he doesn’t always hit greens in regulation, but so long as he gets the ball near the green, he should have a quality week.

24. Tony Finau

OWGR: 15
Odds: +3000

Finau played some of his best golf of late at the Canadian Open and finished alone in second place behind McIlroy and ahead of Thomas. Finau is one of the better players on tour from tee to green but has had trouble with his putter at times this season. If he can play as he did at the Canadian Open, however, the putter will be a non-issue. As such, he has a high ceiling in this week’s tournament.

25. Talor Gooch

OWGR: 36
Odds: +8000

Gooch is the lone LIV Golf member to crack our top 25 for the U.S. Open. His game is all about accuracy, as he ranks top 21 in SG:APP and GIR percentage while also being the third-best player on tour in SG:ARG. His driver isn’t anything special, but it doesn’t need to be for him to find success in Brookline. He just needs to be accurate with it.

MORE: Best sleepers, value picks to trust, fades to avoid at the 2022 U.S. Open

Full U.S. Open field 2022

Below is the full U.S. Open field for 2022 listed alphabetically by last name. Also included is each player’s Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). The top-ranked player in the field is the World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler while numerous amateurs participating in the tournament rank last at 1,763rd overall.

Several other players are unranked and will be marked with a “UR” designation.

Player
OWGR
Abraham Ancer
20
Adri Arnaus
53
Erik Barnes
325
Andrew Beckler
UR
Sam Bennett
1763
Daniel Berger
25
Wil Besseling
255
Fred Biondi
UR
Richard Bland
70
Jonas Blixt
1028
Keegan Bradley
47
Joseph Bramlett
256
Hayden Buckley
259
Sam Burns
9
Brady Calkins
UR
Patrick Cantlay
4
Kevin Chappell
559
Stewart Cink
87
Wyndham Clark
239
Corey Conners
30
Sean Crocker
222
MJ Daffue
296
Joel Dahmen
130
Bryson DeChambeau
29
Adrien Dumont De Chassart
UR
Nick Dunlap
1763
Harris English
28
Tony Finau
15
Matt Fitzpatrick
18
Tommy Fleetwood
40
Ryan Fox
63
Jim Furyk
969
Luke Gannon
1763
Sergio Garcia
55
Ryan Gerard
UR
Talor Gooch
36
Chris Gotterup
1042
Branden Grace
123
Austin Greaser
1763
Keith Greene
1763
Lanto Griffin
106
Adam Hadwin
105
Stewart Hagestad
1763
Harry Hall
245
Nick Hardy
371
Brian Harman
50
Tyrrell Hatton
26
Russell Henley
49
Lucas Herbert
46
Bo Hoag
494
Tom Hoge
39
Max Homa
23
Billy Horschel
11
Sam Horsfield
75
Rikuya Hoshino
64
Beau Hossler
162
Viktor Hovland
8
Mackenzie Hughes
73
Sungjae Im
21
Sean Jacklin
1763
Dustin Johnson
16
Martin Kaymer
221
Chan Kim
109
Joohyung Kim
66
Kevin Kisner
32
Kurt Kitayama
143
Satoshi Kodaira
326
Brooks Koepka
19
Jason Kokrak
34
Jinichiro Kozuma
107
Danny Lee
243
Kyoung-Hoon Lee
42
Marc Leishman
52
David Lingmerth
592
Luke List
61
Ben Lorenz
UR
Shane Lowry
24
Richard Mansell
282
Caleb Manuel
1763
Hideki Matsuyama
13
Brandon Matthews
280
Denny McCarthy
121
Matthew McCarty
UR
Rory McIlroy
3
Troy Merritt
98
Phil Mickelson
77
Guido Migliozzi
171
Maxwell Moldovan
UR
Francesco Molinari
175
Taylor Montgomery
213
Jediah Morgan
247
Collin Morikawa
7
William Mouw
UR
Jesse Mueller
1763
Sebasti?n Mu?oz
54
Grayson Murray
544
Kevin Na
33
Chirs Naegel
1763
Keita Nakajima
249
Matthew NeSmith
166
Joaquin Niemann
17
Alex Noren
60
Shaun Norris
69
Andrew Novak
362
Thorbjorn Olesen
182
Louis Oosthuizen
22
Yannik Paul
200
Mito Pereira
45
Victor Perez
90
Thomas Pieters
37
James Piot
1763
Seamus Power
41
Andrew Putnam
153
Fran Quinn
UR
Jon Rahm
2
Patrick Reed
38
Charles Reiter
UR
Davis Riley
85
Patrick Rodgers
216
Justin Rose
48
Isaiah Salinda
1663
Kalle Samooja
136
Xander Schauffele
12
Scottie Scheffler
1
Adam Schenk
172
Marcel Schneider
192
Adam Scott
43
Chase Seiffert
428
Laird Shepherd
1763
Davis Shore
1388
Ben Silverman
1214
Webb Simpson
56
Todd Sinnott
439
Roger Sloan
327
Cameron Smith
6
Sebastian Soderberg
203
Jordan Spieth
10
Scott Stallings
149
Sam Stevens
UR
Sepp Straka
51
Brian Stuard
277
Tomoyasu Sugiyama
313
Callum Tarren
445
Nick Taylor
234
Justin Thomas
5
Curtis Thompson
524
Michael Thorbjornsen
UR
Cameron Tringale
58
Erik van Rooyen
76
Harold Varner III
35
Travis Vick
UR
Aaron Wise
44
Si Woo Kim
57
Min Woo Lee
64
Gary Woodland
113
Cameron Young
31
Will Zalatoris
14

Originally found on Sporting News Read More

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