Since the turn of the millennium, there have only been five US victories in the US Open, three of them coming from Tiger Woods. Historically, players from outside Europe and north America have faired well at the second major of the year, and 2012 should be no exception.
Retief Goosen won in 2001 and 2004; Michael Campbell in 2005; Geoff Ogilvy in 2006 and Angel Cabrera in 2007. This year, there are a whole host of viable candidates looking to make it six rest of world victories in the last 12 years.
The highest ranked rest of world golfer (14) is 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, with 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen in 15th. Both players have major pedigree, and will be looking to extend the tradition of South African success at the US Open.
Schwartzel has a sumptuous swing and is one of the most consistent performers in the game. He has struggled with the putter of late, but should be confident after a top-20 at last week’s Memorial Tournament and buoyed by previous experiences in major championships.
The same applies to compatriot Oosthuizen. Despite missing three out of his last four cuts in America, he has two top-three finishes on the PGA Tour this season, and will be raring to go after missing out to Bubba Watson in a play-off at the Masters.
The Australian contingent should also feature this year. Adam Scott has played relatively little golf in 2012, but has made six out of seven cuts this season, recording four top 25 finishes and a top 10 at the Masters. When he is on form his driving is exemplary, and he has transformed his putting since switching to the long putter.
Jason Day is another tenacious competitor who has been in contention multiple times in major championships. He has five top 25s and two top 10s this season on the PGA Tour and a second place finish to his name at the Qatar Masters on the European Tour. His big hitting (6th in PGA Tour driving distance) will be of enormous benefit on an extremely long golf course, as will his fighting spirit and desire.
There are many others that warrant deliberation, such as in-from Ernie Els, Korean duo Y.E. Yang and K.J. Choi and Angel Cabrera, but such is the strength of the rest of world contingent there simply isn’t space to cover everyone. Expect a strong showing from the rest of world golfers at San Francisco’s Olympic Club this week.