Sobel’s 2020 U.S. Open Preview: Ranking the Entire Field at Winged Foot

Credit:

David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tony Finau

Sep 15, 2020, 12:08 PM EDT

In order to succeed at Winged Foot GC during this week’s U.S. Open, players will need to clobber the ball off the tee, as length will matter on this near-7,500 yard golf course.

The rough is as penal as potentially any we’ve ever seen, though, so players will also need to be accurate, keeping those tee shots in the fairways.

Of course, approach shots will be key, as high, pinpoint iron plays will lead to birdie opportunities.

And whether for birdie, par or anything else, players will need to be able to navigate these delicate, devilish, devious greens.

Throw in the proper mental fortitude for competing at the stiffest annual test of golf and there it is – everything a player needs to win this week.

See? It’s really not so hard.

Sarcasm aside, there are very few players who own the necessary skillset to win the year’s second major championship.

My ranking of the 144-man field begins with some of those players.

1. Jon Rahm

Already with wins at the two toughest tourneys of the summer, Rahm is battle-tested and ready for this one.

2. Xander Schauffele

In 12 career major starts, he owns six top-10 finishes. Coming soon: His first victory in one of ‘em.

3. Matt Fitzpatrick

Like Rahm, another guy who has played his best golf in the toughest conditions, when contending scores are closer to par.

[Perry: Fleetwood, Fitzpatrick and a 500-1 Longshot to bet at Winged Foot]

4. Tony Finau

He might not win titles, but he does frequently get himself in position for more heartbreakers.

5. Dustin Johnson

He’s the favorite on the board, but DJ hasn’t played well as a pre-tourney fave at majors in recent years.

Dustin Johnson is the favorite win the 2020 U.S. Open. Credit: Jamie Squire, Getty Images

6. Tommy Fleetwood

His tremendous ball-striking numbers in Portugal last week could be a sign of things to come here.

7. Hideki Matsuyama

It’d be tough to trust him with a 10-foot putt to win, but it’s similarly tough to believe his ball-striking won’t keep him close.

8. Justin Thomas

Believe it or not, doesn’t have a top-10 at a major championship since the 2018 PGA Championship.

9. Bryson DeChambeau

A few months ago, he appeared to be a great fit for this tourney, but that form has evaporated.

10. Thomas Detry

They can’t all be chalk, so watch out for this big-hitting Belgian in his first career major start.

11. Daniel Berger

Few players, if any, have been hotter this year, as he’s posted six top-fives in his last 10 starts.

12. Rory McIlroy

If the so-called ‘nappy factor’ is real, then expect the new papa to bust out of his recent funk in a big way.

13. Lee Westwood

In the right frame of mind to contend for a major after his prime, just when we least expected it.

14. Jason Kokrak

Trending in the right direction, plays well on tough courses and hits it a long way. Checks all the right boxes.

15. Patrick Reed

Success at Bethpage and Liberty National shows his proficiency for playing big Northeast ballparks.

16. Webb Simpson

If accuracy does end up being a more vital asset than distance, Simpson might be one of the biggest beneficiaries.

17. Martin Kaymer

Two-time major champion looks like he’s having fun playing again – and it’s showing in the results.

18. Collin Morikawa

Last month’s major champion should have a tougher time with a longer course on the opposite side of the country.

19. Abraham Ancer

Still shocking that first PGA TOUR win hasn’t happened yet, but he’s among the best still without one.

Abraham Ancer is 100-1 to win the U.S. Open. Credit: Ben Jared, Getty Images.

20. Sungjae Im

After a poor run of form, he’s started hitting the ball better, but not quite as well as early this year.

21. Alex Noren

Three top-10s in his last five starts suggest the former top-10 player in the world is back on his way up.

22. Adam Scott

Tough to know what to expect from a guy who’s played less golf than most of his peers since the restart.

23. Paul Casey

If indeed it takes some Popeye-like forearms to gouge the ball out of the rough, then Casey might be your man.

24. Joaquin Niemann

Pure ball-striker who might need to shore up his short putting before he seriously contends at a major.

25. Patrick Cantlay

He’s going to win a U.S. Open someday, maybe a few of ‘em, but recent form hints that it won’t be this one.

26. Tyrrell Hatton

One of the bigger surprises of the 2020 campaign has been Hatton coming off wrist surgery to play so well.

27. Bernd Wiesberger

Fits the mold of a player who could/should play well at this venue. Owns three wins since the start of last year.

28. Jason Day

Was red-hot a month ago, with four straight top-seven finishes, but MC-64th in his last two starts has dulled the excitement.

29. Chez Reavie

Won’t wow anyone with his game, but his brand of mistake-free golf should suit him well this week.

Tiger Woods is 45-1 to win the U.S. Open. Credit: Jamie Squire, Getty Images

30. Tiger Woods

Who knows? The biggest lock for so many years, he’s now just as intriguing as one of the biggest question marks.

31. Matthew Wolff

32. Brendon Todd

33. Justin Rose

34. Cameron Champ

35. Byeong-Hun An

36. Corey Conners

37. Rickie Fowler

Can a player find his game at Winged Foot? Fowler will have to, as he doesn’t have a single top-10 since mid-January.

38. Sergio Garcia

39. Viktor Hovland

40. Matt Wallace

41. Cameron Smith

42. Si Woo Kim

43. Gary Woodland

44. Will Zalatoris

Amongst some of the game’s big names on this list is Zalatoris, the best player on the Korn Ferry Tour right now.

Will Zalatoris is 160-1 to win the 2020 U.S. Open. Credit: Jamie Sabau, Getty Images

45. Mackenzie Hughes

46. Ryan Palmer

47. J.T. Poston

48. Lanto Griffin


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49. Harris English

50. Thomas Pieters

51. Billy Horschel

52. Kevin Streelman

53. Rasmus Hojgaard

Playing his first PGA TOUR-sanctioned event and first major this week, the 19-year-old is already a two-time winner in Europe.

54. Lucas Glover

55. Louis Oosthuizen

56. Christiaan Bezuidenhout

57. Brian Harman

58. Phil Mickelson

What does Lefty think of having 75/1 outright odds this week? “I’m not a gambling man, so I wouldn’t know,” he said.

59. Davis Riley

60. Henrik Stenson

61. Kevin Kisner

62. Sebastian Munoz

63. Joel Dahmen

64. Matthias Schwab

65. Bubba Watson

66. Charles Howell III

67. Shane Lowry

The reigning Open Championship winner has been wildly inconsistent since his win at Royal Portrush last year.

Shane Lowry is 110-1 to win the U.S. Open. Credit: Elsa, Getty Images.

68. Danny Lee

69. Curtis Luck

70. Ian Poulter

71. Michael Thompson

72. Erik Van Rooyen

73. Danny Willett

74. Adam Hadwin

75. Tyler Duncan

76. Ryan Fox

77. Rafa Cabrera Bello

78. Brandon Wu

79. Matt Kuchar

Good ol’ consistent Kuch hasn’t finished better than 18th in eight appearances since the PGA Tour restart.

80. Branden Grace

81. Keegan Bradley

82. Zach Johnson

83. Kevin Na

84. Max Homa

85. Brandt Snedeker

86. Tom Lewis

87. Jordan Spieth

If it was bad in Napa last week – and make no mistake, it was – it’s not going to get any better for him this week at Winged Foot.

88. Graeme McDowell

89. Matt Jones

90. Mike Lorenzo-Vera

91. Stephan Jaeger

92. Robert MacIntyre

93. Mark Hubbard

94. Marc Leishman

95. Sung Kang

96. Steve Stricker

The reigning U.S. Senior Open champion is fresh off a pair of top-fives in his last two starts on the senior circuit.

97. Eddie Pepperell

98. Adam Long

99. Kurt Kitayama

100. Lucas Herbert

101. Andrew Putnam

102. Renato Paratore

103. Troy Merritt

104. Romain Langasque

105. Jazz Janewattananond

106. Lee Hodges

107. Justin Harding

108. Rory Sabbatini

The last man in the field (as of this writing), Sabbo has a few positive COVID-19 tests to thank for that.

109. Chan Kim

110. Victor Perez

111. Andy Sullivan

112. Chesson Hadley

113. Paul Waring

114. Greyson Sigg

Connor Syme is 150-1 to win the U.S. Open. Credit: Gregory Shamus, Getty Images.

115. Connor Syme

116. Taylor Pendrith

117. Jim Herman

118. Richie Werenski

119. Dan McCarthy

120. Jimmy Walker

121. Takumi Kanaya (a)

The world’s No. 1-ranked amateur, Kanaya has finished 5th-3rd-1st in three pro tournaments over the past year.

122. Adrian Otaegui

123. Shaun Norris

124. Cole Hammer (a)

125. Sami Valimaki

126. John Augenstein (a)

127. Preston Summerhays (a)

128. Ryo Ishikawa

129. Scott Hend

130. Andy Ogletree (a)

131. Shugo Imahira

132. Danny Balin

Might not be a better story this week than Balin letting Michael O’Keefe – the real Danny Noonan – caddie practice rounds for him.

133. Chun An Yu (a)

134. Ricky Castillo (a)

135. Paul Barjon

136. John Pak (a)

137. Davis Thompson (a)

138. J.C. Ritchie

139. Ryan Vermeer

140. James Sugrue (a)

141. Marty Jertson

142. Lukas Michel (a)

143. Sandy Scott (a)

144. Eduard Rousaud (a)

My absolute least favorite thing about producing this ranking for every major is having to put somebody last, so here’s hoping Rousaud posts this piece on his fridge all week and proves me wrong.

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