It’s fair to say that golfers from our shores have faired well at the US Open of late. Last year’s champion Justin Rose is testament to that, not forgetting the wins from Northern Irish pair Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy in 2010 and 2011.
Lets take a look at who will be hoping to become the fourth British champion in five years.
Stephen Gallacher's US Open record
Stephen Gallacher has had a great 2014. The Scot started the year ranked 66th in the world, but with five-top-ten finishes in his 12 events this year he has risen to 35th and shows no signs of slowing down. A top-ten finish would give Paul McGinley a serious headache over Ryder Cup spots.
Chris Doak had to come through qualifying at Walton Heath to make this year’s field, and in doing so the Scotsman makes it two US Opens in as many years. He missed the cut last year, however, Doak finished 12th in the the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Perhaps this experience of mixing it with the best will give him a greater sense of belief this time around.
Justin Rose is this year’s defending champion and the bookies favourite to be the top Englishman when it’s all said and done. If you take his form in the last four or five weeks and compare it to his form leading up to last season’s championship, this year Rose has performed significantly better.
Time is not on Lee Westwood’s side, and for some his best chance to win a major has been and gone. Although, Westwood has been a fighter all his career, and if he can putt well this week there’s no reason why he can’t get his hands on a major.
Luke Donald's US Open record
You could be forgiven for thinking that Luke Donald doesn’t have the length off the tee to challenge at the US Open. However, despite a driving distance of 279-yards on average, Donald showed last year he’s a serious contender. In 2013 the Englishman shot his best ever US Open score – 68 in round one – and finished tied eighth – his best ever finish.
If Ian Poulter can finish in the top-ten at Pinehurst it would be his best finish in the event. Poulter has had a quiet season this far, with only two-top-ten finishes all year. Although one of those did come at last week’s St Jude Classic, it’s not looking likely sadly.
Paul Casey is experiencing a return to form, having fallen dramatically in the world rankings in the last few years, and at around 100/1 to win at most bookies, he is a good outside bet. A combined 30-under-par for the season so far, Casey heads into a major championship playing his best golf in years.
Also in the field: Danny Willett - Graeme Storm - Justin Engrose - Simon Griffiths - Oliver Fisher - Matthew Fitzpatrick (a) - Tom Lewis
Rory McIlroy's US Open
Spearheading not just the Irish challenge, but the overall challenge for the 2014 US Open is Rory McIlroy. His form this year sees Rory enter the tournament on the back of a victory at Wentworth, plus two runner-up finishes and a host of other top-tens. It would take a brave man to discount McIlroy’s chances of adding the 2014 US Open crown to to his 2011 triumph.
The tag of ‘dark horse’ in the 2014 field may well go to Graeme McDowell. Having recently returned from a three-week rest G-Mac warmed up for the US Open by shooting a respectable three-under-par total at the St Judes Championship. With an automatic Ryder Cup sport looking unlikely, McDowell, will be hoping to impress Paul McGinely with a strong finish come the end of the week.
Also in the field: Darren Clarke.
Jamie Donaldson made his US Open debut last year, finishing 32nd, and this year, following on from his tied 14th finish at the Masters, he heads to Pinehurst that little bit wiser.
US Open tee times
For the full list of this year’s field, and first round tee times, click here.