U.S. Open 2024 Predictions: Our Staff Picks a Winner at Pinehurst No. 2

One player stands above all others in the North Carolina sandhills, but he's not a unanimous choice to win the 124th U.S. Open.
Scottie Scheffler is chasing his second major of the year at the U.S. Open.
Scottie Scheffler is chasing his second major of the year at the U.S. Open. / Katie Goodale-USA TODAY Sports

The 124th U.S. Open begins Thursday, and there's plenty to watch at the season's third major.

Pinehurst No. 2 is both the setting and the star, the historic course where Payne Stewart won an Open for the ages 25 years ago. Its domed-shaped greens are the primary challenge for the world's best; Bryson DeChambeau said the course demands “boring golf” rather than bombs off the tee and firing at flags.

Tiger Woods is one of three players in the field who competed in the 1999 U.S. Open (Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar are the others), and his son Charlie has been helping prepare for what will hopefully be a longer week than his PGA Championship where he missed the cut.

Rory McIlroy will take yet another shot to end a prolonged major drought that defies math, and he'll play the first two rounds alongside the season's first two major winners: Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele. (Here are tee times for the first two rounds.)

And speaking of Scheffler, how much more can you say about the world No. 1 and five-time winner this season? He has betting odds reminiscent of prime Tiger and McIlroy joked that only jail has kept him from winning.

But Scheffler is not a unanimous pick from SI Golf's writers and editors to take home a record first-place prize. Check out our opinions and let us know yours on the SI Golf X account.

Bob Harig: Viktor Hovland. Still a bit under the radar, Hovland is coming off a strong performance at the PGA Championship where he seemingly worked out the issues that plagued him all year, including getting back with his old coach. He’s got a game built for majors. This seems like a good place to break through.

Jeff Ritter: Hovland is the next man up to break through and bag his first major. Unfortunately for him, Scottie Scheffler is on another level right now, and is set to win his second major and sixth title in what is becoming a historic season.

John Pluym: Scottie Scheffler. It’s hard to not go with the No. 1 player in the world. He has five victories this season and if not for a misunderstanding with a police officer at the PGA Championship, I believe he’d have six and we’re talking Grand Slam this week. He coasted home at the Memorial. He won’t be able to coast at Pinehurst but he’ll win his second major of the year.

John Schwarb: Scottie Scheffler. The T8 at the PGA is still mindblowing and in the other major this year when he didn’t pose for a mug shot, he won by four shots. He takes the trophy here and heads to Troon in July for a Scottie Slam.

John Schwarb


John Schwarb is the senior golf editor for Sports Illustrated whose career has spanned more than 25 years covering sports. He’s been featured on ESPN.com, PGATour.com, The Golfers Journal and Tampa Bay Times. He’s also the author of The Little 500: The Story of the World's Greatest College Weekend. A member of the Golf Writers Association of America, John is based in Indianapolis.

Bob Harig


Bob Harig is a senior writer covering golf for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience on the beat, including 15 at ESPN. Harig is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, "DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods" and "Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry." He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Harig, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Fla.

Jeff Ritter


Jeff Ritter is the Managing Director of SI Golf. He spent more than a decade at Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine, and in 2020 joined Morning Read to help spark its growth and eventual acquisition by Sports Illustrated in 2022. He's a member of the Golf Writers' Association of America (GWAA) and has covered more than 25 major championships. He helped launch SI Golf Plus Digital, Golf Magazine’s first original, weekly e-magazine, and served as its top editor. He also launched Golf's “Films” division, the magazine’s first long-form video storytelling franchise, and his debut documentary received an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. His writing has earned first-place awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, the MIN Magazine Awards, and the Golf Writers Association of America, among others. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. A native Michigander, he remains a diehard Wolverine fan and will defend Jim Harbaugh until the bitter end.

John Pluym


John Pluym is the managing editor for NFL and golf content at Sports Illustrated. A sports history buff, he previously spent 10 years at ESPN overseeing NFL coverage. John has won several awards throughout his career, including from the Society of News Design and Associated Press Sports Editors. As a native Minnesotan, he enjoys spending time on his boat and playing golf.