US Open Golf: The 120th U.S. Open is fast approaching with the key question being the same one everyone is asking across the golf world: Who are you picking to win at Winged Foot? With a tremendous field featuring most of the best golfers in the world, the first major of the 2020-21 season should be an epic ride from Thursday’s first round onward.
The storylines are plentiful this week. Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm are looking to continue their incredible play. Tiger Woods and especially Phil Mickelson are hoping to tap into the fountain of youth as Woods seeks to conquer a course he’s struggled playing and Lefty again efforts toward the lone major that has eluded him. We also have Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and a bevy of other star golfers looking to stake a claim at the first of six majors we will see before the season is out.
So what is going to happen later 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 the tee times for Thursday’s first round.
2020 U.S. Open expert picks, predictions
Kyle Porter, golf writer
Winner — Jon Rahm (10-1): The two toughest golf tournaments of 2020 have both been 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 U.S. Open, and Rahm has the short game to stand up even if he doesn’t have his best tee-to-green package at Winged Foot.
Sleeper — Adam Scott (50-1): Scotty has a world-class short game and the iron play Winged Foot demands. He has not 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 given that it was his first tournament in five months. He’s finished in the top 20 in four of his last six U.S. Opens.
Top 10 lock — Dustin Johnson: I think he’ll fall back a bit from the heater he’s been on, but the heater has been so hot that even if he falls back it will likely be into the top 10 somewhere. He’s finished in the top five in four of his last six U.S. Opens, including that win at Oakmont in 2016.
Star who definitely won’t win — Bryson DeChambeau: His style just is not going to work this week. It will work a lot over the next 10-15 years, and he’ll 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 other courses on the PGA Tour.
Top 5 in order: Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed
Surprise prediction: Tiger Woods will miss the cut. Maybe this is not surprising to some who have been following closely, but it will be to a broader audience that only tunes into the major championships. His game is not sharp and not where it needs to be to contend at a U.S. Open. He won’t miss the cut by a lot, but he’ll be on the line all week long and ultimately fall on the wrong side of it come Friday evening.
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 restart, professional golf was a scoring bonanza. Whoever could get hot and roll off the most birdies would be in contention to win, and then on Sunday, the absence of fans helped alleviate some of the pressure that came from those late afternoon tee times. But two tournaments stood out where the combination of course design and tournament-week maintenance provided a unique challenge to the field: the Memorial and the BMW Championship. Rahm won both those events because he’s got world-class form that separates him from the rest when faced with a course that demands all of the shots. His well-rounded game and continued maturity as a star on this stage sets up perfectly to win his first major championship and keep this hot streak going into the fall.