2011 US Open (Golf)

US Open Golf 2011: Top 10 Best Bets to Win at Congressional

Kevin ConnellyContributor IJune 15, 2011

US Open Golf 2011: Top 10 Best Bets to Win at Congressional

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    Last years champion, Graeme McDowell, was the first European to win the U.S. Open in 40 years.
    Last years champion, Graeme McDowell, was the first European to win the U.S. Open in 40 years.Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    The 2011 U.S. Open is being played at Congressional Country Club, located in our nation's capital. The defending champion is Graeme McDowell, from Northern Ireland.

    The U.S. Open, one of the four major championships, is always a difficult course for the world's best golfers. To help you decide who to watch and what to expect, I've made a list of 10 golfers most likely to win it.

10. Zach Johnson

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    MEMPHIS, TN - JUNE 09:  Zach Johnson hits a shot on the 6th hole during the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind on June 9, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    The 2007 Masters Champion has a couple of things going against him entering the tournament. He has yet to win a PGA Tour event this season, although he does have two top-10 finishes so far. Johnson has also never finished better than 45th in any U.S. Open.

    The reason he's on this list is because of his accuracy off the tee. If there is one thing that's important in majors, it keeping the ball on the course.

9. Hunter Mahan

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 14:   Hunter Mahan watches a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 14, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Hunter Mahan is one of the great young American golfers in todays game. He most recently finished tied for sixth in The OPEN Championship, but even more impressive is that he's finished in the top 10 in half the events he's played in.

    Mahan hits a lot of greens in regulation, so if he can get the putter going he has a good chance to be there on Sunday.

8. Adam Scott

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 13:  Adam Scott of Australia (R) pulls a club from his bag as his caddie Steve Williams (L) looks on during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 13, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Much has been said about Tiger's caddy Steve Williams being on Scott's bag this weekend, but I think this is good for both parties. Adam Scott, who finished tied for second in this years Masters, is looking for his first career major.

    Williams has been there for Tiger in pressure situations, so if Scott can play like he did at Augusta then this might be that extra edge to push him to the top. 

7. Ian Poulter

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    NEWPORT, WALES - MAY 30:  Ian Poulter of England makes a putt on the 4th green during the PowerPlay Ignition Golf on the Twenty Ten Course at the Celtic Manor Resort on May 30, 2011 in Newport, Wales.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Ian Poulter has been a bit of a disappointment in PGA Tour events, with only one victory. The majority of his success has come on the European Tour, where he has 11 career victories.

    He has not fared well in the U.S. Open either, with his best finish tied for 12th back in 2006.

    If Poulter can figure things out, he has the talent to win any tournament he enters.

6. Matt Kuchar

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    FT. WORTH, TX - MAY 19: Matt Kuchar waves to the gallery on the eighth green during the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club on May 19, 2011 in Ft. Worth, Texas. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Matt Kuchar finished tied for sixth in last year's U.S. Open, his best finish ever in a major. Kuchar can both drive it straight and hit the green, which is always important in U.S. Opens.

    "Kuch" has as good a shot as any in this years tournament.

5. Luke Donald

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 14:  Luke Donald of England  plays a bunker shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 14, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    The worlds No. 1 is playing great golf entering this years U.S. Open. Donald finished tied for fourth in both The OPEN and the Masters, in addition to six other Top-10 finishes.

    The Englishman may be the favorite to win it, but the favorite doesn't always win in the majors.

4. Graeme McDowell

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 15:  Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland looks over a green during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 15, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    Graeme McDowell is the only former winner on this list, and it's only out of respect the way he's playing this year. He hasn't made the cut in his last two majors and his U.S. Open victory is his only on the PGA Tour.

    Then again, never count out the reigning champion.

3. Dustin Johnson

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 14:  Dustin Johnson hits a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 14, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Dustin Johnson can crush the ball off the tee. Everybody remembers his final hole in last years P.G.A. Championship, where he grounded his club in what was apparently a bunker.

    Johnson has all the tools to become Americas next great golfer, and at age 26 this would be the perfect time to prove it.

2. Martin Kaymer

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    VIRGINIA WATER, ENGLAND - MAY 28:  Martin Kaymer of Germany lines up a putt during the third round of the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club on May 28, 2011 in Virginia Water, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Martin Kaymer was the beneficiary of Johnson's penalty in last years P.G.A. Championship, as he went on to win it for his first career major. One of only three golfers on this list who have won a major puts him near the top for this years U.S. Open.

    The worlds No. 3 is going to have to be aggressive in the early rounds if he wants to be there on Sunday. 

1. Rory McIlroy

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 15:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits a tee shot in front of the clubhouse during a practice round prior to the start of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 15, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Ross Kin
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    At age 22, McIlroy has the brightest future of all the golfers on this list. He is ready to make the next step in his golfing career, by winning a major championship.

    Just like the rest of the young players, McIlroy is going to have to keep the ball on the golf course if he wants to win. 

    Rory McIlroy is my pick to win the 111th U.S. Open.

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