- Associated Press - Saturday, June 9, 2012

A capsule look at 20 notable players in the U.S. Open, to be played June 14-17 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco:


Age: 42.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 36

Official wins: 16.

Majors: U.S. Open (2003).

U.S. Open highlight: Winning at Olympia Fields for his first major.

U.S. Open lowlight: Making bogey on his last two holes at Olympic to lose a shot at the U.S. Open scoring record.

Tee talk: Hasn’t won since capturing the FedEx Cup in 2010, though he came close in Tampa and he has been in the top 15 at six of his last eight tournaments. He fits the profile of a winner at Olympic Club _ a good driver, patient. Now it’s a matter of chipping and putting.


Age: 36.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 4.

Official wins: 85.

Majors: Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), U.S. Open (2000, 2002, 2008), British Open (2000, 2005, 2006), PGA Championship (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007).

U.S. Open highlight: Pebble Beach in 2000.

U.S. Open lowlight: Failing to make even a remote charge at Pebble Beach in 2010 when Dustin Johnson came back to the field.

Tee talk: The bookies installed him as the favorite right after he won the Memorial, just like they did at the Masters after he won at Bay Hill. The way he hit the ball at Memorial, he should be the favorite. This would give him three U.S. Open titles on different California courses. But if Furyk fits the profile of an Olympic champion, Woods fits as a runner-up, a list that includes Hogan, Palmer and Watson.


Age: 34.

Country: England.

World ranking: 1.

Official wins: 11.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: Opening with a 78 at Winged Foot in 2006 and bouncing back to tie for 12th.

U.S. Open lowlight: In his first major at No. 1 in the world, ended a streak of 10 straight top 10s with a tie for 45th at Congressional.

Tee talk: The more people say his is reign at No. 1 is coming to an end, he returns to the top. He won at Tampa in a playoff. He won at Wentworth in a rout. Finally getting the respect as No. 1 for the better part of a year. Could be argued, though, that he needs a major more than any other player at Olympic.


Age: 36.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 16.

Official wins: 8.

Majors: Masters (2007).

U.S. Open highlight: Shot par in his U.S. Open debut at Shinnecock Hills.

U.S. Open lowlight: Closed with an 80 in his U.S. Open debut at Shinnecock Hills.

Tee talk: When looking at the last two U.S. Open winners at Olympic, Johnson fits the bill. He’s a very good driver, though not terribly long, has control of his irons and putts very well. Tiger Woods once claimed Johnson was among the best putters. Johnson’s response that he’s only seen on TV when he’s in contention, and he’s only in contention when he’s putting well. A winner at Colonial, this could be an Open when he finally shows himself.


Age: 29.

Country: Italy.

World ranking: 33.

Official wins: 2.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: Tied for 27th in his debut at Bethpage Black.

U.S. Open lowlight: Hasn’t seen the weekend at a U.S. Open since Bethpage Black.

Tee talk: The Italian is one of the most understated players on the world stage. He’s very straight off the tee, though not terribly long. His putter is not always the strongest club in the bag, though he showed his potential in Shanghai two years ago with a fabulous duel with Lee Westwood to win the HSBC Champions.


Age: 39.

Country: England.

World ranking: 3.

Official wins: 34.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: Missing a playoff by only one shot at Torrey Pines.

U.S. Open lowlight: Faced with a 15-foot birdie putt to get into a playoff at Torrey Pines, he left it short.

Tee talk: Westwood is in a much better frame of mind this year. He is playing much better, has worked hard on his chipping (a key for the U.S. Open) and has reasonably good memories of Olympic from 1998, when he tied for seventh. At 39, his window to win a major is closing at medium speed.


Age: 23.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World ranking: 2.

Official wins: 5.

Majors: U.S. Open (2011).

U.S. Open highlight: Winning at Congressional with a record score of 16-under 268.

U.S. Open lowlight: Only once in three U.S. Opens has he finished out of the top 10. That was Pebble Beach, where he missed the cut.

Tee talk: He went from being the favorite to being a question mark in a matter of two weeks _ missed cuts at Wentworth and at the Memorial. His swing would indicate that he’s not far off. His body language would suggest a mild degree of concern. The last back-to-back champion of the U.S. Open was Curtis Strange in 1989.


Age: 33.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 6.

Official wins: 4.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: A big smile and a big finish at Olympic in 1998 when he tied for 14th as an amateur.

U.S. Open lowlight: Going 10 years before he played on the weekend again at a U.S. Open.

Tee talk: The Players Championship was the biggest win of his career, and more impressive was how he controlled his ball. The knock against Kuchar is not winning enough for all the times he gets himself into contention. Sawgrass should give him ample confidence, along with his good vibes from Olympic in 1998.


Age: 23.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 18.

Official wins: 2.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: Earning one of the last qualifying spots in 2008 and making the cut in his U.S. Open debut at Torrey Pines at age 19.

U.S. Open lowlight: Failing to qualifying for Pebble Beach in 2010.

Tee talk: He finally showed he was worthy of being in the conversation of young players when he won Quail Hollow, nearly won The Players Championship and was in the hunt at the Memorial. He shot 84 while paired with Tiger Woods in the last round at Muirfield Village. These things happen. But he got his first taste of the Tiger mystique, something that Rory McIlroy has yet to experience.


Age: 36.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 52.

Official wins: 5.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: Closing with an even-par 71 in the final round at Torrey Pines.

U.S. Open lowlight: He has yet to break par in 16 rounds at the U.S. Open.

Tee talk: The light side is that Crane is the only player from the “Golf Boys” video who hasn’t won this year. So maybe he’s due. The more serious side is that he has the tools of a typical U.S. Open player, and is one of the better putters in golf. The closest he has come to celebrating at a major was being on the 10th green at Augusta National when Bubba Watson won.


Age: 35.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 9.

Official wins: 2.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: Qualified for his first U.S. Open three years before his rookie season on the PGA Tour.

U.S. Open lowlight: The three times he has made the cut, he has scores of 78, 79 and 79 in the third round.

Tee talk: Dufner did not disappear after blowing a four-shot lead with three holes to play in the PGA Championship. He worked himself into contention all spring, then broke through with wins in New Orleans and Dallas, and got married. So it’s been a good year. Johnny Miller says most U.S. Open champions don’t have a pulse. Dufner is his kind of guy.


Age: 48.

Country: Spain.

World ranking:

Official wins: 18.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: Tying for first in the B-Flight at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

U.S. Open lowlight: Discovering there was no B-Flight and that he was 15 shots behind Tiger Woods.

Tee talk: There really is nothing more enjoyable than a nice cigar and a glass of red wine, though the Spaniard would surely add being the oldest and most interesting U.S. Open champion to that list. Get past his bizarre warm-up routine and the ponytail, and the Mechanic just might work at this major.


Age: 33.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 5.

Official wins: 4.

Majors: Masters (2012).

U.S. Open highlight: One shot off the lead going into the weekend at Oakmont, and finishing in a tie for 5th.

U.S. Open lowlight: Refused to speak even about his trip to the White House after a poor finish gave him a 71 in the first round at Congressional.

Tee talk: He is the only player who can win the Grand Slam this year after his Masters playoff win. Watson is capable of anything, and while it would seem he can be too wild for a U.S. Open, it’s impossible to rule him out. He missed the cut in his tuneup for Olympic Club. For Watson, the key will be not only how he handles the pressure of a U.S. Open course, but how he handles the stardom as a Masters champion.


Age: 30.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 8.

Official wins: 5.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: Contending at Bethpage until his approach hit the pin on the 16th hole and cost him a sure birdie.

U.S. Open lowlight: Not qualifying for the U.S. Open until his fourth year as a pro.

Tee talk: A two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year, Mahan would seem well-suited for the U.S. Open because he’s such a straight driver and always makes solid contact with his irons. Putting comes and goes, as it does for everyone. Bethpage, however, has been his only serious threat at winning. He has improved his chipping, although just like Westwood, the best measure of progress is at the U.S. Open.


Age: 32.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World ranking: 21

Official wins: 8.

Majors: U.S. Open (2010).

U.S. Open highlight: Holding the U.S. Open trophy on the 18th green at Pebble Beach.

U.S. Open lowlight: A final-round scoring average of 75.5.

Tee talk: McDowell appears to have gotten over his hangover from a dream year in 2010. He has never missed the cut in a U.S. Open and has been inside the top 20 the last three times, so he has something figured out. He can be a clutch putter, but above all, he knows how to grind and post a score. Might consider moving to Northern California if he can win another U.S. Open in these parts.


Age: 27.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 20.

Official wins: 5.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: Taking a three-shot lead into the final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

U.S. Open lowlight: Losing his three-shot lead after two holes of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Tee talk: No majors for Johnson, but quickly showing himself to be a major player. Has challenged on the back nine in three of the last eight majors. Played Olympic in the U.S. Amateur, so has at least some experience. He missed more than two months to fully recover from a back injury, and got right back into it at Memorial. The rap is his work ethic, and even though he’s still young, these next few years could be pivotal.


Age: 31.

Country: Australia.

World ranking: 17.

Official wins: 18.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: Getting to play with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson when the USGA went to the 1-2-3 grouping from world ranking.

U.S. Open lowlight: Has missed more cuts than he has made.

Tee talk: Asked if had Olympic memories, Scott said, “I nearly qualified for the 100 meters once.” He was joking, but he does have to pick up the pace. His only top 10 this year came at the Masters, where he never seriously contended. A light schedule at the start of the year, this figures to be a busy summer. In 44 majors, he has finished in the top 10 only seven times.


Age: 41 (turns 42 on Saturday of U.S. Open).

Country: United States.

World ranking: 12.

Official wins: 42.

Majors: Masters (2004, 2006, 2010), PGA Championship (2005).

U.S. Open highlight: Giving himself a chance to win on the back nine Sunday at eight U.S. Opens.

U.S. Open lowlight: Setting a record with five runner-up finishes.

Tee talk: Mickelson is as unpredictable as ever with his results. He looked great at Pebble Beach when he buried Tiger Woods, and he nearly overcame two triple bogeys to win the Masters. The other weeks, one part of his game has left him. Driving will be key for him at Olympic, but more significant is how he handles some of those 5- to 8-foot putts that have cost him over the years.


Age: 45.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 11.

Official wins: 11.

Majors: None.

U.S. Open highlight: Tied for the lead at Oakmont in 2007 with nine holes to play.

U.S. Open lowlight: Shot 42 on the back nine Sunday at Oakmont.

Tee talk: He won the season-opener at Kapalua, but has been relatively quiet since then. And horror of horrors, his putter has been a burden of late. He should be able to give himself a chance if he keeps it in play off the tee. Stricker played with winner Lee Janzen the last time the U.S. Open was held at Olympic.


Age: 49.

Country: Fiji.

World ranking: 82.

Official wins: 52.

Majors: Masters (2000), PGA Championship (1998, 2004).

U.S. Open highlight: Shooting a 63 in the second round at Olympia Fields in 2003.

U.S. Open lowlight: Not showing up for 36-hole qualifier last year, missing a major championship for the first time in 17 years.

Tee talk: This falls under the “just a hunch” category. For such a great career, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this three-time major champion gave himself one more chance at age 49. He hasn’t won a tournament since wrapping up the FedEx Cup in Boston in 2008. But he’s been showing some progress in the last month. No one older than 48 (Julius Boros) has won a major.

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