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Patience is a virtue, especially when ranking the U.S. Open

OAKMONT, Pa. -- Grinders. Plodders. Par-makers. You've likely heard these terms before, but never understood what they meant or appreciated how guys of such recognition get anywhere in professional golf.

Being called a "plodder" doesn't exactly sound like a compliment. And much of the time it isn't. At the tee-it-high-let-it-fly, shoot-for-the-pin birdiefests of the PGA Tour, these types of players get lost in the mix, their inability to shoot ultralow scores overshadowing their propensity for keeping things around even.

Well, the U.S. Open is the grinders' time to shine. Last year, Geoff Ogilvy won the tournament with 5-over as the winning score and early estimations are that it could be even higher this time around at Oakmont. That's good news for the game's steady Eddies, the guys who can seemingly knock it down the fairway, put one on the green and two-putt for par every hole -- or make an unbelievable up-and-down when they need to.

Want to know what the U.S. Open leaderboard will look like come Sunday afternoon? All you've got to do is identify the grinders, plodders and par-makers, which explains the reasoning behind some of my picks to contend in this annual ranking of every player in the U.S. Open field.

Jason Sobel is ESPN.com's golf editor. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn3.com