The US Open is by far the toughest test in golf. It puts pressure on a player to be perfect in every aspect of the game with any minuscule flaw being exaggerated to the utmost degree.
Though big names usually find a way to make the cut and contend on the weekend, there are a select few who struggle mightily and are sent home early.
Some big names that are at risk of going home early this week include a couple major champions and a world's top player.
The 2012 Masters champ is a huge crowd favorite and can make just about every shot imaginable in golf. However, his game is not suited for the US Open. Bubba does not know the meaning of dial back, as he will go-for-broke on every shot.
His all-in style worked at Augusta because there are places to miss and it is possible to recover. In the US Open, that luxury is not present.
Bubba’s recovery skills were on-point during Masters week, but normally he is highly suspect at getting out of trouble. On tour Watson ranks 96th in scrambling and 86th in bounce-back birdie percentage, and both stats are highly relevant in a US Open.
Watson’s other big issue that will hold him back is the fact that he is not a great putter. To compete or to even make the cut at our national championship, one has to be solid with the flat stick. Bubba is an awful 164th on tour in total putting and 166th in stokes gained putting.
The world’s No. 1 player is a solid golfer that does just about everything well but nothing great. Donald has yet to win a major and the US Open is definitely not his favorite.
Luke’s top finish at a US Open is a tie for 12th back in 2006, and he hasn’t broke into the top 40 since. His poor play in the tournament is rather surprising because he scrambles so well and he is a manageable putter.
He does not drive the ball particularly well, and his distance is sorely lacking. With Olympic playing long due to the elevation changes and marine layer, Donald’s lack of power will severely hurt him this week.
Scott saw his career get a slight resurgence last year when he switched to the long-putter. This season, his solid play has continued somewhat, as he has a top-10 finish in the Masters and a top-20 in the Players.
Adam’s ball striking has been decent this season, ranking 65th in driving accuracy and eighth in greens in regulation, but under US Open conditions, his swing could be suspect.
If Scott gets into trouble, he could have problems. Ranking near the bottom on tour in scrambling, Scott will have problems recovering when he doesn’t hit fairways and greens.
Though he has improved mightily as a putter since going to the broomstick, I am still not sold on his ability to make a putt on the US Open greens.
The reigning US Open champion comes into the championship on wobbly legs, as he has missed the cut in three of his last four tournaments and failed to come through down the stretch in Memphis last week.
McIlroy’s usual solid game has taken a turn for the worst rather quickly in the last month. Normally hampered by the quick hook, Rory has been dealing with the dreaded double-miss—meaning he has no clue where the ball is headed and a quick fix is unlikely.
Rory’s putting has also been suspect of late; he's missing makeable putts and squandering the few good chances he has given himself. If the struggles continue this week, he will be on his way back to Northern Ireland pretty early.