Previewing the 2024 U.S Open

Previewing the 2024 U.S Open

The third major of the season is upon us and this year’s U.S Open looks finely poised.

Whilst there is no doubt that Scottie Scheffler will start as the man to beat, Pinehurst, where the action will take place this week has dominated the headlines in the build up to the tournament. 

With the greens expected to be lightning fast, many are predicting that this year’s U.S Open could see the winning score being over par.

A dramatic week lies in prospect and ahead of the first tee shot, let’s take a closer look at some of the things to look out for this week.

The Course

Measuring 7,548 yards, Pinehurst number 2 course will host this year’s U.S Open. A par 70 for the week, the course contains two par 5’s, four par 3’s and twelve par 4’s. 

The set up for this week is set to be unique. The rough will be at a minimum and the fairways are generous and accessible, however on the greens it’s a different story. 

Set to be lightning fast, the players will be greeted with exceptionally small landing zones, and even the slightest miscue could lead to massive problems.

With run off areas on almost every hole, expect plenty of balls to be feeding back off the greens this week, leaving the field with a tough task of getting up and down. 

For years, the U.S. Open has been one of the toughest challenges in the game and this week the challenge could be as tough as it has ever been.

There will be no let up for the players and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the winning score was over par.

The Course

Who is the favourite?

At the top of the betting market is Scottie Scheffler and many believe that if he plays to the best of his abilities, he should have too much class for the rest of the field. 

Scheffler’s form throughout 2024 has been reminiscent of Tiger Woods in his pomp. Dominating all before him, Scheffler has won five times this season and the world number one looks hungry for more.

Already a major winner this year, Scheffler will be keen to land his first major title away from Augusta. 

Although he will start as the clear outright favourite, the set up this week won’t necessarily play to his strengths. With the emphasis set to be on putting, the flat stick is still where Scheffler struggles the most and his rivals will hope some of his putting demons reappear this week. 

However the recipe this week is simple, if Scheffler plays to the best of his abilities, he will win.

Who else should we be looking out for?

Nearly everybody on the PGA Tour has had to play second fiddle to Scottie Scheffler this season and there will be many who will be hoping that this is the week where they can finally steal some of the headlines.

Rory McIlroy has had a good year. Ranked three in the world, McIlroy has two wins to his name on the PGA Tour this season with victories at both the Wells Fargo Championship and Zurich Classic.

He heads into this week looking for a first major victory in ten years and his fifth major overall. A supremely talented ball striker, untimely mistakes are what often costs him and with the setup of the course set to be brutal, keeping those mistakes at bay could be tough. McIlroy would be a hugely popular winner but you feel that his major drought may just stretch on for a little while yet. 

Xander Schauffele previously held the title of being the best player on the PGA Tour not to have won a major, but thankfully for his fans that label no longer applies thanks to his brilliant victory at the 2024 PGA Championship

Schauffele has been hugely consistent this season posting eight top ten finishes in his last twelve starts. Now with the major monkey off his back, this week we might see a player completely free of the pressure and ready to win another major title. 

Always a danger to the rest of the field, expect another big week from the Californian. 

Viktor Hovland had the golfing world at his feet at the end of 2023. The FedEx Champion, everything looked set up for him to have another great year, but after tinkering with his swing, it’s been a rough start to 2024.

Barely featuring in any tournaments, before the PGA Championship Hovland made the decision to move back to his former swing coach and it almost paid immediate dividends. 

Back to swinging the club like we all know he can, Hovland finished third at the PGA Championship and posted a top twenty finish at last week’s Memorial Tournament. 

With his game trending back in the right direction, another big week could be incoming.

Who else should we be looking out for?

What about the LIV Challenge?

For just the third time this season, the best of the PGA Tour will take on the best from the LIV Tour. It’s another rare opportunity for fans all over the world to watch the best players in the world compete in the same tournament.

Through the first two majors of the year it has been the PGA Tour who have produced the winner, LIV are looking for their first major winner since the 2023 PGA Championship where Brooks Koepka emerged victorious. 

Those who follow LIV and want a LIV player to win have been dealt a blow with Jon Rahm being declared unfit to play due to a foot infection.

With Rahm out of the picture, it is Brooks Koepka who will carry the majority of LIV hopes. 

Always a threat at the majors, Koepka is twice a winner of this event and his win at the infamous Bethpage Black where conditions were absolutely brutal should set him up nicely for a shot at glory this week. 

Nobody comes alive more in major weeks than Koepka. Knowing that the legacy he leaves in the game will be defined by the number of majors he wins, Koepka won’t be put off by conditions this week and should relish the stiff test that is set to come.