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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.

Tiger Woods: In his two victories, his ball striking was so angelic, his putting almost didn't matter. I want to see how he putts when the flat stick does matter. Finish: T15.

Lee Westwood:
He's beyond overdue for one of these things, and he did run T7 at Olympic in 1998. He's probably the best ball striker in the field, but like Woods, he needs to prove he can roll the ball consistently. Finish: T9.

Matt Kuchar:
It's a return to familiar stomping grounds, as Kuchar ran T14 at Olympic in 1998 - and that was as an amateur. The tee-to-green game is rock solid and he's also a dynamite putter, so why hasn't he won more? Was the TPC triumph the push to something better? Finish: 20th.

Rory McIlroy:
Repeating at a major? Good luck with that. Repeating at a major when you're rusty on practice and game shots? Lots of luck with that. Finish: Outside Top 30.

Phil Mickelson:
Probably the biggest wild card among the stars in the field - Mickelson could open with a 69 or a 79 and neither would surprise me. But is someone this daring really cut out to win U.S. Opens? Finish: 27th

Dustin Johnson:
Freaky long, but as consistent as a paper cup in a windstorm. Apparently his back problems have cleared up. I've never liked him as a putter, reading them or stroking them. Finish: Missed cut.

Jason Dufner:
No one is in better form, and he has cut his teeth in majors before: he ran second at the PGA last year, and T5 at the 2010 PGA. But his U.S. Open resume leaves something to be desired: MC, T33, 62, T40. Come back in two months. Finish: Missed cut.

Jim Furyk:
The type of bulldog who wins this sort of challenge. He's been a check-cashing machine for a couple months now, and he avoids bogeys better than anyone else. If Furyk looks comfortable on the greens early in the week, watch out. Finish: Top 10.

Peter Hanson:
He's arguably the second-best putter across the pond, and he shows up for star-studded events (T3 at the Masters, T4 at WGC-Cadillac). The Sunday lessons at Augusta will serve him well here. Finish: Top 15.

Ben Crane:
He has the iron play and the patience to win this type of event, but he's also 94th in three-putt avoidance. if the lag putting doesn't get better, forget Crane on Sunday. Finish: Outside Top 30.

Steve Stricker:
He definitely has the putter to contend here, and his bunting off the tee (276 yards a shot) won't hurt him on a U.S. Open setup. He hasn't been in contention for a major in a while, though, last logging a Top 10 in 2009. Maybe the window is closed. Finish: T23.

Luke Donald:
I'd make him the favorite this week. Donald is an elite ball striker, a creative scrambler and definitely the best putter in the world. It's his time. Finish: Win.

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