Scottie Scheffler, freed of charges from his arrest outside the PGA Championship last month, enters the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina this week as the clear favourite while Xander Schauffele hopes to build on his major breakthrough.

In addition to building on an already remarkable year on the golf course, Scheffler will undoubtedly be hoping this week goes smoother than his time in Louisville, Kentucky, last month when he was arrested before the second round of the PGA Championship.

Thankfully for Scheffler he can focus entirely on golf as all charges from the incident in Louisville were dropped after what a prosecutor agreed was a misunderstanding between the world’s top-ranked golfer and an officer directing traffic.

The 27-year-old Scheffler, who won the Memorial Tournament on Sunday, counts the Masters among his five titles this year on the PGA Tour where he has finished outside the top 10 just once in 13 events and cemented himself as the preeminent force in men’s golf.

And while Scheffler has never played Pinehurst No. 2 he most certainly has a game suitable for a U.S. Open – considered the toughest test in golf – having finished one shot back of the winner in 2022 and solo third in 2023 when he was three back.

But Scheffler will face plenty of challengers, perhaps none greater than newly minted major winner Schauffele who is riding high after winning the PGA Championship where his 21 under total marked the lowest score to par in major history.

Schauffele has six top-10 U.S. Open finishes but enters this one with a lot less baggage after silencing his doubters by shedding the unofficial title of “best current player to never win a major” that had followed him around for years.

Among the other top contenders are Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, who has top-10 finishes in each of his last five U.S. Open appearances and is desperately looking to end his 10-year major drought.

McIlroy failed to crack the top-10 at either of the year’s first two majors and enters the U.S. Open fresh off a share of 15th place at the Memorial Tournament.

Former champion Bryson DeChambeau, one of 12 LIV Golf players in the 156-player field this week, will be eager to return to the major stage on the heels of a runner-up finish at the PGA Championship with what he later called his “B” game.

DeChambeau, whose length off the tee will certainly be an asset at Pinehurst, provided plenty of great theatre during an electric final round at the PGA Championship where he walked away a fan favourite.

Another name to watch will be Brooks Koepka, who has become synonymous with success at major championships but took a step back this year as the five-time major winner finished outside the top 25 at the Masters and PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods, whose 15 major championships include three U.S. Open titles, accepted a special invitation to compete this week in what will be his fourth event of the year and first since the PGA Championship where he missed the cut by eight shots.

Phil Mickelson, who became golf’s oldest champion when he won the PGA Championship at 50, will once again be hoping to turn back the clock and complete the career Grand Slam with a win on Sunday, which is also his 54th birthday.

The six-time major champion has been a runner-up at the U.S. Open a record six times and he has missed the cut the last two years.

This year marks the first U.S. Open held at Pinehurst since 2014 when Germany’s Martin Kaymer won by eight strokes.


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