Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Power rankings: 116th U.S. Open

The 116th U.S. Open returns to Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh for a record ninth time, with Jordan Spieth defending the title he won in dramatic fashion a year ago at Chambers Bay. Last year's host and this year's, which is practically synonymous with the national championship, couldn't be more different.

However, a lot of the players that are mentioned as likely contenders to win were on the short list a year ago.

Here are our top five players for the year's second major championship:

1. Jason Day -- Best player on the planet right now. Doesn't need driver. Leads in strokes gained putting. Has finished out of the top nine once in the last five years at the U.S. Open.

2. Dustin Johnson -- I know, Johnson isn't exactly the poster child for closing out tournaments. But he's a top-10 machine, including top-four finishes in the last two Opens.

3. Rory McIlroy -- The Irish Open winner enjoyed a back-door top-five at Memorial. His ballstriking is on point, which will be key this week. But can he avoid 3-putts at Oakmont?

4. Jordan Spieth -- The defending champion won at Colonial in dramatic fashion, then put up his normal nonchalant Memorial performance. That throws off the scent. He's the best putter on the planet and should shine on these greens.

5. Matt Kuchar -- Kuchar is playing weekly top-five golf right now and has a solid history of finishing right around 12th place in the U.S. Open in the last five years. Worth a strong look.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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