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Player capsules for the US Open at Pinehurst

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 7, 2014 at 9:57 am •  Published: June 6, 2014
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PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — A capsule look at 10 top players expected to contend at the 114th U.S. Open golf championship at Pinehurst No. 2:

HENRIK STENSON

Age: 38.

Country: Sweden.

World ranking: 2.

Worldwide wins: 13.

Majors: None.

US Open memory: Wanting to see Torrey Pines for the first time ahead of the 2008 U.S. Open, he went online to book a tee time and was sent out with two paying customers from Orange County. One of them was woman named Pamela Anderson. Just not the actress.

Backspin: He was arguably the best player in golf for the second half of last season, and while this has been a slow start to the new year, his game is rounding into form at the right time. His driving (great length even with a 3-wood) is critical, as is the iron play. He could go to No. 1 in the world with a victory, and become the first Swedish male to win a major. This will be his first time playing Pinehurst.

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PHIL MICKELSON

Age: 43

Country: United States.

World ranking: 11

Worldwide wins: 45.

Majors: Masters (2004, 2006, 2010), British Open (2013), PGA Championship (2005).

US Open memory: Six silver medals, the most runner-up finishes of any players in a single major without winning it.

Backspin: This is the deepest he has gone into a year without winning since 2003, which doesn't bode well. And while he was runner-up in Pinehurst in 1999, he tied for 33rd in 2005. It's a small sample size. But he plays the U.S. Open better and more consistently well than any major except for the Masters. The insider trading investigation would seem to be a major distraction. But this is Mickelson, who never ceases to surprise.

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RORY MCILROY

Age: 24.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World ranking: 6.

Worldwide wins: 11.

Majors: US Open (2011), PGA Championship (2012).

US Open memory: Setting the U.S. Open scoring record of 268 when he won at Congressional.

Backspin: There are times when McIlroy looks like the best player in the world. There are times — especially the second round, when he has had five 9-hole scores of 40 or higher — when he does not. The knock on his record U.S. Open win at Congressional was the rain-softened course. His odds at Pinehurst No. 2 will depend on how well he can minimize his mistakes. And how many putts he can make.

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SERGIO GARCIA

Age: 34.

Country: Spain.

World ranking: 8.

Worldwide wins: 24.

Majors: None.

US Open memory: The verbal abuse from the New York gallery in Bethpage Black in 2002, much of which Garcia brought on himself with his endless waggles and his complaints that Tiger Woods was getting special treatment.

Backspin: The U.S. Open would seem to be the major best suited for Garcia, a brilliant driver and iron players. But he has only had one reasonable chance, and that was 12 years ago at Bethpage. He tied for third at Pinehurst in 2005, though he was eight shots behind going into Sunday and finished five shots behind the leader. He would get most everyone's vote as the most talented player without a major.

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ADAM SCOTT

Age: 33.

Country: Australia.

World ranking: 1.

Worldwide wins: 24.

Majors: Masters (2013).

US Open memory: Joining Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as the third wheel at Torrey Pines in 2008, the first time the U.S. Open went to a 1-2-3 grouping based on the world ranking. Scott was No. 3. Not many imagined that he would ever get to No. 1.

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