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Golf Barometer: U.S. Open Predictions

David Ferris

Ferris covers the PGA Tour for RotoWire. He is an award-winning sports writer and a veteran fantasy columnist. He also is a scratch golfer.

Let's check in on some of the big names on the eve of the U.S. Open, and make some predictions. We're not here to tell you not to pick D.A. Points or Ryan Palmer - anyone can do that. Only the star names apply in this article.

Luke Donald: He's a reliable ball striker, and he's gotten over the closing issue. He's had too much success on too many major stages to miss contention here. Put him in the Top 10.

Phil Mickelson: He's going to win a U.S. Open someday, but I can't pick him off the messy 2011 form. Look for two solid rounds, one brilliant one and one head-scratching 76 that takes Lefty out of it. Finish: T23.

Bubba Watson: Those amazing irons jump out at you, but can you win on this type of track with ordinary tee accuracy and an erratic putter? Watson needs to establish momentum early. Finish: Inside Top 30.

Steve Stricker: He's overdue for a major and maybe he wants it too much at times. It doesn't seem to affect his nerves on the green, but the driver can be a little tight in some key spots. Finish: T8.

K.J. Choi: Confidence is soaring and has got a complete game, but the short balls off the tee make it hard to win a U.S. Open. Sure, accuracy is the order of the day, but you can't make a living hitting long irons into all the greens. Finish: T34.

Dustin Johnson: Is the 2010 Pebble Beach blowup too fresh in his memory? He'll win one of these, but it's going to take a few years to get the sting out of memory. Finish: 29th.

Jim Furyk: He'll grind his way to the weekend, but his short driving distance is going to hold him back. A lesser man would miss the cut with his current skill set. Finish: 25th.

Geoff Ogilvy: Three years ago, he'd be the likely favorite here - the perfect profile to attack Congressional. But the 2011 Ogilvy does not look like anyone we recognize. Missed cut.

Ian Poulter: Has the nerve and the putting stroke, just a matter of some early positive feedback. The British Open fits his skill set better, though. Look for a so-so week, then a Claret Jug hoist next month.

Rory McIlroy: The only downside to him is a possible Masters hangover. He seemed unflappable until that final day in Georgia. McIlroy said all the right things in the press tent that day, but he might be a little too self-aware to immediately brush it off at the next big dance. Otherwise, there's nothing negative to say here, but the gut tells me he's outside the Top 35.

Charl Schwartzel: He had a wonderful run in the majors last year (T30, T16, T14, T18) before the superb win at Augusta in 2011. Has all the shots, has the calm stomach too. T5.

David Toms: Wonderful comeback, likable guy. But this is not a track for the bunters. Missed cut.

Padraig Harrington: He's one of those high-variance big names - a Top 10 doesn't surprise and a missed cut doesn't surprise either.

Adam Scott: Stevie Williams is on the bag this week, which is an interesting pairing - fire (Williams) and ice (Scott). It would be fun to see them win, just to make Tiger jealous. Finish: T31.

Matt Kuchar: Took a while to blossom but he's a legitimate star. No game weaknesses, and there's a steely resolve in there too. Here's a coming-out party in a major. Finish: second.

Martin Kaymer: He could be the best player in the world right now, he could be the third best, he could be the second best. It's all a moot point with everyone so packed. But Kaymer's versatility jumps out at you - he's capable of winning on any course - and he's already got the hardest major out of the way, the first one. Here's your winner.