We've ranked individuals, and we've ranked the top-five Europeans with the best chance at Congressional, but it's the United States Open, so we better give you five Americans with the best shot at this illustrious title.
5.) Bubba Watson -- When you think of Bubba, you normally don't think of a guy made in the U.S. Open mold, but in his last three attempts at this tournament, he's finished tied for 18th and tied for fifth (the other was a missed cut). He didn't play a year ago at Pebble Beach, but he's a different golfer now, heading into Congressional with three wins in the last year, and two this season. With his length, and his sneaky touch around the greens, Bubba has to be on your radar.
4.) Dustin Johnson -- Some might look back at the Pebble Beach collapse and let it bother them, but guys like Dustin, with the "see ball, hit ball" mentality can barely remember yesterday, let alone 12 months ago. Johnson hasn't quite had the 2011 most expected, but that could all change if he played a couple of solid rounds at Congressional. It also doesn't hurt that he finished fourth at the Memorial, his last start before this week.
3.) Matt Kuchar -- Kuchar is a lot like the top-ranked player on this list; his resume began when he finally found his game, which took place over the last two years, where the Kuch has raked up 19 top 10s. His tie for sixth at Pebble Beach in 2010 shows he's ready for the big stage, and when you're as consistent as this guy, you're always a threat.
2.) Phil Mickelson -- Before we talk about his chances, why don't we talk about why he shouldn't be on this list. He's only won once since last year's Masters, and that was in April in Houston. He's played decent in his last three majors, but nothing special, failing to finish in the top 10 in three straight majors for the first time since 2007.
But we've all learned not to count out Phil, and he seems to show up when we least expect it (hello Augusta in 2010). He's hungry for this championship, and besides the Masters, it's probably the biggest week of his year. Expect him to have another solid showing, and nobody should be surprised if he finally checked this off his bucket list.
1.) Steve Stricker -- He has to be the American favorite, just because of the way he's playing coming into Congressional. He won the Memorial and he continues to impress people at the dangerous age of 44.
Stricker is the type of player that seems due to win a major, and if he can keep his emotions in check for the week, he's on my very short list of guys I'd actually put money on to take down Congressional. Also, it never hurts that he played fine back in 1997, the last time this course hosted the U.S. Open, finishing tied for 36th when he wasn't nearly the player he is today.
- Bubba Watson
- Dustin Johnson