Who can and cannot win the 2022 U.S. Open

Sports

BROOKLINE, Mass. — We interrupt the ongoing drama of who has left the PGA Tour — and who might still be going to the LIV Golf Invitational Series — for the 122nd U.S. Open, the third major championship of the season.

With two golf worlds colliding at The Country Club this week, the U.S. Open trophy is up for grabs at one of the oldest golf courses in the United States. It is the first time since 1988 that the club founded outside of Boston in 1882 has hosted the U.S. Open.

Golf’s best players, including two-time major champion Collin Morikawa, are hoping to put the drama aside for four days this week.

“We’re here at major championship, and we’re here to win the U.S. Open, and we’re here to play and beat everyone else in this field, in this great field,” Morikawa said. “That’s what it’s about.”

Who can win the U.S. Open this week? Here at the contenders, dark horses, long shots and those with no chance:

Jump to a section:
Guys who can win | If everything goes right | Miracles happen
| Happy to make the cut |
Qualifiers | Amateurs

Tier I: The guys who can win

Here are the legitimate contenders to win the U.S. Open. They have the game, guts and nerves to handle four pressure-packed rounds on a setup that is traditionally the most difficult among the majors.

Scottie Scheffler
After an epic heater that included four wins, among them a victory at the Masters, the world No. 1 has cooled off a tad. He missed the cut at the PGA Championship and lost in a playoff at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Jon Rahm
Rahm, who won his first major at the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, has been out of sorts since winning the Mexico Open in May. He has been great from tee to green, but his work on and around the green has been too inconsistent.

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy, a four-time major champion, hopes to do what Justin Thomas did at Southern Hills last month at the PGA Championship when JT ended his major drought. McIlroy enters this one having gone eight years since his last one. He squandered a good chance to win at the PGA Championship.

Xander Schauffele
Schauffele has nine career top-10 finishes in majors, but missed the cut at Augusta National and tied for 13th at Southern Hills. Still, his performance at the U.S. Open has been remarkable, with five top-10s in as many starts, including a tie for seventh last year.

Justin Thomas
JT finally claimed his second major with a victory at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills. Now that the five-year drought is over, will it open up the floodgates to more?

Cameron Smith
He might very well be the best player without a major championship victory, given how well he has performed this season. Smith, from Australia, prefers courses where he can light it up with birdies, so this might not be his best chance to get it done.

Will Zalatoris
No one has gained more strokes per round (2.54) in majors than Zalatoris since 2020, according to Justin Ray of Twenty First Group. That’s why he has five top-10s in seven starts in majors as a pro. If Zalatoris ever figures out the flat stick, he’ll start winning them, too.

Collin Morikawa
Morikawa’s recent form hasn’t been great — his best finish in his past five starts was a tie for 26th at the RBC Heritage and he missed the cut at the Memorial. But the two-time major champion’s ball-striking is good enough to get him in contention at any major.

Jordan Spieth
The 2015 U.S. Open winner didn’t play great in the first two majors, missing the cut at the Masters and tying for 34th at the PGA Championship. Still, he won the RBC Heritage and finished second at AT&T Byron Nelson

Dustin Johnson
DJ will be under the spotlight at The Country Club, as he was the highest-ranked player to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. He won the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont and has six top-10s in 14 starts in the event.

Viktor Hovland
Hovland is ranked eighth in the world and already has won three times on tour. That’s pretty remarkable considering that he’s 202nd in shots gained around the green and 159th in sand save percentage. Can someone please give him Tom Watson‘s number?

Patrick Cantlay
Cantlay, the defending FedEx Cup champion, has been trending in the wrong direction in majors. He tied for 39th at the Masters and missed the cut at the PGA Championship. He hasn’t had a top-10 finish at a major since tying for third at the 2019 PGA Championship.

Matt Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick is trending in the right direction at majors with a tie for 14th at Augusta National and a tie for fifth at Southern Hills. As an 18-year-old, he won the 2013 U.S. Amateur at The Country Club and became the first player from England since 1911 to hoist the Havemeyer Trophy.

Hideki Matsuyama
The 2021 Masters champion has two victories this season, but he has been slowed by back and neck injuries the past few months. Then he was disqualified from the Memorial for having an illegal substance on the face of his 3-wood.

Sam Burns
Burns has figured out how to close out victories, beating Scheffler in a playoff at the Charles Schwab Challenge and Davis Riley in a playoff at the Valspar Championship before that. He’s still looking for his first top-10 at a major.

Tier II: If everything goes right

Here are the sleeper candidates to lift the U.S. Open trophy on Sunday. The list includes former winners, rising stars and other players whose games have been works-in-progress this season. Will it all come together at The Country Club?

Cameron Young
Young’s length off the tee (he averages 317.1 yards) will be at a premium at The Country Club. The PGA Tour rookie doesn’t have a victory yet, but he has a whopping eight top-25s in 18 starts. He’ll try to forget about his final-round 84 at the Memorial.

Brooks Koepka
A newly married man, Koepka will look to turn things around on the course. The two-time U.S. Open champion missed the cut at the Masters and tied for 55th at the PGA Championship.

Shane Lowry
Lowry tied for second at the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, but hasn’t had a top-25 since then. The Irishman tied for third at the Masters, his best career finish.

Joaquin Niemann
A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, including a wire-to-wire victory at the Genesis in February, Niemann is a budding star. He is still looking for his first top-10 at a major.

Max Homa
Homa’s Twitter account is still superb. See his reaction to Phil Mickelson leaving for LIV Golf.

His golf game is on point, too. He missed the cut in his first two U.S. Open starts as a pro.

Tony Finau
With a tie for second at the Mexico Open, tie for fourth at the Charles Schwab Challenge and a solo second at the RBC Canadian Open, Finau believes his game has turned around. He has 10 top-10 finishes in majors.

Abraham Ancer
Ancer seems to be creeping his way into becoming a major contender. He posted back-to-back top-10s at the PGA Championship.

Mito Pereira
Pereira’s meltdown on the 72nd hole at the PGA Championship was painful to watch, but his game is built to last on tour.

Sungjae Im
He has two top-10 finishes at the Masters, but the native of South Korea hasn’t done much else in the majors.

Tyrrell Hatton
He has made just two cuts in five starts in the U.S. Open, but he did tie for sixth at Shinnecock Hills in 2018. He said he doesn’t like Augusta National and slammed the setup at Southern Hills. Will he like The Country Club?

Davis Riley
The PGA Tour rookie qualified by posting the low score, 12 under, at a U.S. Open qualifier in Columbus, Ohio.

Adam Scott
Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, is one of seven Australians in the U.S. Open field.

Webb Simpson
In just his second U.S. Open start a decade ago, Simpson won at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, beating Graeme McDowell and Michael Thompson by a stroke.

Daniel Berger
After a so-so two-month stretch, also because of a back injury, Berger is starting to turn things around. He tied for fifth at the Memorial.

Louis Oosthuizen
Oosthuizen, 39, doesn’t seem as interested in winning golf tournaments as much as he once did. He withdrew from the Masters because of a neck injury and tied for 60th at the PGA Championship.

Billy Horschel
With his victory at the Memorial, Horschel moved to 11th in the Official World Golf Ranking, the highest ranking of his career. His highest finish at the U.S. Open was a tie for fourth in his first start in 2013.

Brian Harman
Harman ranks 180th in driving distance, averaging 288.3 yards. Five years ago, at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, which played to a record 7,741 yards, he tied for second, 4 shots behind Koepka.

Corey Conners
Despite being one of the better ball-strikers on tour, Conners hasn’t made the cut in three U.S. Open starts.

Russell Henley
Henley had the co-lead in each of the first three rounds at Torrey Pines in last year’s U.S. Open. He shot 5-over 76 in the final round and finished tied for 13th.

Aaron Wise
Wise earned an exemption by finishing solo second at the Memorial, which moved him to 44th in the world ranking.

Branden Grace
Grace, who also played in the London event, tied for seventh at Torrey Pines last year, the native of South Africa’s third top-10 in the U.S. Open since 2015.

Kevin Na
Na, who is known for walking in his putts, walked away from the PGA Tour last week. He was the first player to resign from the PGA Tour to play for LIV Golf.

Bryson DeChambeau
DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open winner, started his road back from left hand surgery with a missed cut at the Memorial.

Seamus Power
With a tie for ninth at the PGA Championship, he secured spots in the U.S. Open and The Open.

Tom Hoge
Hoge, who picked up his first win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February, tied for ninth at the PGA Championship. It was his first top-10 finish in a major.

Patrick Reed
Reed tied for 35th at the Masters and tied for 34th at the PGA Championship. What are the odds he ties for 33rd at The Country Club?

Guido Migliozzi
The 25-year-old from Italy finished tied for fourth at Torrey Pines, his first start in the U.S. Open.

Gary Woodland
Woodland won the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. It was his only top-10 in 11 starts.

Talor Gooch
Gooch, who picked up his first PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic in late November, was one of the biggest surprises among players who jumped to LIV Golf because he had just started gaining momentum on the tour.

Kevin Kisner
Kisner was red-hot in March, but cooled off considerably by missing the cut in three straight starts in May.

Marc Leishman
He hasn’t had a top-10 since tying for 10th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January.

Luke List
List, who won for the first time at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January, is 0-for-5 on making the cut at the U.S. Open.

Justin Rose
Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open winner, has two top-10s in 13 tour starts this season and came within a shot of golf’s magic number, shooting 60 in the final round in Canada.

Harold Varner III
HV3 is seeking his first made cut at the U.S. Open.

Tier III: Hey, miracles happen

They are the long shots. This tier includes a handful of aging former major champions and PGA Tour regulars.

Phil Mickelson
Mickelson needs a U.S. Open victory to complete the career Grand Slam. He’ll try to do it in his 31st start in the event.

Tommy Fleetwood
Lucas Herbert

Harris English
After nearly a five-month layoff because of hip surgery, English returned two weeks ago and missed the cut at the Memorial.

Sepp Straka

Keegan Bradley
The 2011 PGA Championship winner hasn’t fared as well in the U.S. Open, missing the cut in four of his past five starts.

Sergio Garcia
Garcia was a Ryder Cup rookie in 1999, when the Europeans lost to the Americans, 14½ to 13½, at The Country Club. Garcia earned 3½ points, tied with three others for most on the European team.

Jason Kokrak

Stewart Cink
Cink hasn’t finished in the top 40 in the U.S. Open since a tie for 27th in 2009.

Richard Bland
Denny McCarthy
Min Woo Lee

Francesco Molinari
After a difficult three-year stretch, he might be starting to see the light again. The native of Italy tied for 17th at the AT&T Byron Nelson and tied for 26th at the Memorial.

Thomas Pieters
Erik van Rooyen
Alex Noren

Sam Horsfield
The 25-year-old from England has won three times on the DP World Tour since August 2020 to climb to 75th in the world ranking.

Sebastian Munoz
Mackenzie Hughes
Si Woo Kim
Cameron Tringale
Patrick Rodgers
Adri Arnaus
Nick Taylor

Tier IV: Happy to make the cut

They aren’t expected to be among the contenders unless something wild happens.

James Piot
Piot, the 2021 U.S. Amateur champion, turned pro in May after his final season at Michigan State. He played in the first LIV Golf event in London.

Lanto Griffin
Kurt Kitayama
Troy Merritt
Beau Hossler
Adam Schenk

Thorbjorn Olesen
The former European Ryder Cup player, who was found not guilty on charges of sexual assault, being drunk on an aircraft and assault during a flight in August 2019, won the British Masters in May, his first victory in nearly four years.

Scott Stallings
Joel Dahmen
Shaun Norris
Danny Lee

Roger Sloan
Sloan, who has made 118 PGA Tour starts, is from Alberta and played at UTEP. But he is a big Red Sox fan, so should feel at home in Brookline in his first major start.

Kevin Chappell
Andrew Putnam
Wyndham Clark
Bo Hoag
Hayden Buckley

Joseph Bramlett
Bramlett, who played at Stanford, was the youngest player to ever qualify for the men’s U.S. Open, at 14, in 2002.

Matthew NeSmith
Victor Perez
Brian Stuard

Grayson Murray
If only Murray’s clubs spoke as loudly as his fingers do on Twitter. He took more jabs at Kevin Na after he left for LIV Golf.

Jim Furyk
Wil Besseling
K.H. Lee

Kalle Samooja
Samooja, from Finland, shot a final-round 64 to pick up his first DP World Tour win at the Porsche European Open.

Andrew Novak
Ryan Fox
Joohyung Kim
Richard Mansell

Satoshi Kodaira
Kodaira has won seven times on the Japan Golf Tour and once on the PGA Tour, at the 2018 RBC Heritage. This will be his 11th start in a major.

Yannik Paul
Jonas Blixt
Chan Kim
Chase Seiffert
Callum Tarren

Jed Morgan
The 22-year-old is drawing comparisons to fellow Australian Cameron Smith — because of his game and his wavy mullet. He won the Australian PGA Championship by a record 11 strokes in January.

Marcel Schneider
Sebastian Soderberg

Tier V: The qualifiers

Here are the remaining players among the 66 who aren’t PGA Tour regulars. They went through local and final qualifying to grab spots in the field. The last qualifier to win the U.S. Open was Lucas Glover in 2009.

Erik Barnes
Barnes stocked shelves at a grocery store during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. He’s now seventh on the Korn Ferry Tour The 25 with 10 top-25s in 14 starts.

Andrew Beckler
Brady Calkins
Sean Crocker
MJ Daffue
Luke Gannon
Ryan Gerard

Chris Gotterup
Gotterup transferred from Rutgers to Oklahoma and won the Haskins Award and Jack Nicklaus Award as the national player of the year.

Keith Greene
Harry Hall
Rikuya Hoshino
Daijiro Izumida

Sean Jacklin
Jacklin, the son of 1970 U.S. Open winner Tony Jacklin, was the last player in a U.S. Open qualifier as an alternate and shared medalist honors.

Jinichiro Kozuma
Brandon Matthews
Matt McCarty
Taylor Montgomery

Jesse Mueller
Mueller, a volunteer assistant coach at Grand Canyon University, is playing in his second straight major. He made an eagle on his first hole at the PGA Championship — but missed the cut.

Chris Naegel

Fran Quinn
Quinn, 57, will be the oldest player to compete in the U.S. Open since Kenny Perry, also 57, in 2018. A four-time Korn Ferry Tour winner, Quinn is making his fifth start in the U.S. Open.

Isaiah Salinda
Davis Shore
Ben Silverman
Todd Sinnott
Sam Stevens
Tomoyasu Sugiyama

Tier VI: The amateurs

Here are the amateur players who will attempt to do what stars such as Cantlay, Mickelson, Rahm and Spieth and so many others did at the U.S. Open before turning pro — winning a medal as low amateur.

Sam Bennett

Adrien Dumont de Chassart
The former Illinois star, who is from Belgium, was a two-time Big Ten Golfer of the Year.

Nicholas Dunlap
Fred Biondi

Austin Greaser
The North Carolina junior qualified for the U.S. Open by finishing second in the 2021 U.S. Amateur.

Stewart Hagestad
Ben Lorenz
Caleb Manuel
Maxwell Moldovan

William Mouw
The Pepperdine star is the son of a former professional golfer and grew up on a farm with 35,000 chickens in Chino, California.

Keita Nakajima
Nakajima, from Japan, is the No. 1-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He tied for 28th at the Zozo Championship and was 41st at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Charles Reiter
Laird Shepherd

Michael Thorbjornsen
The Stanford star, who is from nearby Wellesley, Massachusetts, became the second-youngest player since World War II to make the cut at the U.S. Open at age 17 in 2019.

Travis Vick

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