Demanding off the tee, the New York-based course features some of the wildest green complexes of any American venue that hosts major championships.
The narrow fairways, ferocious greens and juicy rough will make for a seismic test – and scoring is expected to be high with a potential winning score over par.
In 2006, for example, Geoff Ogilvy won at Winged Foot despite not recording a round under par, finishing five-over for his four rounds.
Of the contenders this week, world number one Dustin Johnson will draw plenty of interest after his sizzling form since the PGA Championship last month.
The Florida manheld a 54-hole lead at TPC Harding Park, carded 68 and still finished two-shots behind compatriot Collin Morikawa for his fifth career runner-up in a major.
He enjoyed one of the most dominant performances in PGA Tour history a fortnight later, posting 30-under total to win The Northern Trust in Boston by 11 strokes.
The 2016 US Open championlost in a play-off the next week to Jon Rahm at the Memorial then won the Tour Championship for a staggering $15 million payday.
Recording two wins and two seconds against the world’s best in his last four starts, Johnson is at the pinnacle of his game.
Withso little between the top five players in golf, having that extra confidence is often the difference.
He’s putting well at the moment, he’s got that focus and grit between his teeth, and he’s ticking all the right boxes to threaten the head of the leaderboardat Winged Foot.
For Jon Rahm, it’s been a breakthrough year as such, reaching world number one for the first time in July and stepping his game up to another level.
The Spaniard has been majestic, finishing top-10 in four of his last sixstarts and winning the Memorial Tournament in July.
He is the topplayer in the world without a major, his 11 victories and 51 top-10s in 100 career starts highlightinghis complete all-round game.
The intriguingaspect aboutthe 25-year-oldis that he already has two wins this year on tortuous US Open-like venues – Muirfield Village and the Olympia Fields.
If he fails to shine, then expect the likes of Rory McIlroy, Collin Mokirawa, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffelle and Tommy Fleetwood to contend.
The same goes for Justin Thomas, an absolute talisman on his day with his Tiger-like iron play.
The 2017 PGA Championship winner is one of two players with three victories this season, continuing to add to his burgeoning trophy cabinet.
While the Kentucky native tends toexcelin normal tour events, with 13 PGA Tour titles, his form at majors has been mixed, with just three top-10s in 18 major starts.
Still, the 27-year-old cannot be dismissed as a serious contender, hischipping and sharp approaches from 125-150 yardswill be criticalin tackling the fast greens and lush rough.
For the rest of the field, driving accuracy andan exceptional short gamewill be integral around Winged Foot, making course management and shot selection absolutely critical.
The US Open is the most testing of the four majors. It’s the toughest to win and even the world’s star names struggle to salvage par. Maybe that’s what makes it so special, one of the great events because anyone can prevail.
Whoever can grind out some consistency across the weekend, stay patience in pressure moments and putt well will have rightfully earned the famedmajor crown.
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