The 120th US Open is fast approaching and the key question is the same one that everyone in the world of golf is asking: who do you choose to win at Winged Foot? With a stunning course featuring most of the world’s best golfers, the first major of the 2020-21 season is expected to be an epic race from the first round on Thursday.
Textures are plentiful this week. Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm are looking to continue their incredible game. Tiger Woods and especially Phil Mickelson hope to tap into the fountain of youth as Woods tries to conquer a field he has struggled to play in and Lefty again struggles towards the major loner he has escaped. We also have Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and a bevy of other golfers looking to point a claim to the first of the six majors we will see before the season ends.
So what’s going to happen this week in New York? Let’s take a look at a full set of predictions and picks from our CBS Sports experts. Check out a full set of odds via William Hill Sportsbook along with tee times for Thursday’s first round.
US Open 2020 Predictions and Predictions from Experts
Kyle Porter, golf writer
Winner – Jon Rahm (10-1): The two toughest golf tournaments of 2020 were both won by Rahm. He took the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village and the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields, both impressively against loaded fields. Those tournaments serve as facsimiles for this US Open, and Rahm has the short game to hold on even though he doesn’t have his best tee-to-green package at Winged Foot.
Sleeper – Adam Scott (50-1): Scotty has world-class short game and the iron game that Winged Foot requires. He hasn’t played as much as most of the other stars in this field, but his top 25 finish at TPC Harding Park a month ago was impressive as it was his first tournament in five months. He has finished in the top 20 in four of his last six US Open.
Top 10 lock – Dustin Johnson: I think it will fall a bit behind the warm-up it was on, but the warm-up was so hot that even if it falls back it will probably be in the top 10 somewhere. He finished in the top five in four of his last six US Open, including that win at Oakmont in 2016.
Star Who Definitely Won’t Win – Bryson DeChambeau: Her style won’t work this week. It will work a lot in the next 10-15 years and will win a lot of tournaments. But his short game is not where it needs to be and he won’t be able to decimate Winged Foot like he has on other PGA Tour routes.
The first 5 in order: Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed
Surprise prediction: Tiger Woods will miss the cut. Perhaps this isn’t surprising to some who have followed closely, but it will be for a wider audience that only tunes in to the major leagues. His play isn’t sharp and that’s not what it needs to be to fight at the US Open. He won’t miss the cut much, but he’ll be in play all week and eventually fall on the wrong side on Friday night.
Lowest Round: 67 (-3)
Winning Score: 285 (+5)
Winner’s Sunday Score: 72 (+2)
Chip Patterson, writer
Winner – Jon Rahm (10-1): For most of the PGA Tour season after the reboot, pro golf was a gold mine. Anyone who could warm up and roll away the most birdies would be in contention to win, and then Sunday’s absence of fans helped ease some of the pressure that came from those late afternoon tee times. But two tournaments stood out where the combination of course design and weekly tournament maintenance provided a unique challenge to the course: the Memorial and the BMW Championship. Rahm has won both events because he has a world-class form that separates him from the others facing a path that requires all the hits. Her well-rounded play and continued maturity as a star on this stage set her up perfectly to win her first major championship and keep this series hot through the fall.
Sleeper – Matthew Fitzpatrick (60-1): Applying the same system here, Fitzpatrick finished third at the Memorial and finished 6th at the BMW Championship, making him the only other player (with Rahm) to make the top 10 in both events. You’re also betting on championship history as the USGA hasn’t been the threat to Fitzpatrick as it is to some young stars. He made the cut in all five beginnings of his career at the US Open, was the low amateur in 2014, and took 12th place at Shinnecock Hills in 2018 and Pebble Beach in 2019.
Top 10 lock – Xander Schauffele: There are no holes in his game. Schauffele does not keep up with the distance of the bombers, is not so prepared that he strays from the field on approach shots and is known to occasionally struggle with his putter, yet the 26-year-old is in the top 10 in number. of shots earned from tee-to-green, the top 10 in shots earned in total and had seven top-10s in the season. And these are also the top 10 of the stage, finishing second in the Tour Championship, in 10th place at the PGA Championship and in 6th place at the WGC Memphis. Schauffele succeeds in the bigger stages of the game because he can hold out even when he doesn’t have his fastball, and that kind of resilience will be a key to Winged Foot.
Star Who Definitely Won’t Win – Justin Thomas: I like JT best in events where you will be able to go on a birdie string and not only is this not at the US Open in principle, but definitely not the case with Winged Foot. His best US Open finish was in 2017 in Erin Hills, when a record 31 players finished the tournament below par, making it to T9 after a roller coaster weekend with a scorching 63 on Saturday and then a 75 with correction. en route Sunday. He’s playing well enough that he can definitely finish in the top 10, but it’s not the right choice for him to be the winner.
The first 5 in order: Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson
Surprise prediction: Phil Mickelson flirts with the lead on Thursday. He’s too excited and loose after dominating his first Champions Tour start and spending all week talking about his 2006 choke, the huge bet on him to win and – oh yeah – the annual US Open and points of discussion of the grand slam. It’s his first US Open after turning 50, and I think he comes out with stellar stuff, sending the golf world into a frenzy. It will probably fade the background and may even lose the cut, but I think we will get some thrills from Phil on Thursday.
Lowest Round: 66 (-4)
Winning Score: 278 (-2)
Winner’s Sunday Score: 71 (+1)
Who will win the US Open and which long range shots will stun the world of golf? Visit SportsLine to see the projected leaderboard, everything from the model that nailed six golf majors (including Gary Woodland’s win last year) and has increased by over $ 8,000 since the reboot.
Kyle Boone, writer
Winner – Collin Morikawa (18-1): That’s right, back-to-back major for the rookie. He’s a monster with his irons and always plays with control, which will be crucial to success in what is sure to be a carnage-filled week at the Winged Foot. If he can shape his irons with salsa like he always does and get by on the greens, he’ll be in the mix to win his second straight championship after taking home the PGA championship last month.
Sleeper – Phil Mickelson (80-1): At some point, karma has to take Phil’s side, right? He finished second or T2 at the US Open on six different occasions throughout his career, some of which include some similar but not quite disturbing proportions. It seems the world owes him at least one – and there’s no better year to do it than this. He just turned 50 and has had some bright moments of late, including a Senior Tour victory and a T2 final at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Top 10 lock – Dustin Johnson: In general, I have less confidence in DJs than most golf stars, but I can’t fade it this week. He is coming out of a Tour Championship win and a FedEx Cup playoff win, and he finished T2 or better in four consecutive outings dating back to last month’s PGA. This is the best and most consistent DJ we’ve ever seen, and I expect him to continue with a top 10 finish this week.
Star Who Definitely Won’t Win – Rory McIlroy: Since winning the US Open historically in 2011, Rory hasn’t been able to regain the magic with four missed cuts in eight US Open outings in subsequent years. McIlroy has played well in his last two outings, but it’s hard to ignore how pedestrian his outings have been in the previous seven since the pandemic, six of which he finished outside the top 30.
The first 5 in order: Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele
Surprise prediction: Rahm holds the first place in the standings after at least two rounds. He’s an out-of-the-box artist and has a way of living up to the times when the going gets tough, which should work in his favor this week.
Lowest Round: 67 (-3)
Winning Score: 276 (-4)
Winner’s Sunday Score: 68 (-2)
Adam Silverstein, Deputy General Manager
Winner – Justin Thomas (14-1): After a huge effort at the majors in 2017-18, JT hasn’t been very successful in the last four events with no top 10 and a missed cut in his last four. Despite this, he played quite well at every stage of his game except the putter. He will absolutely be in contention at Winged Foot. The question is whether he can dismiss guys like DJ and Rahm. I’m not sure, but at 14-1 I’ll take one of the best players in the world.
Sleeper – Rickie Fowler (55-1): Look, I get it. Fowler always comes close but never gets the job done. He has achieved 11 top 10 in the majors in the past nine years and two in 2019 alone. He also played well recently but fell apart over the weekend. Here is the point. He will spend the first two days at the Winged Foot surrounded by other former Pokes as a trio from the state of Oklahoma consisting of Fowler, Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff will compete against each other. All three are among the top 50 golfers in the world. You know what? Wolf (60-1) is also a nice long shot. I love that one of these three guys is in the top 10 on the weekend, which puts them in contention for the entire US Open.
Top 10 lock – Dustin Johnson (17/2): DJ is not someone I would normally consider a lock for nothing, but considering the way he sounds, thinking he won’t be competing for the US Open would be silly. You can also enter Rahm here. My normal “lock” in this space is McIlroy, the king of the top 10 backdoors, but he’s not at the top of his game right now.
Star Who Definitely Won’t Win – Tiger Woods: I am convinced that Tiger has more majors to win, but he will not take Winged Foot. Woods hasn’t finished better than T21 at the US Open since 2010. It’s been a decade. Outside of his Masters win, which is nothing to worry about, he has finished no better than T21 in his last four majors, missing two cuts. He is the biggest star out there and he is definitely not going to win this week.
The first 5 in order: Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Dustin JOhnson
Surprise prediction: Phil Mickelson is vying to enter Moving Day. Lefty knows what it takes to win at the Winged Foot (despite not having done so in 2006) and has many internal and external motivations to exorcise his demons and not just to win the US Open. but do it in this course. He will not. But can he play well and be a handful of shots ahead in the first two rounds? You bet.
Lowest Round: 67 (-3)
Winning Score: 282 (+2)
Winner’s Sunday Score: 70 (E)