The U.S Open returns to the notoriously difficult Oakmont Country Club on Thursday for the ninth time and the first since 2007. On that occasion +5 was good enough for Angel Cabrera to win by a shot and many players expect this to be the toughest U.S. Open in history.

The rough is thick, fairways narrow, greens as quick as they come and the course is lined with over 200 bunkers. The infamous eighth hole is a mere 300-yard Par 3. Scoring won’t be low and due to the nature of the course, not every winner at Oakmont is a household name.

Every component of your game must click – driving, approach play, chipping and putting. With that in mind let’s assess who might and who might not be in contention this week.

With narrow fairways and heavy rough, consistency off the tee will be crucial. Tournament favourite Jason Day has been wild off the tee lately and may struggle at Oakmont. Likewise, the wait may go on before six-time U.S. Open runner-up Phil Mickelson completes his career grand slam.

My first pick for the week is Rickie Fowler. He has no real weakness and ranks well in each of the four areas, but a major still evades him. If he is to break his duck here he must improve on his recent form and his putter will need to be hot. At best-price 33/1 he’s a good bet.
Rickie Fowler - 1pt @ 33/1
2013 U.S. Open winner Justin Rose is my next contender. He returns this week after a back problem but has been practising at Oakmont and his all-round game ought to suit the course. His mental strength and good form in recent major’s stands him in good stead. Terrific value at 33/1 (as short as 18/1 in places).
Justin Rose - 1pt @ 33/1
Dustin Johnson is yet to win a major and has been knocking at the proverbial door in the last few years. He goes to Oakmont having finished T4 and T2 in his past two U.S. Open’s and has each component firing. He’s in the form of his life and has the potential to make a mockery of the field.
Dustin Johnson - 1pt @ 16/1
As an outside shot I’ll be backing Russell Knox. The 30-year-old Scotsman is ranked 8th off the tee and ranks very well for his approach play and short game. If he can conjure up some form on the greens then you never know. He’s 100/1 to win this week – fingers crossed.
Russell Knox - 1pt @ 100/1