2024 U.S. Open: LIV Golf Contenders

2024 U.S. Open: LIV Golf Contenders

The U.S. Open 

Course: Pinehurst No. 2 (par 70, 7,543 yards)
Purse: $20,000,000 
Winner: $3,900,000

Preview

The LIV Golf season officially entered the second half of the season at the conclusion of LIV Golf Houston. While Carlos Ortiz came away with the first LIV Golf trophy of his career, two of the 13 players in the field for the U.S. Open Championship -- Adrian Meronk and David Puig -- were in close contention all tournament long. Meronk's play, along with teammate and captain Martin Kaymer, lifted Cleeks GC to their first victory in team history, while Puig and captain Sergio Garcia elevated Fireballs GC to their second T2 placement of the season.

The usual big names will be attending Pinehurst No. 2 for the third major of the season, but one that will not be in the field for the 2024 U.S. Open is 2021 winner Jon Rahm. The 29-year-old Spaniard withdrew in the second round of LIV Golf Houston due to an infection from a cut between his toes on his left foot, which halted his streak of top-10 finishes at LIV Golf tournaments at seven. Rahm finished T45 at the Masters and missed the cut at the PGA Championship, and the hope for the Legion XIII captain is that he will he able to participate in the fourth and final major of the year, the Open Championship, which starts July 18.

Still, there are others among the LIV Golf contingent who will be looking for glory at Pinehurst, including two-time U.S. Open Champion Brooks Koepka. The Smash GC captain wasn't exactly lighting it up over the first two rounds of LIV Golf Houston, but his seven-under 65 on Championship Sunday not only propelled him to a T9 finish, but also helped his team to a T2 finish with Fireballs GC. Other past U.S. Open Champions in the field this weekend include Kaymer (2014), Crushers GC captain Bryson DeChambeau (2020) and 4Aces GC captain Dustin Johnson (2016). Phil Mickelson has won every major except the U.S. Open, and the HyFlyers GC captain will look to complete the grand slam as he turns 54. Also in the hunt for their first U.S. Open trophy include Garcia (who was added as an alternate Monday), Puig, Meronk, Ripper GC captain Cameron Smith, Stinger GC's Dean Burmester, Legion XIII's Tyrrell Hatton and Fireball GC's Eugenio Chacarra.

Pinehurst No. 2 will be the venue for the third major of the season. At 7,543 yards, you would think that long-hitters like DeChambeau, Rahm and Johnson would be favored with the long and wide fairways, but the sandy waste areas and bunkers will be sure to give the players fits over the course of the tournament. The last time Pinehurst No. 2 hosted the U.S. Open was in 2014, which Kaymer won by eight strokes over Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton. For more about Pinehurst No. 2 -- including how its layout in 2024 compares to 10 years ago -- be sure to check out Len Hochberg's U.S. Open Power Rankings.

Here's how the LIV Golf contingent look heading into the third major of the year:

All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 12:00 PM ET Wednesday

Past U.S. Open Champions

Bryson DeChambeau (20-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: T18
  • LIV Golf Standings: 15th
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: 9
  • Performance at 2023 U.S. Open: T20
  • Performance at recent Majors: 2nd at 2024 PGA Championship, T6 at 2024 Masters, T60 at 2023 Open Championship

After finishing top-10 in four of the first five LIV Golf tournaments, DeChambeau hasn't managed to crack the top-15 over the last three events, including his T18 in Houston when he cooled off with an even-par 72 on Championship Sunday. Following LIV Golf Houston, he slipped to 15th in the individual season standings behind Crushers GC teammate Paul Casey (13th) and Legion XIII's Hatton. DeChambeau leads the LIV Golf league in total eagles (seven) and driving distance (320.9 yards). While he ranks in the top-15 in GIR, putting average and scrambling, his 52.08 percent driving accuracy ranks 41st for the season, which will get him into trouble at Pinehurst No. 2. DeChambeau has made the cut in six of his eight U.S. Open appearances, and he won in 2020 at Winged Foot Golf Club by six shots over Matthew Wolff.

Brooks Koepka (22-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: T9 
  • LIV Golf Standings: 4th
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: 11
  • Performance in 2023 U.S. Open: T17
  • Performance at recent Majors: T26 at 2024 PGA Championship, T45 at 2024 Masters, T64 at 2023 Open Championship

Koepka extended his streak of top-10 finishes at LIV Golf tournaments to three after shooting a seven-under 65 in the final round at LIV Golf Houston, which was the best score of the day. Koepka and teammate Talor Gooch powered Smash GC to a 14-under score in the final round and propelled the team to a tie with Fireballs GC for second place. Over the eight LIV Golf tournaments this season, Koepka ranks fourth in GIR (74.31 percent), fourth in birdies per round (4.67) and ninth in driving accuracy (61.9 percent). Koepka is the only two-time U.S. Open champion among the LIV Golf contingent, and he is one of only seven players to ever win this major in consecutive years (2017, 2018). He followed up those victories with a second and T4 finish in 2019 and 2021, respectively, and he has made the cut in all but one U.S. Open appearance.

Dustin Johnson (80-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: 13th
  • LIV Golf Standings: 7th
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: 17
  • Performance at 2023 U.S. Open: T10
  • Performance at recent Majors: T43 at 2024 PGA Championship, MC at 2024 Masters, MC at 2023 Open Championship

Johnson opened LIV Golf Houston strong with a five-under 67, two shots back of the clubhouse lead. He tapered off after that, scoring just three-under over the final two rounds, but the 4Aces GC captain has finished in the top-15 over the last two LIV Golf events. Johnson hasn't had a lot of success at recent majors, but he does have quite the history in the U.S. Open. After three-putting the 72nd green at Chambers Bay in 2015 to lose by one stroke to Jordan Spieth, Johnson redeemed himself the following year, winning at Oakmont Country Club in 2016 by three strokes over Jim Furyk, Shane Lowry and Scott Piercy. Johnson made the cut in the U.S. Open in each of the last six years, with top-10 finishes in three of them, and he finished T4 in 2014 at Pinehurst.

Martin Kaymer (500-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: T9
  • LIV Golf Standings: 36th
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: 16
  • Performance at 2023 U.S. Open: MC
  • Performance at recent Majors: T73 at 2024 PGA Championship. 

After failing to crack the top-20 in each of the first five LIV Golf tournaments, Kaymer has done so over the last three events, and his T9 finish in Houston was his best outing of his league career. His performance in Houston, along with runner-up Meronk and Richard Bland, helped Cleeks GC capture their first trophy in team history, beating Smash GC and Fireballs GC by two strokes. Kaymer appears to be rounding into form at the best possible time, as he looks to replicate his success from the 2014 U.S. Open.

The Rest of the Field

Cameron Smith (50-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: T48
  • LIV Golf Standings: 10th
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: 9
  • Qualification for U.S. Open: 2022 Open Championship Winner
  • Best U.S. Open Finish: 4th (2015, 2023)
  • Performance at recent Majors: T63 at 2024 PGA Championship, T6 at 2024 Masters, T33 at 2023 Open Championship

After finishing T41 at LIV Golf Jeddah, Smith had been in excellent form. He followed up his T2 finish at LIV Golf Hong Kong with a T6 finish at the 2024 Masters, tied with DeChambeau for the best performance out of the LIV Golf contingent. After withdrawing from LIV Golf Miami, Smith finished T14 and T2 in Adelaide and Singapore, respectively, before finishing T63 at the PGA Championship. He was sitting at eight-under with eight holes to go in Houston, but he collapsed over the last stretch of play with one triple bogey, four double bogeys and one bogey, which knocked himself and Ripper GC out of podium contention. Smith leads the LIV Golf league in putting average (1.52), and while he's generally known for his short play, it hasn't been reflected in the stats as he's middle of the pack in scrambling and GIR. Smith has finished fourth twice in the U.S. Open and has made the cut in five of his eight appearances at the major.

Tyrrell Hatton (55-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: T18
  • LIV Golf Standings: 14th
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: 8
  • Qualification for U.S. Open: OWGR Top-60, 2023 Tour Championship Eligible
  • Best U.S. Open Finish: T6 (2018)
  • Performance at 2023 U.S. Open: T27
  • Performance at recent Majors: T63 at 2024 PGA Championship, T9 at 2024 Masters, T20 at 2023 Open Championship

Hatton is sitting in 14th place in the LIV Golf individual season standings, which feels underwhelming given the immense talent of the Englishman. He's finished no worse than T21 over eight LIV Golf tournaments, and his best performance of the season arguably came at the Masters when he finished T9, earning him a spot in next year's event. Hatton ranks third this season in putting average (1.54) and 10th in scrambling (67.67 percent), though what has appeared to hold him back from winning a LIV Golf trophy has been his middle-of-the-pack numbers in GIR (69.21 percent - 27th) and his 52.38 percent driving accuracy, which ranks 39th in LIV Golf this season. Hatton has made the cut in each of his last two U.S. Open appearances, with his best performance coming in 2018 when he finished T6 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. 

Dean Burmester (80-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: T18
  • LIV Golf Standings: 3rd
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: 3
  • Qualification for U.S. Open: Final Qualifying at The Bear's Club
  • Best U.S. Open Finish: T56 (2018)
  • Performance at his last U.S. Open: MC (2019)
  • Performance at recent Majors: T12 at 2024 PGA Championship

Burmester's streak of top-15 finishes in LIV Golf tournaments ended at five in Houston, but his T18 finish still gave him points as he continues to sit in third place in the individual season standings behind Rahm and leader Joaquin Niemann. Through eight LIV Golf events this season, Burmester ranks third in driving distance (315.1 yards), eighth in scrambling (68.1 percent), ninth in GIR (73.09 percent) and in the top-15 in putting average, birdies and eagles. Like DeChambeau, Burmester is inconsistent off the tee, with his 53.13 percent driving accuracy ranking 37th this season. The South African finished T12 at the PGA Championship to earn an invitation for 2025, and he earned a spot at the U.S. Open after qualifying during Golf's Longest Day. In his two previous appearances at the U.S. Open, he missed the cut in 2019 at Pebble Beach and finished T56 at Shinnecok Hills Golf Club in 2018. 

Sergio Garcia (180-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: 5th
  • LIV Golf Standings: 6th
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: 25
  • Qualification for U.S. Open: Final Qualifying Alternate
  • Best U.S. Open Finish: T3 (2005)
  • Performance in 2023 U.S. Open: T27
  • Performance at recent Majors: MC at 2024 Masters

Garcia was steady at LIV Golf Houston, and his fifth-place finish marked his third top-5 placement of the season. Garcia and Puig helped Fireballs GC lead for much of Championship Sunday, but teammates Chacarra and Abraham Ancer were unable to hold up on their end, leading to the team's second T2 finish in a row. After falling short in the qualifying events, Garcia was given an invitation as an alternate. It marks the 25th straight year the Fireballs GC captain has participated in the U.S. Open and his 99th career major start. Garcia's best result at the U.S. Open was in 2005, when he finished tied with Tim Clark and Mark Hensby for third place at Pinehurst behind Tiger Woods and winner Michael Campbell. Garcia has displayed excellent accuracy in LIV Golf tournaments, ranking third in GIR (74.54 percent) and fourth in driving accuracy (65.48 percent), which should give him a fighting chance for his first U.S. Open victory.

Adrian Meronk (200-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: 2nd
  • LIV Golf Standings: 12th
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: 3
  • Qualification for U.S. Open: 2023 Race to Dubai Standings
  • Performance in 2023 U.S. Open: MC  
  • Performance at recent Majors: MC at 2024 PGA Championship, MC at 2024 Masters, T23 at 2023 Open Championship

The LIV Golf debutant had his best performance of the season in Houston, finishing two shots behind winner Ortiz. Meronk got off to a rough start in his first season with LIV, finishing 47th in Mayakoba, but has since rebounded with four top-10 finishes, and the Polish golfer now sits in 12th place in the individual season standings. He ranks seventh and ninth in total birdies and eagles, respectively, and is in the top-20 in putting average, driving distance, GIR and scrambling. Meronk has missed the cut in his two U.S. Open appearances, so hopefully he's able to build on his momentum from LIV Golf Houston to make it to rounds three and four at Pinehurst No. 2.

David Puig (250-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: T3
  • LIV Golf Standings: 28th
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: 2
  • Qualification for U.S. Open: Final Qualifying at Lake Merced Golf Club
  • Performance in 2023 U.S. Open: T39
  • Performance at recent Majors: MC at 2024 PGA Championship

Puig joined Burmester as the only two LIV Golf players to earn an invitation to the U.S. Open on Golf's Longest Day, with the Spaniard earning medalist honors at Lake Merced Golf Club. Puig is playing some of the best golf in his young career, as he followed up his qualification to the U.S. Open with a T3 finish at LIV Golf Houston, which was his best performance since joining the league in 2023. Puig finished the tournament sixth in driving distance (313.7 yards), though he did struggle getting onto the green, with his 65.51 percent GIR ranking 47th for the tournament. He has two professional wins on the Asian Tour at the 2023 International Series Singapore and 2024 IRS Prima Malaysian Open.

Phil Mickelson (350-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: T37
  • LIV Golf Standings: 39th
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: 33
  • Qualification for U.S. Open: 2021 PGA Championship Winner
  • Best U.S. Open Finish: 2nd (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2013)
  • Performance in 2023 U.S. Open: MC
  • Performance at recent Majors: MC at 2024 PGA Championship, T43 at 2023 Masters, MC at 2023 Open Championship

The most storied golfer of the LIV Golf representation at Pinehurst, Mickelson is on the hunt for the one major that has eluded him over his 32-year professional career. He'll turn 54 during the final round of the U.S. Open, and you hope to see the legendary lefty in the hunt on his birthday. Mickelson has accrued points in just two LIV Golf tournaments this season, but majors are what matters to the American as he looks to complete the grand slam. 

Eugenio Chacarra (1500-1)

  • Performance at LIV Golf Houston: 41st
  • LIV Golf Standings: 40th
  • Number of U.S. Open Appearances: Debut
  • Qualification for U.S. Open: Final Qualifying at Dallas Athletic Club

Chacarra will make his major debut in the U.S. Open after finishing second at a qualifying event at Dallas Athletic Club. Chacarra's best performance of the season came in Singapore when he finished T10, though he didn't have the best finish at LIV Golf Houston, carding a three-over 75 on Championship Sunday. Fireballs GC will be well represented at Pinehurst with Chacarra, Puig and captain Garcia all in the field for the third major of the season.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cullum Brownbridge
Cullum is a RotoWire contributor for the NFL, NBA, MLB and Golf. He is irrationally pessimistic about his favorite sports teams.
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