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Scheffler's reign, US Open preview

Any second thoughts on picking Scottie Scheffler at Pinehurst?

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Check in every week for the unfiltered views of our writers and editors as they analyze the hottest topics in sports, and join the conversation by tweeting us at @igalofu_com. This week, we discuss any potential doubt (or lack thereof) of picking Scottie Scheffler at Pinehurst and preview this week's US Open.

1. Scottie Scheffler won the Memorial Sunday, his fifth win in 2024, the first to do so at this point in the season since 1980. He now heads to the US Open at Pinehurst No. 2 and as a heavy betting favorite. Despite his success, should there be any hesitation in picking him since he has never won a major other than Augusta National?

Jessica Marksbury, editor-in-chief (@jess_marksbury): It feels impossible to bet against Scottie Scheffler these days. I'm having a hard time finding any metric that will stop me from picking him as a favorite. Golf is fickle, anyone can have a bad day at any time, but Scheffler's consistency is one of his most impressive stats. He hasn't missed a cut in nearly two years. He hasn't finished outside the top 17 since last August. Before the Memorial, his last seven tournaments included four wins, two runner-up finishes and a T8 at the PGA – after being arrested. Is anyone stopping this guy? I don't think so!

Scottie Scheffler pumps his fist after winning the Memorial.

Scottie Scheffler gets 5th win of 2024, 1st as dad, at Memorial


Jack Hirsh

Josh Sens, senior author (@joshsens): The course horse thing doesn't apply to Scheffler. His game is perfect, he can go anywhere. It's time for him to win another major besides the Masters. The Rescuers have a right to be his favorite here.

Jonathan Wall, equipment editor (@jonathanrwall): Anyone who would hesitate to pick a Scottie to win marks in any subject should be admitted to a mental ward. As Josh said, his game is going. I hate to pick chalk in a large area, but I don't see anyone chasing it in Pinehurst.

2. Pinehurst No. 2 will play a major role in the US Opens going forward, as it was the first official “participation” in golf's national championships. We haven't seen a professional host since 2014. For the uninitiated, how different is Donald Ross's design compared to recent big stops, and what kind of player/game works best here?

beautiful picture of pinehurst no.  2 statue of payne stewart

9 lessons from the golfer playing US Open host Pinehurst No. 2


James Colgan

Marksbury: Another thing that impressed me when I got the chance to play Pinehurst was how hard it was to lose the ball. You can find — and play! — the ball from anywhere. (A huge advantage for us recreational players!) But even at the top, I think that will be helpful for tall guys who tend to blow it a little, because the penalty is less compared to other courses. The greens are where the course really shows its teeth, so I'm betting on guys with short game skills to step up.

Senses: The greens are difficult at most US Open venues. But the turtlebacks at Pinehurst want more. There's a reason we joke that at Pinehurst, they don't follow greens by law They track greens you have been visited according to the law. It's just not hard to beat. It's hard to catch. You miss your place and bye bye. There's no difficulty in Number 2, so that's another big difference. But there are tons of sandy debris with clumps of native grass that can cause all kinds of misery, so you can't just hit it anywhere out of the game. A sharp short game is essential in any major. But range control is going to be important in the lanes, so if I were analyzing stats for office pool purposes, I'd be looking more closely at the metal game.

3. What about Tiger Woods? Do you see his first US Open appearance in four years going better than his major debut this year (60th Masters, missed PGA cut)?

Marksbury: Tiger's recent performances have shown us that he still has all the shots. What he lacks is strength for four rounds, and reps. Pinehurst is a soft ride, and I think that's typical of Tiger. I expect him to win, and improve when he finishes his Masters, although I doubt he will run.

Sens. I'm with you, Jess. As at Augusta, he'll be able to rely on his gut and guile but without the painful bumpy ride. I could see his short game – and his mental game – keeping him around for the weekend. And maybe even in the mix.

Wall: Making it through 72 holes would be an achievement. We've seen Tiger grind through the weekend at the majors, but he often runs out of gas before the final round. I don't see things changing this week except that he wants to increase the number of representatives in the tournaments before the big games.

4. Bryson DeChambeau was LIV's top player this year, finishing sixth at the Masters and earning a medal at the PGA Championship. Do you see this trend continuing in Pinehurst?

bryson dechambeau tips cap in navy hat at the PGA Championship.

Bryson DeChambeau's PGA woes end with 'shocking' twist


James Colgan

Marksbury: Pinehurst seems to be a great fit for Bryson. It was also nice to see what seems to be a renewed spiritual light in him. He seems to be enjoying his role as a whistleblower, which probably makes his golf better.

Senses: Bryson seems to be in a good place mentally and physically. My guess is that Pinehurst is not the kind of course that he will be able to easily bend to his will with his power, at least not like he did in Valhalla. But we already know he has a game that won the US Open. It's hard not to rank him among the top 5 prospects entering the week.

Wall: I can't name another LIV expert that I would take over Bryson. Brooks Koepka has great championship pedigree and knows how to handle the ups and downs of the US Open, but it's hard to predict which Koepka will emerge. The latter bias makes Bryson the obvious choice.

5. Which US Open storyline should be on everyone's radar?

Marksbury: I'm looking forward to seeing potential next-gen competitors. In addition to Scottie's reign, we have the likes of newly minted champion Xander Schauffele and two-time champion Collin Morikawa who seem to be cracking all at the same time. This should be a great heat store, and hopefully, a glimpse into the future of golf.

Senses: Which Jon Rahm will we see. The world beater of yesteryear? Or the dismal underperformer of 2024? He recently pulled out of an LIV event this week, citing injury. But apart from the physical issues, he has been seen fighting with himself since joining LIV. It's an interesting psychological study, as golf often is.

Wall: Can Xander keep his incredible run in the majors alive? As statistician Justin Ray recently noted on social media, X is the first professional to start his US Open career with 7 straight finishes out of 15 since Bobby Jones (11 straight, 1920-30). Absurd statistics that highlight his incredible consistency in golf's toughest major test. We knew he had a game to play, but his success at Valhalla proves he can seal the deal. Now it's time to see if you have what it takes to become a big time winner. If anyone is going to knock Scottie off his chair, it's Xander.

6. Let's have a simple one. In a recent student survey conducted by, we gathered your thoughts on many different ethical topics. Some of the most interesting answers were about the most annoying golf habits. Here's what our readers have to say. What is your answer?

A man using a phone on the golf course

Most annoying golf habit? Here's what nearly 4,000 golfers have to say


Josh Sens

Marksbury: My biggest peeve is taking too long to get out. I like to play good golf, but if I don't play off the same tee as my teammates, I often have to wait for what feels like years for my teammates to move on. It's annoying!

Senses: I join our students in playing a little. But other than that, I'd say a golfer who talks non-stop about his game, makes excuses and talks about the pictures as you stand and watch them yourself. That gets old fast. Anger can also end. But those are painful enough to be funny, so at least they have some entertainment value.

Wall: If someone talks to my ball while it's in the air. Please stop calling it “down” or “come back.” It won't listen to you. Silence is always preferred.

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