OTHER CANDIDATES

JIM FURYK
Furyk ticks numerous boxes. The 2003 champion is a US Open specialist, twice finishing runner-up in recent years, and he’s won twice this season. The course is playing fast and that can only favour his accurate game, although I would worry about Furyk if we were to see very high winds. He was blown away on this course in 2000, shooting 84 on the Saturday.
 
DUSTIN JOHNSON
Nobody has better course form credentials than Johnson, who has won the last two Pebble Beach Pro-ams. That is very much reflected in his 40/1 odds though, as we would normally expect at least twice that in a Major. Nor will this week’s more penal conditions prove quite as conducive to his massive hitting.
 
LUKE DONALD
Yet another strong English candidate. Luke’s recent form is impossible to argue with, and that first win in four years at the Madrid Masters must have come as a huge relief. His accurate game is ideal for a US Open too.
 
STEVE STRICKER
A chest injury has rather taken the wind out of Stricker’s sails, after four wins in nine months had propelled him to third place in the world rankings. Nevertheless, recapturing that level of form, he certainly has enough US Open pedigree to challenge. Stricker has three top six finishes in this Major to his name, interestingly never whilst at his peak.
 
GEOFF OGILVY
For me, Ogilvy‘s claims rest on the weather. Without excessive wind, he would have a great chance of adding to his 2006 title, as there are very few better when it comes to precision iron play to small greens. His high-ball flight has been problematic previously in the wind, though.
 
HUNTER MAHAN
Almost identical comments apply to Mahan as they do to Ogilvy. This is a player I rate as a likely US Open champion one day, given his superb ball-striking and general suitability for the conditions. His record in the wind is poor, though.
 
ADAM SCOTT
Scott rates the strongest Aussie candidate in my view, after his recent win at the Texas Open. His failure to make the top 20 in eight US Opens to date, though, makes him hard to back.
 
KJ CHOI
Again, while KJ ticks no end of boxes on his 2010 form, his failure to register a top ten in nine US Open attempts to date is a negative.
 
STEWART CINK
There’s plenty to recommend the reigning British Open champion. He’s proven in the wind, and made the top ten here back in 2000. Furthermore, he has looked to be finding form in recent weeks, with three straight top 25s including eighth last time out. One for the shortlist.
 
TIM CLARK
Clark’s relentless accuracy always warrants respect in a US Open, and he was third in 2005. Having finally broken his PGA Tour duck by winning the ‘Fifth Major’ at Sawgrass, he must rate yet another strong overseas contender.
 
MIKE WEIR
The ultimate Pebble Beach specialist, with five top four finishes in the pro-am this century. Weir also made the top 20 here in 2000, a position he’s made seven times in his last nine US Opens. If he can turn around a disappointing recent run, Weir must rate a lively outsider at 100/1.
 
MIGUEL-ANGEL JIMENEZ
‘The Mechanic’ was joint runner-up behind Woods in 2000, and deserves a mention on that basis alone. The fact that this season, he’s finished 12th in the Masters, and won the Dubai Desert Classic, proves he is no back number.
 
IAN POULTER
Regular readers will know I’ve been keenly following Poulter‘s not insignificant progress over the past couple of years. However, three missed cuts and a 76th place finish from his last four starts don’t bode well for his chances.
 
SERGIO GARCIA
At his best, Sergio would be tailor-made for Pebble Beach. He’d enjoy the windy conditions and emphasis on quality iron play. Sergio’s 125/1 odds, however, speak volumes about the state of his game right now. Nevertheless, if you’re a believer in the old cliche that ‘Form is temporary, class permanent’, there are few classier outsiders.
 
ROBERT ALLENBY
Allenby had been a long-range fancy for this tournament, but is impossible to back after withdrawing after a few holes at Southwind with illness. I shall be keeping an eye on him in-running, because if all is well, he has the perfect game for this test.

2010 STATS: -57pts
 
LONG-TERM ALREADY ADVISED
 
5pts MARTIN KAYMER TO WIN THE RACE TO DUBAI @ 9/1
 
20pts TIGER WOODS TO WIN EXACTLY TWO MAJORS @ 5/1
8pts TIGER WOODS TO WIN EXACTLY THREE MAJORS @ 14/1
 
N.B. JAMIE DONALDSON WAS A NON-RUNNER LAST WEEK

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