Dustin Johnson reinforced his status as the favourite for the 2018 U.S. Open this week with a stunning performance at the St. Jude Classic.
On Sunday the American clinched the title and moved up to No. 1 in the world with a victory. His final score of 19-under, six shots ahead of his nearest challenger, has many believing he can conjure something special at Shinnecock Hills in the coming days.
But as is the case in the current golfing world, there are many high-class players in the field ready to challenge Johnson, with a number of maiden major winners in recent years also joining the party.
The second major of the season is always an intriguing one, and 14 years on from when Shinnecock last hosted the tournament, it's poised to provide a devilish test for the world's best.
U.S. Open Odds
For the full figures for the entire field visit the OddsShark website.
Johnson In the Groove Ahead of U.S. Open Test
Every amateur golfer has dreamed of doing what Johnson did on Sunday at TPC Southwind.
Not only did he clinch victory in a prestigious event, the 2016 U.S. Open champion finished his final round off without having to take the cover off the top of his putter, holing his second shot from 171 yards for an eagle.
As we can see here, the moment triggered wild celebrations among the supporters watching around the 18th green:
While Johnson isn't a man to show his emotions often, confidence will be pulsing through him after such an incredible display, and that can only bode well ahead of the U.S. Open. But remarkably, no player who has won the week before the major has ever gone on to triumph in it.
"Why not be the first one to do it?" Johnson said of that particular trend, per Ali Stafford of Sky Sports. "I don't know why it hasn't happened, but the U.S. Open is a tough, tough place to go and win."
ESPN Stats & Info put the recent achievements of the new world No. 1 into some context:
There's a reason there's such a buzz around the sport at the moment, though, as many players appear capable of winning the biggest tournaments.
Rory McIlroy, a four-time major champion, is one, and some good performances in 2018 are reflected in him being second in the betting here. However, he's creeping up to four years without lifting one of golf's big four titles.
Another of golf's new generation, Jordan Spieth, has made his reputation on producing his best when the pressure bites in recent years. Despite being 24, he's won three major titles and was the U.S. Open champion in 2015 after a collapse on the final green from Johnson.
Justin Ray of the Golf Channel summed up just how prominent Spieth has been in the majors since bursting onto the scene:
Rickie Fowler has also been a contender in all four of the events without ever having gotten over the line. He's finished as a runner-up at the Masters, the U.S. Open and the Open, while his best finish at the USPGA Championship is third.
Having lost his world No. 1 status to Johnson, Justin Thomas is another player to keep an eye on, as he seeks to recapture his form from 2017. Justin Rose, who was excellent in winning the Fort Worth Invitational recently, also knows what's needed to win this event, securing the title in 2013.
Nevertheless, if Johnson carries his recent form into the coming week, he's going to be a hard man to stop.
Prediction: 1. Johnson, 2. Spieth, 3. Fowler