There's Gold in Them There Hills

Last year’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills was very much a celebration of American golf, with all but two of the top 12 places filled by players wearing the Stars & Stripes on their sleeves. But as Mike Wilson writes, with five overseas players occupying the top-10 players on the Official World Golf Ranking, this year’s event at Shinnecock Hills could be much more of an international affair

Shinnecock Hills could be Jon Rahm’s coming-of-age at just 23-years-old

Another Englishman, Tommy Fleetwood, fourth at Erin Hills last year also has the game. And crucially, the temperament to win a maiden Major in New York State this month. Whilst 2013 U.S. Open winner Justin Rose has enjoyed some good results of late, including third behind Rory McIlroy in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Swedes Henrik Stenson and Alex Norén could also go well, the best prospects for a first-ever Scandinavian victory at the U.S. Open. But German Martin Kaymer, champion in 2014 at Pinehurst, looks bang out of form, dropping out of the Top-100 on the OWGR for the first time in a decade.

Meanwhile, of the Asian contingent, Hideki Matsuyama, still inside the Top-10 on the OWGR, yet again looks the best bet. The 26-year-old fast-approaching sporting maturity, he could go one better than his tie for second-place at Erin Hills and become the first Japanese winner of a Major title.

Making the halfway cut on U.S. Open debut last year, Chinese protégé Li Haotong served notice of his potential as a Major champion-in-waiting. Tearing up the Royal Birkdale links with a final round 63 at the 2017 Open Championship, eventually finishing third behind champion Spieth and runner-up Matt Kuchar.


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