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U.S. Open chances: Can Retief Goosen get the turkey leg?

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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This week before the U.S. Open tees off, we'll be sizing up the chances of many of golf's top players. Our last choice will be a sleeper, and that's what we have here with the smooth South African.

Retief Goosen

Current world ranking: 26

So far this year: It's been a strange few years for Goosen, but his tie for third at the St. Jude Classic last week on the back of a third round 64 sure made it seem like the Goose is rounding into shape. He's also only missed one cut this season, but the bad news is, that was at the Masters.

Record at the U.S. Open: Umm, not too shabby? Goosen infamously won-nearly lost-then won the 2001 U.S. Open out of nowhere, after three-putting the final green to find himself in a playoff with Mark Brooks. He solidified his place in Open lore with another win at the '04 U.S. Open when he defeated Phil Mickelson by two shots.

Why he could win: Because like distance off the tee, nothing can compensate for experience in a major championship. Goosen has won two of these things and has been in contention at a number of other majors, finishing in the top-16 in two of the last three U.S. Opens.

Why he could fall short: Because the 42-year-old originally nicknamed "The Iceman" has been anything but in recent years, winning just once since 2005. His success at this tournament is incredible, but it has been seven years since he hoisted the trophy, and those memories can fade over time.

Our take: I see a good week from Goosen, who comes into this tournament at the perfect time. He finished tied for eighth in '04 at his tournament before the U.S. Open, so obviously good vibes can carry over for Retief. I see him carding his first top-10 at this tournament since his last win at this event.

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