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Ranking the Top 10 Golfers Ahead of the 2022 US Open

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    AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

    Everyone wants to be Jon Rahm.

    Or, more specifically, everyone in the professional golf world wants to be where Jon Rahm was around this time last year—winning the U.S. Open.

    Rahm’s one-shot victory at Torrey Pines last June gave him the first major of his career. He and a field of 155 others will begin their 72-hole push toward the 2022 title on Thursday at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.

    The B/R golf team read the latest news, analyzed each player’s past several starts, looked at past results in majors and weighed the current world ranking to come up with a list of the top 10 players at this year’s U.S. Open.

    Scroll through to see how the elite contenders stack up.

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    AP Photo/Gregory Bull

    Official World Golf Ranking: No. 18

    Best of 2022: There have been more near-misses than hits for Fitzpatrick, who’s hasn’t won any of his 12 events but has seven top-10 finishes, A tie for second last month at the Wells Fargo Championship in Maryland is his high-water mark.

    Why He’s Here: A tie for 14th at the Masters and a tie for fifth at the PGA Championship this year prove Fitzpatrick’s relevance at the majors. Those finishes have also driven his world ranking up from 24th at the end of 2021. His U.S. Amateur win at Brookline, albeit awhile back in 2013, doesn’t hurt, either.

    U.S. Open History: One amateur appearance and six more as a pro haven’t been particularly memorable. Fitzpatrick’s ties for 12th in 2018 and 2019 provide the highlights to offset a missed cut in 2020 and a tie for 55th last year.

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    AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

    OWGR: No. 6

    Best of 2022: None of the players on this list have made a bigger world-rankings jump this year than Smith, who finished 2021 at 21st. His surge has come on the heels of wins at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Players Championship.

    Why He’s Here: The rankings spike, which has also included a tie for third at the Masters and a tie for 13th at the PGA Championship, puts Smith on the short list of every tournament he plays for the time being. His record of five top-10s at majors doesn’t hurt, either.

    U.S. Open History: Smith tied for fourth as the 2015 event at Chambers Bay as a 21-year-old, making it seem as if a win might be imminent. However, he’s since missed two cuts and never finished better than a tie for 38th in 2020.

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    AP Photo/Gregory Bull

    OWGR: No. 16

    Best of 2022: There’s not been a whole lot of “best” in 2022 for Johnson, who’s made a lot more news with his decision to resign his PGA Tour membership than for the three top-10s and three missed cuts he carded in his first 10 events.

    Why He’s Here: Nevertheless, a major winner is a major winner, and the 37-year-old has plenty of pedigree to suggest he’ll be a factor. He’s eligible to compete this week in spite of a decision to play in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series, where he finished eighth.

    U.S. Open History: Johnson had 11 top-10 finishes at majors before finally breaking through to win the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont. He finished three shots ahead of a trio of players and has since finished third (2018) and tied for sixth (2020) in five tries.

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    AP Photo/John Minchillo

    OWGR: No. 4

    Best of 2022: The 30-year-old is quietly having quite a season, thanks to six top-10 finishes in 11 events. He was second at both the Phoenix Open in February and the RBC Heritage in April, then tied for third in his final pre-U.S. Open event at the Memorial this month.

    Why He’s Here: The fourth-ranked player in the world doesn’t have to audition for a spot at any event, but Cantlay is a little further down this list because he’s still waiting to make a significant impact at a major. The Memorial field included many of the foes he’ll see this week.

    U.S. Open History: Cantlay’s past appearances at the U.S. Open haven’t been terribly significant. He tied for 15th last year at Torrey Pines after a second-round 75 doomed him early and a final-round 69 returned him to at least cosmetic relevance. Two ties for 21st are his best finishes from five other appearances.

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    AP Photo/Gregory Bull

    OWGR: No. 8

    Best of 2022: The second player on our list who’s cashed a winner’s check this season, Hovland was the top man at the Dubai Desert Classic on the European tour in late January. He finished second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and has three other top-10s in 13 events.

    Why He’s Here: Six wins since the end of 2019 helped boost the Norwegian’s world ranking from 93rd to as high as seventh. Still, the now-24-year-old has participated in 10 majors and hasn’t managed to finish inside the top 10 in any of them.

    U.S. Open History: Hovland tied for 12th as the low amateur at Pebble Beach in 2019 and tied for 13th a year later at Winged Foot. He left under difficult circumstances last year at Torrey Pines when sand in his eye during warm-ups forced him to withdraw.

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    AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

    OWGR: No. 1

    Best of 2022: Even two months and four tournaments after his last victory, Scheffler is still having a remarkable year. He won four of the first eight events he played—including a three-shot romp at the Masters—and has six top-10 finishes overall.

    Why He’s Here: The scorching start to 2022 vaulted him from 12th to first in the world rankings, and the fact that he’s been eighth or better at four of the past five majors he’s played certainly adds big-stage gravity to the stats. Whether he’s the pick in every event or not, he’s got the title of “best golfer in the world” until someone takes it from him. And if he wins here, it’ll be a while.

    U.S. Open History: Two missed cuts and a tie for 27th as low amateur were pedestrian results from his first three appearances. He then had four rounds of 72 or better to get him into a tie for seventh last year, five shots behind Rahm—with whom he was tied after 54 holes.

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    AP Photo/Gregory Bull

    OWGR: No. 12

    Best of 2022: The Californian is one of the more consistent players in the world, but he’s still waiting for his first victory of 2022 after settling for a tie for third at the Phoenix Open in February and a tie for fifth at the AT&T Byron Nelson last month.

    Why He’s Here: Schauffele closed 2016 at 299th in the world rankings but has won at least one event each year since 2017 to jump as high as fourth. He’s made the cut in 17 of the 20 majors he’s played and has six top-five finishes among those results.

    U.S. Open History: Now 28, Schauffele has saved his most consistent major play for the U.S. Open, where he’s never been worse than tied for seventh in five appearances. He’s been in second place after 18 holes twice and has played seven of 20 rounds in the 60s.

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    AP Photo/Gregory Bull

    OWGR: No. 3

    Best of 2022: It was a good pre-U.S. Open week for McIlroy, who won the Canadian Open by two shots to up his world ranking from eighth to third. In addition, the 33-year-old has managed a second, a third and three other top-10 finishes in 11 overall events.

    Why He’s Here: Even if he weren’t ranked third in the world, he’s still Rory McIlory, and he’s still finished 10th or better in 25 of the 53 majors he’s played since 2007. A second at this year’s Masters and an eighth at the PGA indicate he’s still primed for the spotlight.

    U.S. Open History: An eight-shot rout of the 2011 field at Congressional included four rounds in the 60s and gave him his first major victory. He was irrelevant at the event for six of the subsequent seven years but has recently strung together ties for ninth, eighth and seventh.

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    AP Photo/Gregory Bull

    OWGR: No. 5

    Best of 2022: Thomas has won at least one event each year since 2014, and he kept the streak going last month at the PGA Championship. There, a final-round 67 got him into a playoff with Will Zalatoris, which he won despite entering the day seven shots off the pace.

    Why He’s Here: The victory at Southern Hills officially made Thomas a two-time major winner after he’d already bagged the 2017 PGA at Quail Hollow. He’s made the cut in 21 of the 26 majors he’s played and has been 10th or better in seven of them.

    U.S. Open History: It’s been an up-and-down run for Thomas at the U.S. Open, where he was tied for ninth in 2017 and tied for eighth in 2020. Those finishes are offset, however, by two missed cuts and also-ran ties for 19th (2021), 25th (2018) and 32nd (2016).

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    AP Photo/Gregory Bull

    OWGR: No. 2

    Best of 2022: Rahm has been in the mix often this year, with a win, a second, a third and three other top-10 finishes across 12 events. He bagged the Mexico Open by one shot last month and tied for 10th at the Memorial in his last U.S. Open tune-up.

    Why He’s Here: Rahm finished last year as the world’s top-ranked player and would likely still be there if not for Scheffler’s torrid start this season. His finishes at majors so far this year haven’t been memorable, but he was eighth or better in all four of them last year.

    U.S. Open History: There’s nothing better than being a defending champ. The win in 2021 saw Rahm enter Sunday three shots off the lead before birdies on the 17th and 18th gave him a one-shot edge over Louis Oosthuizen. His best previous finish was a tie for third in 2019.

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