In this piece we take a look at Rory McIlroy and whether he can win the 2018 US Open.
Can Rory McIlroy Win The US Open?
It seemed forever ago that Rory won the 2011 US Open at Congressional where he blew away the field to win by eight. Just a few months after his capitulation at the Masters, the victory was supposed to start the incredible career of McIlroy which would see him win many Majors for years to come.
But this has not been the case. Sure, he won the 2012 and 2014 US PGA and the 2014 Open Championship, but for the past few years, he has been struggling immensely to consistently contend at the top. A few top 10’s have been sprinkled in to his Major resume of late, and he has shown a resurgence of form in 2018 after an injury-plagued year in 2017.
Bearing this in mind, we ask the question, can he win the US Open at Shinnecock Hills? Now the answer to this has three prongs to it. What is his form like? Does the course suit him? What about the other contenders and favourites? We answer all three below.
What Is His Form Like?
On the PGA Tour, his form has been good in 2018 with the win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational being the high-point. He has also had a top-5 in the Masters which probably should have been a better result, and also a tied-8th at the Memorial Tournament.
On the European Tour he has shown good form too. Recently he shot 67, 65 on the first two days of the BMW PGA Championship. Unfortunately he had two average rounds over the weekend which allowed Francesco Molinari to snatch the victory away.
On both tours his scoring average is very good and his driving is always long which is a significant advantage to have. But his putting often lets him down and on greens as fast and troublesome as Shinnecock’s he will need to show drastic improvement if he is to win his second US Open.
Does The Course Suit Him?
Shinnecock ultimately favours longer hitters, and Rory is one of the longest out there. However, as mentioned above, the greens are one of the main defences of the course and if there is one part of his game that tends to be hot and cold, it is his putting. Often dry and incredibly fast, Shinnecock’s greens will test every golfer in the tournament let alone McIlroy.
Another key defence of the course is the wind and Rory has shown on more than one occasion just how capable he is at playing in the wind with his irons being a particular strength. Graeme McDowell has said Shinnecock this year requires absolute precision and serious discipline with your irons, and this plays into Rory’s hands.
All in all, McIlroy is more than capable of winning the US Open in 2018, but there are plenty of quality players who will be vying for the victory too….
What About The Other Contenders and Favourites?
It is incredibly difficult to win golf tournaments nowadays purely because of how many brilliant players there are now. We take a look at some of the other favourites to win the tournament here.
Coming off a win at the Fedex St Jude Classic, Johnson is back at the top of the rankings and has a strong record in the US Open winning in 2016 and top-5’s in 2014 and ’15. Incredibly long and in-form, Johnson is the man to beat at the moment.
Since the Open last year, Thomas has won four times, including the 2018 Honda Classic, and when his putter is hot, there are very few who can stay with him.
Unbelievably, the one thing Spieth needs to improve this year is his putting. He is far from his best in that part of his game and yet still charged up the field to get a tied-3rd at the Masters. He has also had three-top 10s and is always a threat at the Majors.
A model of consistency, Rose has won four times since late October, and since last years US PGA he has had 15 top-10 finishes. With no limitation or weakness in his game, Rose will be McIlroy’s main European threat at Shinnecock.
10 years after his last Major win, Tiger is playing some brilliant golf since his comeback. A T2nd at the Valspar Championship and another top 10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational shows just how close he is to winning again. But with Tiger it is a matter of getting all parts of his game to click over the four rounds. His driving is normally an issue too and with heavy rough prominent at Shinnecock, Tiger will need to keep it on the fairway to stand a chance.
Who do you think is going to win the US Open? Do you think Rory will win his fifth Major?