A Quick Nine: Your U.S. Open predictions

Rory McIlroy
Getty Images
Shocking to the PGA.com editors, defending U.S. Open champ Rory McIlroy didn't receive enough support from PGA.com Facebook Nation to garner a spot in the top 9.
By
T.J. Auclair, Interactive Producer
PGA.com

Series: A Quick Nine - Seagrams

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 | 12:51 p.m.

The U.S. Open -- which many have dubbed the most difficult major championship to win -- takes place this week at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

It should be a great one too, considering we're off to the best start to a PGA Tour season in recent memory. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlory, Luke Donald, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson -- they've all been winners so far this season.

A QUICK NINE

Our 150,000+ strong Facebook nation shares their expertise and experiences to help augment YOUR golf game in our Seagram's "A Quick Nine" series. Here are some important lists which show why "It's Good to Be You."

So, we turn to you, PGA.com Facebook Nation: Who's your pick to win the 2012 U.S. Open?

Below is a look at the top answers we received. Notably absent: McIlroy, the defending champ. Hey, you guys put the list together, not us!

9. Andy Zhang. Never heard of him? Let's put it this way: You probably have underwear older than Zhang. He was the second alternate this week and after the withdrawals of Brandt Snedeker (rib injury) and Paul Casey (shoulder injury), the 14-year-old Zhang -- you read that right, folks, 14-YEAR-OLD -- got in, becoming the youngest U.S. Open participant in history. He won't win, but this is a name you certainly don't want to forget.

Facebook fan quote:

"Andy Zhang!" -- Aaron Manza

8. Steve Stricker. Let's face it; a major championship is the only thing missing from Stricker's impressive resume. And, at 45 years old, he's running out of chances. When the U.S. Open was last held at Olympic Club in 1998, Stricker tied for fifth, matching his career-best U.S. Open finish. Maybe this is the week.

Facebook fan quote:

"Steve Stricker a true sleeper for this one." -- Bill Below

7. Luke Donald. Arguably the most underappreciated, underrated superstar in the game, Donald is the world's No. 1 ranked player and he's dying to win a major. He doesn't make many mistakes, so you'd think a U.S. Open set up might be just the place for him to succeed. However, Donald's best finish in a U.S. Open is a tie for 12th in 2006.

Facebook fan quote:

"Luke Donald. He's the best player alive without a Major win. Hasn't won since Transitions so he's due." -- Paul Brewer

6. Lee Westwood. Long considered the best-player-never-to-win-a-major, Westwood heads to Olympic Club on the heels of a win in last week's Nordea Masters on the European Tour. Can he take that momentum to San Francisco, where he tied for seventh in 1998? Overall, Westwood has four top-10 finishes in the U.S. Open.

Facebook fan quotes:

"Lee Westwood. He's due." -- Kyle Light

"Let's go with Lee Westwood. I think his putting has finally come around and he's poised to break through." -- Serge Preval

5. Jason Dufner. The easygoing Dufner has been one of the hottest players on the planet recently. He made it to a playoff at the PGA Championship last August before falling to Keegan Bradley. With two wins and a runner-up finish in his last four starts, Dufner has to be considered a favorite this week.

Facebook fan quotes:

"The man Jason Dufner." -- Ryan Jim Jim Rursch

"I say Dufner. Accuracy is a must at Olympic." -- Mike Troutman

"Jason Dufner's time to win!" -- Doug O'Dell

4. Bubba Watson. He's the Masters champ, so that counts for something, but Bubba has only played twice since winning at Augusta National. His last start -- two weeks ago at the Memorial -- resulted in a missed cut. Has he shaken off the rust? Also, he's paired with Tiger and Phil for the first two rounds. If those three stay within touch of one another the first two days, chances are they'll all be in great shape.

Facebook fan quotes:

"Bubba Watson edging Tiger and Oosthuizen." -- Thomas Lawrence Yanker

"Bubba wins another major!" -- Darren Kimbrough

"I think Bubba Watson has a good shot. You have to be able to shape the ball at Olympic Club and no one does that like Bubba." -- Eric Dewey

3. Dustin Johnson. Due to a back injury, Johnson has made just two starts on Tour since before the Masters. His latest was last week at the St. Jude Classic, which he won. Along with being one of the most talented young players in the game, Johnson is also one of the most resilient. He's contended in majors before, but hasn't pulled through yet.

Facebook fan quotes:

"What about Dustin Johnson?" -- Kathleen Bobinski-Hansen

"Like to see Dustin Johnson." -- Eric Walker

"Dustin Johnson has great chance with the momentum rolling his way! If Tiger can fight the swing demons he may give him a little competition. My third would be Bubba, his chance to show the world he isn't a one trick pony. Much luck to all and get 'em Dustin!" -- Michael Snow

"Dustin Johnson is looking sharp after the long break." -- Deryl Miller

2. Phil Mickelson. No major has caused Lefty more heartbreak than this one. He's been the runner-up five times. Something's got to give, right?

Facebook fan quotes:

"Phil will pull it all together and win." -- Jack Reed

"Put me down for Phil." -- Vicki Adams Bonner

"The U.S. Open dry spell finally ends for Lefty." -- Edward 'Skedz' Kell

"Phil the thrill." -- Dennis Balch

"Would love to see Phil win before he gets to old and is out gunned." -- Jamie Durham

"Definitely pulling for Phil." -- Richard LeCroy Sr.

1. Tiger Woods. He's already a two-time winner in 2012 and he enters this week's U.S. Open after a win in his last start. Sound familiar? If so, it's because Woods also won in his last start before the Masters, but finished in a tie for 40th at Augusta National. Which game will he bring to Olympic Club? Many of our PGA.com friends think it'll be a winning one.

Facebook fan quotes:

"Tiger Woods baby! All the way!" -- Jordan Williamson

"Really, you must ask? Tiger Woods. I mean who else is there?" -- Tertia Klc

"Tiger he has MOJO!" -- Crystal Hadaway Patten

"Hear TIGER ROAR back in the Bay Area." -- Dwight Church
"Tiger in an 18-hole playoff over either Rory or Phil!" -- Chris Lange

"Tiger. No doubt!" -- Gerard Hilinski

"If Tiger doesn't win, I'll eat my hat." -- Brandon Hinson