The 2014 U.S. Open is just hours away from starting, but our experts are still deep in debate on who the winner at Pinehurst will be.
The course is ready, the players have prepared as best they can, and the second major of the year is upon us.
So who are we picking this week to take home the hardware? Check out what our experts think below.
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Toby Keel - Much as I'd love to see Phil Mickelson win a Major with FBI agents hiding behind every tree and beneath every patch of scrubland, sadly his form just doesn't suggest glory this week - remember, Lefty is a streaky player who has invariably won the week before his Major victories, so his record of 0 top 10s since Abu Dhabi at the start of the year doesn't look good. By contrast, Rory McIlroy's form has been irresistible for months - he's only been out of the top 10 three times in 15 tournaments stretching back to the HSBC last autumn. He's bookies' favourite for a good reason: the combination of big-hitting, wonderful short game, the advantage of there being no rough to speak of and his proven Major-winning mentality mean that this could well be his week.
Shane Bacon — A slight spoiler alert for you on Jason Day; this guy is going to win the U.S. Open at some point in his career. With just three starts at this major under his belt, Day has finished in second place twice already, and has a second and a third place finish at the Masters to boot. On top of that, he's played some great golf this year, winning the Accenture Match Play in late February and bouncing back from a tough start at the Masters to finish in the top-20. Day will have success at Pinehurst because he hits the ball as high with his irons as anyone on tour, a must on these greens, and I think he's poised and ready to take home another major for Australia.
Jay Busbee — It has to happen sometime, right? Matt Kuchar is too good, too close, too well positioned to go forever without a major. He had his chances in April at Augusta, even tying for the lead early on Sunday, but got swept up in the vortex of Bubba Golf. He's having another characteristically Kucharesque year -- a win, several top 10s -- which sets him up to be atop the leaderboard as this weekend begins. As it ends? Well, that's a different story.
Jay Hart — The one thing we know about Pinehurst is this: to win there, you have to be able to scramble around the convex greens. And when it comes to scrambling, Matt Kuchar is pretty good, ranking sixth on the PGA Tour this year. If he can be as good over the next four days, he has a great shot at winning his first career major.
Kevin Kaduk — We're looking at the most wide-open field in years, so why not go with a deep darkhorse on nothing but a hunch? The 25-year-old Rickie Fowler may have only two Tour wins to his neon-clad name, but he put together a good Masters finishing T-5. After a disappointing May, he bounced back with a T13 at St. Jude last weekend. Some might clown this pick since Fowler isn't carrying a lot of momentum and doesnt' have a win to his name in 2014. But you know who else hasn't had a stellar year? Phil Mickelson and you don't hear anyone clowning the experts picking him to complete his career slam, do you?
Now, who are you picking this week at Pinehurst? Let us know below!
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