Erin Hills 2017 U.S. Open - Predictions

Who will win the 2017 U.S. Open golf championship? Our research staff provides previews and predictions. The 2017 U.S. Open is scheduled for June 15-18 at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.


The Favorites 

Dustin Johnson
Best Result: Win (2016)
Driving Distance: 1st
Scrambling: 41st
Outlook: The world no. 1 player seems to have an affinity for U.S. Open courses. Johnson won last year's title and nearly won the year before that. The main reason behind his excellent record is the fact he is both long and accurate off the tee. This allows him to avoid the biggest hazard on a U.S. Open course -- the severely penal rough. With Erin Hills expected to be the longest course in the tournament's history, Johnson will have a big advantage over most of the players in the field. Although he missed the cut in his last start, that was just one blip in an otherwise fantastic season. We expect him to bounce back and contend at Erin Hills.

Sergio Garcia
Best Result: T3 (2005)
Driving Distance: 29th
Scrambling: 27th
Outlook: The newly crowned Masters champion will look to add a U.S. Open title to his stellar resume. The Spaniard certainly has the length and short game to perform well at Erin Hills. Most importantly, his win at the Augusta National enabled him to overcome a key psychological barrier. Phil Mickelson was in a similar situation in 2003 when he finally broke through; he went on to win four more majors. We would be very surprised if he does poorly here.

The Contenders 

Jason Day
Best Result: 2nd (2011, 2013)
Driving Distance: 32nd
Scrambling: 69th
Outlook: Along with Mickelson, Day is the best player without a U.S. Open title. In his six career starts at the year's second major, he finished in the top 10 five times (for an 83% success rate) and was twice the runner-up. This is an astounding record for arguably the toughest major to achieve consistency. If his form this season had been more consistent, he would have been among the top favorites for the title. Still, Day has been playing better of late with a runner-up finish at the Byron Nelson and a T15 at the Memorial. The key for him will be his putting which has been uncharacteristically shaky in the first half of the season.

Jon Rahm
Best Result: T23 (2016)
Driving Distance: 13th
Scrambling: 19th
Outlook: Rahm made his U.S Open debut last summer, winning top amateur honors. He will look to improve on that and win the title on his professional debut. Rahm and Erin Hills appear to be a good match. The wide fairways and generous greens really suit his powerful driving game. Also, Rahm is a highly underrated scrambler. You don't win at Torrey Pines and contend at the Augusta National without excellent scrambling skills. The only question mark is how well the first-year pro will be able to cope with the pressure of a major. He failed the test at the Masters with a poor final round to drop out of contention.

Rory McIlroy
Best Result: Win (2011)
Outlook: In a normal time, McIlroy would have been a big favorite to win at Erin Hills. Very few players can drive the ball as long and with good accuracy as he can. Even fewer players could make the type of shots he makes on a consistent basis. It's an absolute thrill to just watch him hit the ball. But this is not a normal time. Despite his insistence that he is ready for the Open, there are still many question marks. Is his injury fully healed? How rusty is his game after not playing for nearly two months? Considering his current condition, it is certainly risky to pick him but is probably one worth taking.

Jordan Spieth
Best Result: Win (2015)
Driving Distance: 86th
Scrambling: 124th
Outlook: On the surface, Erin Hills does not seem to be a good fit for Spieth's game. It's a very long course that favors big bombers like Johnson and Rahm. However, we have seen this script before. Chambers Bay was a very long course too but it didn't stop Spieth from winning. Indeed, the two-time major champion always seems to have a good game plan and execute it to perfection. We are more concerned with his inability to scramble out of tough spots this season. He currently ranks 124th in scrambling and 40th in putting.

Justin Rose
Best Result: Win (2013)
Driving Distance: 27th
Scrambling: 108th
Outlook: Rose's game is made for the majors. He has length of the tee, possesses a fabulous short game and putts reasonably well. If not for Sergio Garcia, he could have been a multiple major champion. There is no reason to believe he won't do well at Erin Hills.

Players to Watch 

Louis Oosthuizen
Best Result: T2 (2015)
Driving Distance: 69th
Scrambling: 18th
Outlook: Oosthuizen has not won much on the PGA Tour but is always a potent threat at the majors. He was a runner-up at Chambers Bay -- a course that shares similarities with Erin Hills. He was an Open champion, so a windy U.S. Open is right up his alley. However, there's a reason why Oosthuizen has not won on tour since his Open victory. He rarely holds a lead at a tournament. No matter how good a player is it's hard to win if you always have to play from behind.

Jason Dufner
Best Result: T4 (2012, 2013)
Driving Distance: 92nd
Scrambling: 99th
Outlook: The former PGA Championship winner has been playing some outstanding golf lately. His win at the Memorial may be an exclamation point, but he was playing well even before that. He led the Heritage for a good part of the final round until a bad finish put him out the title. He also had chances to win at the Byron Nelson. It is always a good idea to pick someone who is playing well. Form can be a great equalizer for course compatibility.

Rickie Fowler
Best Result: T2 (2014)
Driving Distance: 33rd
Scrambling: 22nd
Outlook: Fowler has always been an unpredictable player. When you least expect of him, he plays well and contends. When you most expect of him, he plays poorly and misses the cut. Although 2017 has been his most consistent season yet, this is still something to be wary of. In term of course compatibility, Fowler has everything needed to perform well at Erin Hills. He is long off the tee and his scrambling skills have improved considerably.

Justin Thomas
Best Result: T32 (2016)
Driving Distance: 11th
Scrambling: 117th
Outlook: Thomas is one of the players who theoretically should do well at Erin Hills. His length off the tee is an advantage on a 7700-yard course with really wide fairways. However, Thomas' record at the majors has not been very good. In seven career starts, he has no top-10 finish. Granted he only has seven starts, other star players in his age range have done much more in a similar span. One of the reasons could be the fact he does not scramble well. Currently, he currently ranks 117th in scrambling despite winning three titles this year.

Hideki Matsuyama
Best Result: T10 (2013)
Driving Distance: 21st
Scrambling: 25th
Outlook: People love to have Matsuyama in their fantasy teams and it is for a good reason. He does well in every aspect except for putting, and he always performs strongly at the majors. In 18 career starts, he finished in the top 25 nine times and in the top 10 five times. Matsuyama's biggest issue in his current slump of form is actually his ball striking, which is surprising considering it is usually the best part of his game. However, this is something that can be corrected. If he could get his iron game back to where it was at the beginning of the season, we expect another Matsuyama-like performance from the Japanese star.

The Wild Cards 

Alexander Noren
Best Result: T51 (2011)
Outlook: American fans may not know much about him, but Noren is one of the European Tour's top stars. Since last year's U.S. Open, the Swede has won five times including the prestigious BMW PGA Championship three weeks ago. He does have the length to do well at Erin Hills and also has a penchant to go really low. Because he rarely plays in the States, his record at the majors is underwhelming. However, Noren is playing the best golf of his career and will have an opportunity to change that.

Brooks Koepka
Best Result: T4 (2014)
Driving Distance: 5th
Scrambling: 181st
Outlook: Koepka is one of the so called big bombers on tour, averaging nearly 308 yards off the tee. He will need every bit of his length, because he does not hit a lot of greens and generally does not scramble well. Koepka is similar to Fowler in that his good week is really good and his off week is really bad. Surprisingly, his record at the U.S. Open is very solid. He has three top-20s in four attempts.

Thomas Pieters
Best Result: Debut
Outlook: Erin Hills is the best venue for Pieters to make his tournament debut. The Belgian is one of the biggest drivers of the ball and he will be out to impress on the longest U.S. Open course in history. Not only he is long off the tee, he also possesses a fantastic iron game. We saw a lot of these at the Masters earlier this year, where he upstaged another young star in Jon Rahm to finish T4 on his Augusta National debut. We could see something similar at the U.S. Open.


Winner: Dustin Johnson. Every time we pick Johnson this season, he either withdraws or misses the cut. This is the same season in which he won three times and reached no. 1. Everyone here calls it DJ's Curse. However, we will hold our breath and pick him again because his game matches this course and this tournament so well to ignore. In his last three starts at the U.S. Open, he has a win, a runner-up and a T4. The no. 1 player in driving distance will be playing the longest course in the tournament's history, and one that features some of the widest fairways we have seen at a major. Two years ago, Johnson nearly won at Chambers Bay -- a course that shares similarities with Erin Hills. He did miss the cut in his last PGA Tour start, but had three titles and four other top-15 finishes before that. If he withdraws or misses the cut again, DJ's Curse would be the only plausible explanation.

Top 10 Finish: Jason Day. The former world no. 1 player is finding his form just in time for his favorite tournament. Day finished runner-up at the Byron Nelson and followed it up with a T15 at the Memorial. He will be playing a tournament where he has five top-10 finishes in six career starts including two runner-ups. Along with Phil Mickelson, he is the best player without a U.S. Open title.

Top 25 Finish: Thomas Pieters. Erin Hills is the best venue for the big Belgian to make his tournament debut. He is one of longest drivers of the ball and his iron game is fantastic. Pieters has played sparingly on the PGA Tour this season, but has recorded top-5 finishes at the Genesis Open, WGC Mexico and the Masters -- all of which are on highly regarded courses.

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