South Africa’s top-ranked player Louis Oosthuizen heads the six-strong contingent from the Rainbow Nation but he’s been given the nod for a challenge by the PGA Tour’s experts.
Oosthuizen has not missed the cut in his last four appearances with his best finish coming back in 2015 where he roared into the frame over the final three rounds after an opening 77.
The 34-year-old has been in decent yet unspectacular form in 2018 and arrives at Shinnecock Hills somewhat of an outsider when you consider Dustin Johnson won last week, Justin Thomas was recently the world’s No 1 player and Justin Rose’s incredible run since the 2017 PGA Championship.
Add Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and the aura of Tiger Woods to the picture and it’s clear to see what Oosthuizen is not the odds-on bookies’ favourite.
However, those over at the PGA Tour website have tipped Oosthuizen as 16th strongest going into the US Open. They write: ‘Top 15s in five of last seven starts. Pre-eminent ball-striker of his generation leads the Tour in scrambling of all things. Closest call in the US Open occurred at Chambers Bay (T2) in 2015.’
Oosthuizen is likely to enjoy the Shinnecock Hills layout, a course which Ernie Els has described as having a bit of links and European feel to it. At 16th on their list, he is above Major winners Jimmy Walker and Jordan Spieth.
Countryman Branden Grace did not make the top 20 – the same goes for players like Xander Schauffele, Ian Poulter, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Tony Finau. They do, however, give him credit saying: ‘always a short-lister on par 70s; top fives on par 70s in 2015 and 2016; two top fives worldwide within the last month’.
Top 5 on the PGA Tour’s power rankings:
- Jon Rahm
- Dustin Johnson
- Rickie Fowler
- Jason Day
- Justin Thomas
Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images