Major-Less Golfers with the Best Chance to Win the 2014 US Open
It's a short list of players without a major title to their credit that are playing well enough or have played well enough to be considered as good chances to the win the U.S. Open at North Carolina's Pinehurst No. 2 in 11 days.
Sergio Garcia hasn't won a major, but it's my humble opinion that there is way too much scar tissue from his past for him to do much more than weakly contend.
Bill Haas and Steve Stricker haven't won one, either.
But I've compiled a list of five guys who would seem to have the best chances among the non-major winners.
Check it out and see what you think.
This 20-year-old has earned over $3 million this year. He's had a pair of second-place finishes, including one at the Masters. He also contended deep into the Players Championship before finishing in a T4.
Spieth seems to have greatness throughout his game, but he has to deal better with the pressure of closing out a tournament.
His driving accuracy and greens-in-regulation percentages have slipped somewhat, and he's barely in the top 100 on the PGA Tour.
What he has going for him is his putting. He's 35th in the strokes gained-putting category with an average of .352.
There aren't too many players who have had better seasons in 2014 than Matt Kuchar.
In 14 events, he has posted nine top-10 finishes, including a win and a second-place finish.
He played well in the Masters, posting a T5.
Kuchar has been too good for too long to have not won a major title. He's teed it up in 34 majors, and his best finish is a T3 in the Masters in 2012.
Two things that will be in his favor on Pinehurst No. 2 are his driving-accuracy percentage of 66.07, 26th on the PGA Tour, and his strokes gained-putting average of .491, 14th-best on tour.
This may be the one that Kuchar finally finishes off.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Jimmy Walker has some sparkling statistics on his resume for 2014.
You'd expect that from a guy who became the first three-time winner in the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule.
What might be a little surprising is that he's kept up his level of play into June. In 18 starts he has had two bad starts: a T46 and T37.
Walker has had seven top-10s and finished T8 at the Masters.
The 35-year-old has maintained the No. 1 spot in the FedEx Cup points race all year and will no doubt be a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup this fall. That's not bad for a guy who played in 188 events before winning.
Harris English has posted enough top-10 finishes (six) to keep his name high up on the list of players who should make the big leap in status this season.
The 24-year-old has a win in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba as his season highlight of 2014, but recently he has missed the cut in two of his last three starts.
His statistics are good enough to be a contender at a place like Pinehurst No. 2. He averages 298.1 off the tee on measured drives, and that length has allowed him to make eight eagles.
One thing that will make for a quick exit will be his putting. His strokes gained-putting average is minus-121, and that's 124th on tour.
He'll need to figure that out quickly.
Ryan Moore won a U.S. Amateur in 2004, a championship that must seem like a lifetime ago.
His journey on the PGA Tour since then certainly hasn't been easy since then, but he's playing well this year and has quietly become a top player.
Moore is hitting fairways (66.82), hitting greens (69.81) and putting well (.140 strokes gained-putting average), all of those will serve him well on Donald Ross' gem in the Sandhills Region of North Carolina.
He seems poised to turn around his major performances, which include two top-10s in 24 major starts.
All stats courtesy of PGATOUR.com.