Ranking the 6 potential outcomes of 2021 U.S. Open
There's a great story behind every major champion, and whoever hoists the trophy on the 18th green of Torrey Pines will be deserving. But there are certain outcomes fans will be cheering for more than others.
6. Henley hangs on
No offense to Henley or any Georgia supporters out there, but the 32-year-old coming out on top is the least intriguing option of all potential outcomes.
He's played fantastic through 54 holes and hung tough with an even-par performance out of the final pairing Saturday, but Henley winning his first career major and fourth PGA TOUR title won't make national news or headline sports talk shows Monday morning.
5. Superstar comeback
It would make for a dramatic final round if one of the superstars lurking within five shots of the lead were to complete the comeback Sunday.
Jon Rahm (2-under), Matthew Wolff (2-under), Dustin Johnson (1-under), Xander Schauffele (1-under), and Collin Morikawa (1-under) are all one incredible round - plus a little help - away from stealing the U.S. Open.
4. A bride once again
Since his win at the 2010 Open Championship, Oosthuizen has finished as a runner-up in five majors and become all too familiar with the saying, "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride."
The sweet-swinging South African is a fan favorite and would certainly be revered as a U.S. Open champion. And perhaps the most incredible aspect of a potential Oosthuizen win is it would be his first on North American soil. Claiming his maiden victory in the United States in the country's national open would be pretty impressive.
3. Hughes wins for Canada
Hughes has the pressure of an entire country resting on his shoulders as he looks to become the first Canadian to win a U.S. Open title, and the first player from north of the border to win a major since Mike Weir in 2003.
He's already set a little U.S. Open history with his 54-hole co-lead.
Despite the fact he's missed five cuts in a row, Hughes has shown well on some of the toughest tests over the past 12 months. He possesses a world-class short game and is an incredible putter, but he'll need to recreate some more magic Sunday if he's going to accomplish something no Canadian has done before.
2. Bryson goes back-to-back
Bryson DeChambeau defending his U.S. Open title would mean the last four outcomes of the prestigious event would be split between the beefy 27-year-old and his rival, Brooks Koepka. Talk about adding fuel to the fire.
And the possibility of DeChambeau erasing his two-shot deficit is very real. In fact, he overcame a two-shot gap last year when he won at Winged Foot. Regardless of what you think of DeChambeau, it's hard to argue him becoming only the third player to win back-to-back U.S. Opens in the last 60 years wouldn't be an amazing outcome for the game of golf.
1. Rory gets No. 5
Rory McIlroy has a chance to snap a seven-year major drought and become only the 20th player ever to amass five major championship titles.
After the Northern Irishman racked up four majors in a three-year window, no one would've guessed he'd be stuck at that number by the time he turned 32. It's been a burden he's carried with him ever since he won at Valhalla, but he'll have a solid chance at major No. 5 while playing out of the penultimate pairing for Sunday's final round.
McIlroy will need the patience he's demonstrated over 54 holes to continue into the final round if he's going to have any chance of catching the trio of co-leaders. A hot start would be nice, but if he begins to force the issue, he may play himself out of it.
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