U.S. Open: Players to Watch


The top three in golf's world rankings - Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIroy - have shared five of the last seven major championships and will unsurprisingly start as the favourites for this week's U.S. Open.

However, after Danny Willett capitalised on Spieth's back-nine woes to claim a shock win at the Masters in April, we take a look at some potential contenders at Oakmont from outside of the 'Big Three'


Hideki Matsuyama (world ranking: 15)

Now firmly established among the leading players on the PGA Tour, Matsuyama has been tipped by many to become Japan's first male major winner.

Although he missed the cut last time out at the Memorial Tournament, the 24-year-old came into that event on the back of five successive top-20 finishes, having also claimed his second PGA Tour title in February at the Phoenix Open.

A superb ball striker, Matsuyama has already been inside the top 10 at four majors and could be ready to take the next step on Sunday.


Dustin Johnson (world ranking: 6)

How much more heartbreak can one man suffer? Johnson seems to be in contention in the closing stages of every major, only to fail to get over the line.

A three-putt on the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay 12 months ago saw Johnson finish a shot behind champion Spieth.

Having tied for fourth and second in his last two U.S. Open appearances, Johnson arrives at Oakmont in fine form, with five top-five finishes in his last seven starts.


Sergio Garcia (world ranking: 13)

Like Johnson, Garcia has broken the hearts of many fans with nail-biting collapses down the stretch in majors.

Still without a major title, having once proclaimed he is simply not good enough to win one, the Spaniard enjoyed a drought-breaking triumph at last month's Byron Nelson Classic - his first PGA Tour success since 2012.

Few would begrudge Garcia one of golf's premier prizes should he claim a second win in succession this week.


Phil Mickelson (world ranking: 17)

A U.S. Open runner-up on a remarkable six occasions, most recently in 2013, Mickelson celebrates his 46th birthday on Thursday and will know he is running out of time to complete a career grand slam.

Tied second at the St Jude Classic last week, 'Lefty' has five top-10s and four missed cuts to his name this season, making it hard to predict his performance at Oakmont.

Yet if he finds his best form, he can surely challenge once again.


Brooks Koepka (world ranking: 16)

Beaten in a play-off by Garcia at the Byron Nelson, Koepka appears to be rounding into form at just the right time.

His runner-up finish at TPC Four Seasons was followed by another at the St Jude Classic, alongside Mickelson and Steve Stricker.

Koepka has also exhibited potential in majors, finishing fourth in the 2014 U.S. Open before registering top-10 finishes at The Open and US PGA Championship last year.