U.S. Open Golf 2010: 10 Guys Who Always Excel at the Event
As the 2010 U.S. Open is now upon us, millions are betting and predicting the next big winner.
When trying to predict the winner, why not go after a guy that has the history to back up his recent success?
With all the players participating in this year's tournament, there are plenty to choose from, and plenty have had their runs at the U.S. Open.
That said, who always excels and meets par at the U.S. Open?
I give you 10 active players that always bring their best to the U.S. Open and are bound to bring it this season. While most are undeniably no-brainers, there are a couple that may catch you by surprise.
Why not take a look at history before choosing your 2010 U.S. Open favorite?
Here's who brings it year in and year out.
10. Camilo Villegas
Camilo Villegas, a native of Colombia, has one win on the PGA Tour to his name: the 2010 Honda Classic.
Despite just the one win, he has been able to take giant steps at the U.S. Open over the past couple of seasons and has helped his own reputation in the process.
In his first U.S. Open, going back to 2004, Villegas missed the cut and was eliminated early.
But over the past three years he has been in the hunt, making the cut each time.
In 2007, Villegas finished tied for 26th among all participants, and then in '08, he came back for an encore by finishing tied for ninth, just missing a chance at winning the Open. Last year, he returned as a hopeful favorite, but finished tied for 33rd.
While Villegas isn't known that well on the PGA Tour, he could be a dark horse for this year's U.S. Open.
9. Lee Westwood
At one point Lee Westwood was one of the young guns on the PGA Tour. Now, at 36, Westwood has matured, and he has become one of the best British players the Tour has to offer.
In 1997, in Westwood's first U.S. Open appearance, he set the bar high as he finished 19th overall as a 24 year old. As a follow up, the next year he finished seventh overall.
Since then, Westwood has mingled mainly in the 30s, with a couple of missed cuts and a third place finish in 2008.
While Westwood is somewhat inconsistent, he does excel at the Open and should be a prime contender for 2010.
8. Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker is one of those guys that could possibly fumble into a U.S. Open victory. Nevertheless, Stricker has proven that he can play in his native country.
As they say, with experience, skills improve, and Stricker is a great example of that. In his first U.S. Open, he finished 83rd and was just another youngster trying to make something happen.
Now on the cusp of being one of the Open's favorites to win, Stricker has been able to improve from year to year to get where he is now, finishing in the teens and 20s.
Unfortunately for him, the closest he's ever come to winning the U.S. Open is fifth place in back-to-back years in '98 and '99.
7. Stewart Cink
Stewart Cink is the opposite of Steve Stricker, as history shows.
In his first three years ('96, '97, '98), Cink finished 16th, 13th, and 10th in that order.
However, after that, it has been a rough road as inconsistency has won some battles over Cink. Despite that, he continues to find ways to be successful.
In 1999, Cink finished 32nd, a finish somewhat new to him, especially in the U.S. Open.
Two years later he finished the best he ever has at the Open, placing third, just behind Tiger Woods at Bethpage State Park.
Since 2001, Cink has finished anywhere from missing the cut to 14th overall. Not exactly how you want your history to be, but Stewart Cink still lands a spot on this list as a player that excels and has a chance to win the U.S. Open.
6. Hunter Mahan
Hunter Mahan is one of the young guys that is the future of the PGA Tour; he's also done a great job in the past and present at the U.S. Open.
In 2003, at the age of 21, Mahan competed in his first U.S. Open, falling short and missing the cut.
The past three years have been different though—way different. Mahan has actually been atop the leaderboard and competed with some of the best in the game.
Last year he finished sixth overall, a personal best at the Open, and he is now preparing himself to be one of the best competitors at the U.S. Open.
Mahan may be young, but watch for him this year as he continues to thrive in the United States.
5. Geoff Ogilvy
This Australian has done his part to earn his spot on the list, as he is the first man we get to that has won a U.S. Open. While that doesn't necessarily mean that he excels at the Open, Geoff Ogilvy is a guy you can't leave off this list.
Ogilvy has been a hit or miss guy though. He could win the Open one day, and he could come back the next and miss the cut. While you can blame the game for such things, you always want a little bit of consistency.
In 2006, at Winged Foot, Ogilvy claimed his one and only U.S. Open.
Since then, the closest he has come to winning again is ninth, but if history continues to repeat itself, Geoff Ogilvy should have a good 2010 U.S. Open, as his recent past shows that he is good one year and off the next.
Time will tell.
4. Jim Furyk
At one point in time, Jim Furyk was the favorite to win the U.S. Open year after year. That has to amount to something nowadays, as all should know that he knows how to be successful in this tournament.
In 2003, Furyk captured his only U.S. Open win at Olympia Fields, finishing -8 for the tournament.
In '06 and '07, he fell just short to claiming two other wins, both times finishing second overall, finishing behind Geoff Ogilvy and Angel Cabrera.
He also finished fifth in back-to-back years in the late 90s.
All of those close finishes will get you high on this list of U.S. Open successes.
3. Ernie Els
Ernie Els is a great U.S. Open participant and contender, and while he has struggled over the past couple of years, I like him to win this year's U.S. Open. Don't ask me why, I just have a feeling.
Then again, that feeling could turn into a laughing mockery among golf experts and fans.
Els has won two U.S. Open Championships during his tenure on the tour ('94 and '97), as well as his share of runner-ups.
Els also has finished in fifth, seventh, ninth, 14th, and 15th since his first U.S. Open in 1993.
As a seasoned veteran, Ernie Els knows what to expect, and as an all-time great, he easily excels at the U.S. Open.
2. Retief Goosen
Throughout the year, seldom do you hear Retief Goosen's name.
Anyone heard of him?
Goosen has emerged as one of the best players to ever play in the U.S. Open, and respectfully so.
Goosen has been in the U.S. Open since 1998 and he has five missed cuts to his name, but with two wins, I'm sure he'll take that ratio.
He captured his first victory in the summer of 2001 at Southern Hills, followed up by a winning at Shinnecock Hills in 2004.
In the past two years, Goosen has finished 14th and 16th, as it seems he is trying to capture yet another U.S. Open.
While it is possible for him to win, it is just as possible for him to miss the cut early.
1.) Tiger Woods
Surprise, surprise. The no-doubt No. 1 guy that excels at the U.S. Open is none other than Tiger Woods.
What does Woods not excel at?
Now that's a good question.
Since his first appearance at the U.S. Open in 1995, Tiger Woods has captured three wins, two runner-ups, and a third place finish.
During the 15 years of his career, Woods has also only missed the cut one time, back in 2006.
Woods also has a number of Top 20 finishes to add to his resume.
The list goes on and on. There's no doubt who the guy is that can bring it the most at the U.S. Open: Tiger Woods.