Over the last couple of years the majors have been dominated by Northern Irishman, while English golf fans have had to satisfy themselves with a sting of top-ten finishes and a series of near misses.
The last Englishman to win a US Open was Tony Jacklin in 1970 and the last to win a major Nick Faldo in 1996, but no one would be surprised if an Englishman’s name is engraved on the US Open trophy come Sunday night.
Current world number one Luke Donald is one of the favourites for the tournament, and rightly so. The man from High Wycombe was in imperious form as he strolled to victory at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, displaying in abundance the skills that have propelled him to the top of the world rankings.
Whilst Donald isn’t the longest on tour, he has improved his driving accuracy considerably of late. He is currently the 8th straightest on the PGA Tour and, perhaps more significantly, 3rd in strokes gained – putting. His remarkable consistency, coupled with improved driving and phenomenal putting and chipping (he leads the tour in scrambling), could see him lift his first US Open trophy on Sunday.
Fellow Englishman and world number two Lee Westwood has the perfect game for any US Open. He is the best ball striker in the world game, and leads both the PGA and European Tour in greens in regulation. If Westwood can find some form and a bit of luck with the short stick, he will be a force to be reckoned with.
Justin Rose is the third Englishman in the world’s top ten, rising to number six after his tie for second place at the BMW PGA. Along with Donald, he has turned into one of golf’s most consistent performers and, with four victories in the last 16 months, he is arguably the form player in world golf. He currently leads the European Tour Race to Dubai standings and is third in greens in regulation percentage on the PGA Tour. He is a streaky putter, but if he has a good week on the greens, he won’t be far away.
The potential for an english major winner at San Francisco’s Olympic club is in plain view; all that remains to be seen is how well Donald, Westwood and Rose deal with the pressure of being labelled as favourites for one of the biggest tournaments of the year.