All week you will be hearing people ramble on and on about sleepers, dark horses, and other bold claims about who will hoist the trophy at Shinnecock. I am here to tell you why there are only 9 men with a legitimate chance to win this year’s National Open. All of my reasoning will be explained below.
We start out with a 156 man field. With three simple criteria, we will cut this field of 156 hopefuls down to a miniscule 9.
CRITERION #1: This year’s winner will be inside the top 70 of the OWGR. Consider this a gut call, but I would be absolutely shocked if someone outside the top 70 in the world rankings gets it done this week. This means we say goodbye to the likes of Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell, Brandt Snedeker, Martin Kaymer, and yes you heard me, Tiger Woods. In total, 91 of the 156 golfers in the field are eliminated due to Criterion #1.
There are now 65 golfers left standing heading into phase 2 of elimination.
CRITERION #2: The man who hoists the trophy this week will have already won a major championship. This criterion brings us from 65 men to a mere 20 individuals. We send our goodbyes to the likes of Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Kuchar, Alex Noren, and many more. Already having gone through the ringer and won a major championship will be paramount this week, and I don’t see a first-timer getting it done here.
The remaining 20 before the final criterion is introduced:
CRITERION #3: The winner of the 2018 US Open will have finished 3rd or better at a previous US Open. Nobody conquers the US Open without previously tasting some success at “golf’s toughest test.” Because of this we bid farewell to Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, Sergio Garcia, Keegan Bradley, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, and Justin Thomas.
There you have it folks. 147 men in the field this week have been eliminated before tournament play has even begun. One of these nine men will be this year’s US Open Champion.
It just so happens that my pick to win this week, Phil Mickelson, is one of the nine names listed above. Coincidence? I think not.