Peter Kostis, Gary McCord break down the 2024 U.S. Open favorites

Is there anyone who can contend with Scottie Scheffler at this week’s U.S. Open?

That’s the question Peter Kostis and Gary McCord sought to answer on the latest episode of the “Kostis & McCord: Off Their Rockers” podcast, a GOLF production.

As the world’s best attempt to take on Pinehurst No. 2 in the year’s third major championship, McCord outlined all the skills that would be necessary to lift the trophy on Sunday.

“I’m looking at a guy who can hit the ball in the fairway with some length,” McCord said. “I’m looking for the guy that can control his golf ball, distance-wise, his iron shots. A guy that gets it pin-high every time, I’m looking for that guy. And I’m looking for a guy that obviously can putt it inside of six feet.”

Which player fits into those specific parameters?

“All I see is SS, SS,” McCord said with a laugh, referring to Scheffler. “And the putter, he’s getting better. And if he gets good, it’s no contest.”

Kostis agreed that Scheffler ticks all the boxes, but wondered how much of a toll recent weeks have taken on Scheffler.

“The asterisk to this whole thing is the debacle in Louisville,” Kostis said. “He has been under an extreme amount of pressure for a fairly long time. New child, dealing with the arrest in Louisville, playing a lot of golf, quite frankly.

“So I don’t know how mentally prepared he’s gonna be,” Kostis continued. “If he comes in here and he’s mentally prepared, then in my book, he becomes superhuman, because he’s had to overcome a whole bunch of adversity.”

Next up on the list for Kostis and McCord: discussing the merits of other tournament favorites, like Xander Schauffele.

“He’s gained a lot of distance,” Kostis said. “I’m not sure distance is gonna be huge here, especially if it’s playing firm and fast. I think it brings a lot more players into the equation. I’m gonna look for the guys who play smart. Obviously, you gotta be on your game that week to have any chance. So we don’t know until that week who’s gonna be actually on their game.

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“You look at Collin Morikawa, you look at Scheffler, you look at Xander, if they’re on their game, obviously, they’re gonna be there,” Kostis continued. “But I wanna know who has the most discipline to fire away from flagsticks, to put it 30 feet to the right where it’s safe, and then take your chances with the putt …”

Scottie Scheffler,” McCord whispered, as the two laughed.

Bryson DeChambeau, who won the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, was the next top-of-mind player to discuss.

“Winged Foot was hard in a different dimension than this place,” Kostis said. “This place requires subtlety. In my opinion, you can’t take the sledgehammer to this place. You try and do that, it’s gonna hit you back in the face. So I would say Bryson would not be one of my favorites.”

“Here’s my take on Bryson,” McCord responded. “He’ll figure out a way to do it. The one thing that he’s a little clumsy with is the high flop, and you’re gonna need that a lot here because he’s using one-length clubs. And when you’re doing a high flop with a shaft that’s a 7-iron shaft in your sand wedge, it’s hard to do. He always comes up flat, he’s got no wrist break, nothing.

“He is a really an accomplished player now. I mean, he’s right there. But that’s the only weakness I see. And that weakness could really be exacerbated on a golf course like this where you need high pitches a lot.”

“I will go back on Bryson and say this,” Kostis said. “If he uses his power to throttle back to 4-irons off the tee that will roll out to 310 yards and stuff like that, and keeps the ball in the grass, if he has the discipline to do that, then he can be a factor. But to me it’s greens in regulation is the number one stat for this week.”

For more from Kostis and McCord, check out their entire U.S. Open preview episode below. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on