Players to watch

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:50 AM ET

A look at 10 players to watch in the 107th U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club:

ZACH JOHNSON

The Masters champ showed he has what it takes to win a major and did it by looking Tiger Woods in the eye and not blinking. How many guys can say that? He is extremely patient (he layed up on all the par-5s at Augusta) and he's a great putter.

STEVE STRICKER

He would fit the profile of the guy who kind of comes from nowhere to win a major, but he has the type of game to win in a grinding, demanding atmosphere. Steady sometimes wins the race.

ARRON OBERHOLSER

He has played in just two U.S. Opens, but finished T9 in 2005 at Pinehurst and T16 last year at Winged Foot. He was slowed at the beginning of the year by a back problem, but has played well on the tough courses.

ERNIE ELS

The Big Easy won when the U.S. Open last visited here in 1994 and he's looking for a jumpstart after a knee injury and changing his equipment manufacturer. His results have been going the wrong way in the Open (T5, T9, T15, T26...) but maybe returning to the scene of his prime will help.

GEOFF OGILVY

The defending champ always gets a look, but Ogilvy has only been a shadow of the player who won last year. In addition to winning his first major, he became a father and hasn't played like golf is a priority.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON

Has good record in the U.S. Open and is coming off a fifth last year at Winged Foot. He has three other top 10 finishes (T5 in 2000, T8 in 2002, T10 in 2003) and has made the cut in seven of the nine U.S. Opens. When he's made the cut, he hasn't finished lower than T32.

RETIEF GOOSEN

The quiet South African has the composure to do well in these conditions. He had a stumble at the 2005 U.S. Open where he led going into Sunday and shot 81. He missed the cut last year in the Open, but a quiet second at The Masters this year after starting 76-76 means he could be ready to win a major again.

TIGER WOODS

He's the favourite every time he tees it up, but the thing that might really be his strength here is not his length off the tee, but his putting. If Woods, one of the best putters out here, has his stroke going on these greens, he will have more than half the battle won.

PHIL MICKELSON

Lefty is nursing a bad wrist, so he's not on this list as a contender. It will be interesting to see how he copes the first time he drives the ball in the rough. Just finishing the tournament and not double bogeying the 18th might be a victory for him.


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