Shinnecock Hills 2018 U.S. Open - Predictions & Picks

Who will win the 2018 U.S. Open golf championship at Shinnecock Hills? Our research staff provides previews and predictions. The 2018 U.S. Open is scheduled for June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills in New York.


The Favorites

Dustin Johnson
Best Result: Win (2016)
Outlook: The world no. 1 player seems to have an affinity for U.S. Open courses. Excluding last year's uncharacteristic missed cut, Johnson has been a regular contender at this event. 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. Johnson comes to Shinnecock Hills with plenty of momentum. The South Carolina native romped to a 6-stroke victory at last week's St. Jude Classic.

Jason Day
Best Result: 2nd (2011, 2013)
Outlook: Along with Mickelson, Day is the best player without a U.S. Open title. In his seven career starts at the year's second major, he finished in the top 10 five times (for a 71% success rate) and was twice the runner-up. This is an astounding record for arguably the toughest major to achieve consistency. Day's recent play is close to the form that enabled him to win a PGA Championship and become the top-ranked player. He already won twice this year -- both of which were on major-caliber courses. There is no reason to believe he won't be a factor come Sunday.

Justin Rose
Best Result: Win (2013)
Outlook: Rose's game is made for the majors. He has length off the tee, possesses a fabulous short game and putts reasonably well. If not for some poor breaks here and there, the Englishman could have already been a multiple major champion. Rose is in his peak form right now with a win and a T6 in his last two starts. His strong scrambling skills will be key on U.S. Open's demanding course setup.

The Contenders

Justin Thomas
Best Result: T9 (2017)
Outlook: Aside from his victory at last year's PGA Championship, Thomas only has one other top 10 in ten major appearances. Needless to say, his overall majors record is rather spotty. His biggest issue has been putting on firm and fast greens. In fact, most of his victories have come on moderate to slow greens. Shinnecock Hills is expected to play firm and fast, which should challenge the world no. 2 player. Yet, Thomas is as confident as he has ever been and that is most important to a golfer.

Rory McIlroy
Best Result: Win (2011)
Outlook: In a normal time, McIlroy would have been a big favorite to win at Shinnecock 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 ending a mini-slump with an emphatic victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his game is still too inconsistent. In some rounds, he looks unbeatable. In other rounds, he would struggle to shoot par. This inconsistency is not a good fit for the U.S. Open, where a normal 73 or 74 can quickly become a 79 or 80. Still, McIlroy is a 4-time major champion. When his game is on, he has the ability to overpower any golf course.

Jordan Spieth
Best Result: Win (2015)
Outlook: On the surface, Shinnecock Hills does not seem to be a good fit for Spieth's game. It's a long and tight course that favors bombers like Johnson and McIlroy. 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 three-time major champion always seems to have a good game plan and execute it to perfection. We are more concerned with his poor putting this season. Spieth currently ranks 190th in SG Putting, which could be a disaster on Shinnecock Hills' firm and fast greens.

Rickie Fowler
Best Result: T2 (2014)
Outlook: Fowler has become a force to be reckoned with at the majors. At 29, he has already finished in the top 5 eight times including a runner-up at this year's Masters. However, he does have his drawbacks. When you least expect of him, he tend to vastly overperform. When you most expect of him, he tends to underperform. Based on his stellar record at the majors, however, we believe he will contend this week.

Players to Watch

Tiger Woods
Best Results: Win (2000, 2002, 2008)
Outlook: The 14-time major champion has been a real revelation this season. In a short time, the headline has changed from "Tiger is back" to "Tiger could win again". Indeed, Woods has recorded five top-25 finishes this season providing fans lots to cheer about. Could he win at Shinnecock Hills? We think he is still a couple of starts away from being back to his winning way. But then again, Tiger did win a U.S. Open on a broken leg so it is hard to discount him.

Brooks Koepka
Best Result: Win (2017)
Outlook: Koepka drives the ball a long way with good accuracy. His iron game is excellent and his putting is underrated. All the years playing on the European Tour allowed him to accustom to different conditions and course setups, and it has paid off. The American star enjoyed a superb season at the majors last year. He won the U.S. Open, contended at the Open and finished T11 at the Masters. Although Koepka is playing his way back from a wrist injury, his game has already shown signs of form recovery. He was second at Colonial and finished well in the other tournaments.

Hideki Matsuyama
Best Result: T2 (2017)
Outlook: The Japanese star has not recorded a top 10 since the Tournament of Champions, but the signs are pointing to him returning to peak form sooner rather than later. He shot a 63 at the Byron Nelson and a 65 at the Memorial. Even though he didn't fare too well in the other rounds, this shows his game is starting to click. We all know how good he can be when he plays well. Is this the week Matsuyama will return to form?

Dark Horses

Patrick Cantlay
Best Result: T21 (2011)
Outlook: Cantlay is one of the young stars who will be competing for major titles for at least the next decade. He was the low amateur at the U.S. Open back in 2011, so he certainly has the game to succeed on the demanding layout. The former top amateur is enjoying his best season yet with a win and several strong finishes. It will be interesting to see how he fares in his third major appearance as a pro.

Paul Casey
Best Result: T10 (2007)
Outlook: Paul Casey is perhaps the most underachieved player in recent time. With his talent, he should have won many more titles. But he is still an extremely talented player who has the game to do well on major-caliber golf courses. Casey won for only the second time on the PGA Tour this past March. Perhaps, this is the catalyst that will propel him to success at the U.S. Open as well as future majors.

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