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Who will win the U.S. Open?

OAKMONT, Pa. -- First things first: None of our experts picked Geoff Ogilvy to win last year's U.S. Open at Winged Foot. And, well, none of 'em picked Michael Campbell at Pinehurst, either.

Truth be told, picking winners at the U.S. Open isn't such an easy task, with the tournament setups calling for solid shot-making and great putting.

Will a first-timer claim the Open for a third straight time? Or will yet another world-class player join the list of great champions at Oakmont? Our experts give it their best shot.


Ernie Els proved he could do it at Oakmont 13 years ago, even though he and the course have changed.

There aren't a whole lot of players in this week's field who also competed here back in 1994, but that year's winner, Ernie Els, isn't a bad pick to repeat.

Arnold Palmer. But that was 45 years ago and even he didn't win then. Go with Jim Furyk; like Arnold, he's from Pennsylvania.

Even though the course has changed dramatically since 1994, this can be no other player than Ernie Els, the winner the last time the tournament was played at Oakmont.

Birdie Buster

The game's No. 1 player, Tiger Woods, has the capability of going low if he can keep the ball in play, and indications are he is looking for accuracy over distance this week.

Birdie? What's a birdie? Here's a fun game for the office pool: What will be the highest number of birdies for any player this week? Let's set the over/under at 10. I'll take Tiger Woods and the over.

Johnny Miller. But that was 34 years ago and it led to the Massacre at Winged Foot the next year. Go with Adam Scott; like Johnny, he can stripe the irons.

When he's on his game, there is not a course in the world that Tiger Woods cannot tame. But despite three wins in 2007, he hasn't really had his A game all year.

Super Sleeper

He's not been playing well lately, but Colin Montgomerie's best major has been the U.S. Open, where he tied for second last year and at Oakmont in '94.

Slow and steady wins the race, and Rod Pampling is a patient player who may just make a name for himself by week's end.

Larry Nelson. But that was 24 years ago. Go with Trevor Immelman, especially if he has to hold off Tiger Woods the way Nelson turned back Tom Watson.

Zach Johnson was not on anyone's list of potential major champions at the start of the year, but before the Masters you'd have thought his best major opportunity would come at the U.S. Open.

Winner

Jim Furyk's combination of straight driving, good putting and Western Pennsylvania roots is too much to overlook.

Let's go with a player who's
won a major before, who's deadly accurate off the tee and fares well on similar greens. If it sounds like I just described Jim Furyk, you're right.

Ben Hogan. But that was 54 years ago. Go with Padraig Harrington; he's just about as chatty.

No player is better suited mentally for U.S. Open setups than Retief Goosen. He just plays golf and doesn't let the course or any mistakes he makes get the best of him.