US Open: Capsules of top contenders

A capsule look at 10 top contenders for the U.S. Open, to be played June 16-19 at Oakmont Country Club (listed in predicted order of finish):

SERGIO GARCIA

AGE: 36.

COUNTRY: Spain.

WORLD RANKING: 13.

WORLDWIDE VICTORIES: 24.

MAJORS: None.

LAST TIME AT OAKMONT: Missed the cut with rounds of 79-75.

U.S. OPEN MEMORY: Playing in the final group with Tiger Woods at Bethpage Black, two days after complaining that Woods was getting all the breaks because of rain.

BACKSPIN: A combination of worldwide victories and serious chances he has had in the majors make him the best to have never won a Grand Slam event. Winning the AT&T Byron Nelson a month before the U.S. Open allows for the possibility that another opportunity awaits at Oakmont.

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JORDAN SPIETH

AGE: 22.

COUNTRY: United States.

WORLD RANKING: 2.

WORLDWIDE VICTORIES: 10.

MAJORS: Masters (2015), U.S. Open (2015).

LAST TIME AT OAKMONT: He had just graduated from the eighth grade.

U.S. OPEN MEMORY: Winning at Chambers Bay last year to becomes only the fourth player since 1960 to win the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year.

BACKSPIN: Winning the Colonial helped him get past lingering questions about losing a five-shot lead on the back nine at the Masters. His putting is superb. The key for him at Oakmont is getting into position so he's not putting to save par too often.

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RORY MCILROY

AGE: 27.

COUNTRY: Northern Ireland.

WORLD RANKING: 3.

WORLDWIDE VICTORIES: 19.

MAJORS: U.S. Open (2011), British Open (2014), PGA Championship (2012, 2014).

LAST TIME AT OAKMONT: He was one month away from making his major championship debut as an 18-year-old at Carnoustie.

U.S. OPEN MEMORY: Setting the 72-hole scoring record at rain-softened Congressional (268) to win his first major, in his first major after losing a four-shot lead at the Masters by closing with an 80.

BACKSPIN: He picked up his first victory of the year at the Irish Open. He likes to say there is plenty good in his game and he needs to eliminate the bogeys. The bogeys are tough to avoid at a place like Oakmont for everyone.

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BUBBA WATSON

AGE: 37.

COUNTRY: United States.

WORLD RANKING: 4.

WORLDWIDE VICTORIES: 10.

MAJORS: Masters (2012, 2014).

LAST TIME AT OAKMONT: Tied for 5th with rounds of 70-71-74-74.

U.S. OPEN MEMORY: Shooting 67 in the third round at Bethpage Black in 2009. It is the only time he has broken par in 26 rounds at the U.S. Open.

BACKSPIN: His best chance in any U.S. Open was at Oakmont, his first U.S. Open as a PGA Tour member. This could help Watson because he seems to take himself out of majors if the course doesn't fit his eye. That's evident in his results. He has only one top 10, and one round under par in the U.S. Open.

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JASON DAY

AGE: 28.

COUNTRY: Australia.

WORLD RANKING: 1.

WORLDWIDE VICTORIES: 11.

MAJORS: PGA Championship (2015).

LAST TIME AT OAKMONT:

U.S. OPEN MEMORY: Suffering from vertigo symptoms at Chambers Bay last year and still shooting 68 to tie for the 54-hole lead.

BACKSPIN: He was a favorite at the Masters and he will be a favorite at Oakmont. For all his power, Day's short game is what has allowed him to reach No. 1 in the world. His agent, Bud Martin, is a member at Oakmont. The last time Day played there, he was a teenager and lost a $1 bet to Martin.

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DUSTIN JOHNSON

AGE: 31.

COUNTRY: United States.

WORLD RANKING: 6.

WORLDWIDE VICTORIES: 9.

MAJORS: None.

LAST TIME AT OAKMONT: His final year not playing the U.S. Open.

U.S. OPEN MEMORY: Having a 12-foot eagle putt to win at Chambers Bay, and three-putting to lose by one shot.

BACKSPIN: Among his many assets is a short memory, though one suspects some scar tissue is starting to build with all the chances he's had at the majors. The question is how well he can block that out if he gets another chance.

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ADAM SCOTTAGE: 35.

COUNTRY: Australia.

WORLD RANKING: 8.

WORLDWIDE VICTORIES: 27.

MAJORS: Masters (2013).

LAST TIME AT OAKMONT: Missed the cut with rounds of 76-82. ''I had six birdie putts in two days and I'm not sure I made any of them.''

U.S. OPEN MEMORY: Playing in the first group of Nos. 1-2-3 with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at Torrey Pines, right after he hurt his hand by slamming it into a door.

BACKSPIN: He hit his stride in Florida by winning in successive weeks, and his game has cooled slightly since then. Even though he has a great combination of length and accuracy off the tee, the U.S. Open is the one major where he hasn't had many chances. He closed with a 64 last year and wound up two shots behind.

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PHIL MICKELSON

AGE: 46.

COUNTRY: United States.

WORLD RANKING: 20.

WORLDWIDE VICTORIES: 45.

MAJORS: Masters (2004, 2006, 2010), British Open (2013), PGA Championship (2005).

LAST TIME AT OAKMONT: Injured his wrist practicing out of the rough two weeks before the U.S. Open, and then missing the cut with rounds of 74-77.

U.S. OPEN MEMORY: His first runner-up finish at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999, the day before his first child was born. He just didn't realize at the time there would be a record five more runner-up finishes without winning.

BACKSPIN: Mickelson figures to contend in at least another U.S. Open or two. But which one? He didn't like the vicious rough at Oakmont nine years ago. He hasn't won since the British Open three years ago. But he has shown enough spots of good golf to think he can be in for more heartache at the U.S. Open, or become the sixth player to complete the career Grand Slam.

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RICKIE FOWLER

AGE: 27.

COUNTRY: United States.

WORLD RANKING: 5.

WORLDWIDE VICTORIES: 6.

MAJORS: None.

LAST TIME AT OAKMONT: Failed to make it out of sectional qualifying with rounds of 76-71. Played in the Walker Cup that fall.

U.S. OPEN MEMORY: Playing in the final group at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014, his first time in the last group at a major.

BACKSPIN: He has missed consecutive cuts going into Oakmont, and three of the last five. Fowler finished in the top 5 at all four majors in 2014, though the U.S. Open was the one he never had a chance because of Martin Kaymer's runaway victory. His best finish was finishing six shots behind at Merion.

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DANNY WILLETT

AGE: 28.

COUNTRY: England.

WORLD RANKING: 9.

WORLDWIDE VICTORIES: 5.

MAJORS: Masters (2016).

LAST TIME AT OAKMONT: Still one year away from turning pro, on his way to No. 1 in the world as an amateur.

U.S. OPEN MEMORY: Getting into his first U.S. Open in 2014 as an alternate for Tiger Woods.

BACKSPIN: No one has followed a Masters victory with a U.S. Open title since ... last year with Jordan Spieth. Willett had a chance at the BMW PGA Championship until a poor final round. This is only his third U.S. Open. Might take some time before his 67 at the Masters gets more attention than Spieth's 41 on the back nine.

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