published Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Pinehurst Picks: Five goflers watch at the U.S. Open

One story-line dominates the U.S. Open.

Can Phil Mickelson complete the career Grand-Slam? He's won the Masters, the PGA Championship and the British Open just last year, but he still has never won at the U.S. Open

There are 155 other golfers who want the trophy as well. Some of the current studs of the game need a major to validate their value in the sports landscape that goes beyond golf -- Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson, and Matt Kuchar are prime examples.

Predicting the victor at the U.S. Open is more precarious than any other national championship of the last 20 years. It's an imperfect science.

Here are golfers with very good chances this week at Pinehurst No. 2

Matt Kuchar

He has nine top-10s this year, one victory and the consistency to compete at Pinehurst No. 2.

Rory McIlroy

He clobbered the field in one U.S. Open and won a PGA Championship at another sandy place -- the Ocean Course.

Dustin Johnson

He's known for length, he's come close to winning two majors including the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Phil Mickelson

He's the biggest name in the game with Tiger out injured. His short game is spectacular and needed on turtle-back greens.

Webb Simpson

He grew up in Raleigh, won a state championship in Pinehurst and is two years removed from winning the U.S. Open.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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