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      Power Rankings: U.S. Open

    • Bubba Watson plays a Monday practice round at Pinehurst No. 2 in preparation for the U.S. Open. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Bubba Watson plays a Monday practice round at Pinehurst No. 2 in preparation for the U.S. Open. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

    It may offer the most recognizable bird's-eye view of any golf course on Google Maps if for no other reason than it sprawls in stark contrast to its seven brothers at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. The renovated No. 2 course hosts this week's 114th U.S. Open.

    If Pinehurst is the capital of golf in the United States, as Zach Johnson said recently, then what Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have done to restore No. 2 to a design more resembling what Donald Ross created in 1907 would be like Major League Baseball rebuilding Crosley Field in Cincinnati and using it for league play. The schematics of the U.S. Open are truly an homage to the past albeit influenced with modern equipment and decades of knowledge to tailor to the abilities of current talent. All that might be missing is a black-and-white image on your HDTV.

    At 7,562 yards, Pinehurst No. 2 measures exactly what Quail Hollow listed on its scorecard. The difference is that Pinehurst will play to a par of 70, two short of the host site of the Wells Fargo Championship. There is no rough at Pinehurst, at least in terms of its colloquially connected definition for grass. Instead, expanses of sand, native grass and throwback hazards like exposed tree roots and naturally created depressions yield more than enough reason not to become acquainted with any of it.

    With a fine line between superb and terrible lies off the tee and greens somewhat reminiscent to the terrace in left field at Crosley, course management will be key as it always is in this championship, but confident drivers will have an advantage given the overall length. A high ball-flight into the greens will be valuable, but touch around them will likely separate the field deep into the tournament. Scrambling (and statistically, bogey avoidance) could matter more than hitting greens in regulation since few if any of the entrants can draw back on experience putting them. They average just under 6,400 square feet, which is comparable to the overall average of PGA TOUR courses.

    If anyone is going to throw a wrench into this turn-back-the-clock week, it's Mother Nature. A similar threat of inclement weather that populated the short-range forecast in Memphis a week ago returns for the major. High temperatures in the upper 80s will help fuel thunderstorms. Wind is not expected to be a factor, but it should never be ruled out.

    POWER RANKINGS: U.S. OPEN

    RANK

    PLAYER

    COMMENT

    1 Adam Scott Adam Scott

    The world-No. 1 is without a top 10 in 12 tries in this event, but should love the look. Fifth in adjusted scoring; T16 in bogey avoidance.

    The world-No. 1 is without a top 10 in 12 tries in this event, but should love the look. Fifth in adjusted scoring; T16 in bogey avoidance.

    2 Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy

    Consistently strong all year. Recent winner in Europe. The 2011 champ at Congressional flights it long and high. Third in adjusted scoring.

    Consistently strong all year. Recent winner in Europe. The 2011 champ at Congressional flights it long and high. Third in adjusted scoring.

    3 Phil Mickelson Phil Mickelson

    As he chases the career grand slam, all that matters is that there isn't anything that rules him out. Short-game ingenuity is ace up sleeve.

    As he chases the career grand slam, all that matters is that there isn't anything that rules him out. Short-game ingenuity is ace up sleeve.

    4 Bubba Watson Bubba Watson

    Big question: Does Pinehurst fit his eye? Ranks sixth in GIR, fourth in adjusted scoring, second in bogey avoidance. Solo third at Memorial.

    Big question: Does Pinehurst fit his eye? Ranks sixth in GIR, fourth in adjusted scoring, second in bogey avoidance. Solo third at Memorial.

    5 Matt Kuchar Matt Kuchar

    One top 10 in 11 U.S. Open starts, but leads PGA TOUR with nine top 10s. Short, low ball flight may pose a challenge, but fifth in bogey avoidance.

    One top 10 in 11 U.S. Open starts, but leads PGA TOUR with nine top 10s. Short, low ball flight may pose a challenge, but fifth in bogey avoidance.

    6 Jason Day Jason Day

    Owns one of the highest ball flights in the world, has more than enough length and possesses envious touch. Two-time U.S. Open runner-up.

    Owns one of the highest ball flights in the world, has more than enough length and possesses envious touch. Two-time U.S. Open runner-up.

    7 Webb Simpson Webb Simpson

    The 2012 champ at Olympic Club is more familiar with Pinehurst. Coming off a T3 in Memphis. Ranks seventh in the all-around.

    The 2012 champ at Olympic Club is more familiar with Pinehurst. Coming off a T3 in Memphis. Ranks seventh in the all-around.

    8 Hideki Matsuyama Hideki Matsuyama

    Took the week off after winning the Memorial. T10 in U.S. Open debut at Merion last year. T23 in scrambling; 16th in adjusted scoring.

    Took the week off after winning the Memorial. T10 in U.S. Open debut at Merion last year. T23 in scrambling; 16th in adjusted scoring.

    9 Bill Haas Bill Haas

    While his Carolina ties are convenient, he's fresh off a T8 at Memorial and ranks 17th in greens in regulation and 28th in bogey avoidance.

    While his Carolina ties are convenient, he's fresh off a T8 at Memorial and ranks 17th in greens in regulation and 28th in bogey avoidance.

    10 Sergio Garcia Sergio Garcia

    No negative reports since injuring his left knee in Europe. Leads the PGA TOUR in adjusted scoring, bogey avoidance and par-4 scoring.

    No negative reports since injuring his left knee in Europe. Leads the PGA TOUR in adjusted scoring, bogey avoidance and par-4 scoring.

    11 Jim Furyk Jim Furyk

    Long associated with being built for this major, the 2003 champ leads the TOUR in scrambling and ranks fourth in bogey avoidance.

    Long associated with being built for this major, the 2003 champ leads the TOUR in scrambling and ranks fourth in bogey avoidance.

    12 Charl Schwartzel Charl Schwartzel

    Flying under the radar as usual, but shouldn't be. Seven top 20s in 10 starts, all since February. Top 15s in two of last three U.S. Opens.

    Flying under the radar as usual, but shouldn't be. Seven top 20s in 10 starts, all since February. Top 15s in two of last three U.S. Opens.

    13 Billy Horschel Billy Horschel

    Rounding back into form with a T15 at Memorial and T6 in Memphis. May need to lead field in GIR to contend; ranks fifth on TOUR.

    Rounding back into form with a T15 at Memorial and T6 in Memphis. May need to lead field in GIR to contend; ranks fifth on TOUR.

    14 Justin Rose Justin Rose

    Defending champ may be hurt by a de-emphasis of controlling tee ball, but he recently connected four top 15s capped by T4 at THE PLAYERS.

    Defending champ may be hurt by a de-emphasis of controlling tee ball, but he recently connected four top 15s capped by T4 at THE PLAYERS.

    15 Jordan Spieth Jordan Spieth

    Rested after a T19 at Memorial, his 13th top 20 of the season. Currently seventh in adjusted scoring and 24th bogey avoidance.

    Rested after a T19 at Memorial, his 13th top 20 of the season. Currently seventh in adjusted scoring and 24th bogey avoidance.

    16 Dustin Johnson Dustin Johnson

    Good fit, both in profile and form. Three top 25s in last four starts. Maybe the longest and highest off the tee, but will need to hit GIR.

    Good fit, both in profile and form. Three top 25s in last four starts. Maybe the longest and highest off the tee, but will need to hit GIR.

    17 Keegan Bradley Keegan Bradley

    Hits it high and long. Despite riding a roller coaster in scoring for months, he's T16 in bogey avoidance and 34th in adjusted scoring.

    Hits it high and long. Despite riding a roller coaster in scoring for months, he's T16 in bogey avoidance and 34th in adjusted scoring.

    18 Jason Dufner Jason Dufner

    T4 in last two U.S. Opens, so he's proven, but his recent form is also strong. Chased playoff loss at Colonial with a T19 at the Memorial.

    T4 in last two U.S. Opens, so he's proven, but his recent form is also strong. Chased playoff loss at Colonial with a T19 at the Memorial.

    19 Henrik Stenson Henrik Stenson

    Quietly logged four top 10s in his last seven starts worldwide, including a solo fifth in Sweden two weeks ago. Sits 21st in ball-striking.

    Quietly logged four top 10s in his last seven starts worldwide, including a solo fifth in Sweden two weeks ago. Sits 21st in ball-striking.

    20 Miguel Jimenez Miguel Jimenez

    Defying all kinds of odds. Despite his age (50), took solo fourth at the Masters and won the Open de España. T5 last week in Austria.

    Defying all kinds of odds. Despite his age (50), took solo fourth at the Masters and won the Open de España. T5 last week in Austria.

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