Tour Confidential: Scheffler’s dominance continues, U.S. Open preview

Scottie Scheffler fist pumps at the Memorial.

Any second thoughts to picking Scottie Scheffler at Pinehurst?

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topics in the sport, and join the conversation by tweeting us at @golf_com. This week, we discuss any potential hesitations (or lack thereof) for picking Scottie Scheffler at Pinehurst and preview this week’s U.S. Open.

1. Scottie Scheffler won the Memorial on Sunday, his fifth win of 2024, the first to do that by this point of the season since 1980. Now he heads to the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 once again as the heavy betting favorite. Despite his success, should there be any hesitation in picking him since he’s never won a major outside of Augusta National?

Jessica Marksbury, senior editor (@jess_marksbury): It feels impossible to bet against Scottie Scheffler these days. I’m struggling to find any metric that would deter me from picking him as a favorite. Golf is fickle, anyone can have a bad day at any given time, but Scheffler’s consistency is one of his most impressive stats. He hasn’t missed a cut in nearly two years. He hasn’t finished outside the top 17 since last August. Prior to the Memorial, his last seven tournaments included four wins, two runner-ups and a T8 at the PGA — after he was arrested. Is there any stopping this guy? I think not!

Scottie Scheffler fist pumps after winning the Memorial.
Scottie Scheffler gets 5th 2024 win, 1st as a father, at the Memorial
By: Jack Hirsh

Josh Sens, senior writer (@joshsens): The horses for courses thing does not apply to Scheffler. His game is so complete, it can travel anywhere. It’s just a matter of time before he wins a major other than the Masters. The oddsmakers have it right to have him the runaway favorite here.

Jonathan Wall, managing equipment editor (@jonathanrwall): Anyone who hesitates to select Scottie to win a major on any course should be admitted to a psychiatric ward. As Josh said, his game travels. I hate picking the chalk at a major, but I can’t see anyone chasing him down at Pinehurst. 

2. Pinehurst No. 2 will play a major role in U.S. Opens going forward, as it was the first official “anchor site” of golf’s national championship. We haven’t seen it host the top pros since 2014. For the uninformed, how different is the Donald Ross design compared to more recent major stops, and what kind of player/game bodes well here?

scenic shot of pinehurst no. 2 payne stewart statue
9 lessons from a hacker playing U.S. Open host Pinehurst No. 2
By: James Colgan

Marksbury: One thing that struck me when I had the chance to play Pinehurst was how difficult it was to lose a ball. You can find — and play! — a ball from just about anywhere. (A great boon for us recreational players!) But even at the pro level, I think that will be helpful for the longer guys who tend to spray it a bit, because the penalty is minimal compared to other courses. The green complexes are where the course really shows its teeth, so I’m betting on the guys with serious short-game prowess to rise to the top.

Sens: Green complexes are tough at most US Open venues. But the turtlebacks at Pinehurst are especially demanding. There’s a reason they joke that at Pinehurst, they don’t track greens in regulation They track greens visited in regulation. They’re not just hard to hit. They’re hard to hold. Miss your spot and bye bye. There’s no rough on No. 2, so that’s another huge difference. But there are tons of sandy wastes with clumps of native grass that can cause all kinds of misery, so you can’t just hit it anywhere off the tee.. A sharp short game is crucial in any major. But distance control is going to be crucial on approaches, so if I were crunching stats for office pool purposes, I’d be looking closely at the iron game. 

3. What about Tiger Woods? Do you see his first U.S. Open appearance in four years going any better than his other major starts this year (60th Masters, missed cut PGA)?

Marksbury: Tiger’s recent performances have shown us that he still has all the shots. What he’s lacking is four-round stamina, and reps. Pinehurst is a gentle walk, and I think that bodes well for Tiger. I expect him to make the cut, and improve upon his Masters finish too, though I doubt he will actually contend.

Sens. I’m with you, Jess. As at Augusta, he will be able to rely on his guts and guile but without the painfully hilly walk. I could see his short game–and his mental game– keeping him around for the weekend. And maybe even in the mix. 

Wall: Making it 72 holes would be an accomplishment. We’ve seen Tiger grind for the weekend at majors, but he tends to run out of gas before the final round. I don’t see things changing this week unless he wants to increase the pre-major tournament reps. 

4. Bryson DeChambeau has been LIV’s best major performer this year, tying for sixth at the Masters and taking runner-up honors at the PGA Championship. Do you see that trend continuing at Pinehurst?

bryson dechambeau tips cap in navy hat at the PGA Championship.
Bryson DeChambeau’s PGA heartbreak ended with ‘shocking’ twist
By: James Colgan

Marksbury: Pinehurst seems like a great fit for Bryson. It’s also been fun to observe what seems like a renewed lightness of spirit in him. He looks like he’s thoroughly enjoying his role as an entertainer, which is probably making his golf better too.

Sens: Bryson does seem in a great place both mentally and physically. My guess is that Pinehurst is not the kind of course that he will be able to bend as easily to his will with his power, at least not as he did at Valhalla. But we already know he’s got US Open-winning game. Hard not to rank him among the top 5 prospects heading into the week. 

Wall: I can’t name another LIV pro I’d take over Bryson. Brooks Koepka has the major championship pedigree and knows how to deal with the ups and downs of a U.S. Open, but it’s difficult to predict which Koepka will show up. Recency bias makes Bryson the obvious choice. 

5. What’s the U.S. Open storyline that should be on everyone’s radar?

Marksbury: I’m looking forward to seeing some potential next-gen rivalries in action. In addition to Scottie’s dominance, we have players like newly-minted major champ Xander Schauffele and two-time major winner Collin Morikawa seemingly peaking all at the same time. This should be a barn-burner of a major, and hopefully, a glimpse of golf’s future.

Sens: Which Jon Rahm will we see. The world beater of years past? Or the sullen underperformer of 2024? He just pulled out of a LIV event this week, citing an injury. But physical issues aside, he has seemed to be in a battle with himself since joining LIV. An interesting case study in psychology, as golf so often is. 

Wall: Can Xander keep his incredible run at the majors alive? As stats guru Justin Ray mentioned recently on social media, X is the first pro to begin his U.S. Open career with 7 straight top-15 finishes since Bobby Jones (11 straight, 1920-30). It’s an absurd stat highlighting his incredible consistency at golf’s most grueling major test. We knew he had the game to contend, but his breakthrough at Valhalla proves he can close the deal. Now it’s time to see if he has what it takes to become a multi-time major winner. If anyone will knock Scottie off the throne, it’s Xander. 

6. Let’s end with an easy one. In a recent reader survey conducted by, we gathered your thoughts on a wide range of etiquette topics. Some of the most interesting answers were regarding the most annoying golfer habits. Here’s what our readers said. What’s your answer?

Man using phone on golf course
The most annoying golfer habit? Here’s what nearly 4,000 golfers said
By: Josh Sens

Marksbury: My biggest pet peeve is taking too long to get off the tee. I like to play ready golf, but when I’m not playing the same tee as my group, I often have to stand around for what feels like ages waiting for my playing partners to get going. Annoying!

Sens: I side with our readers on slow play. But aside from that, I’d say the golfer who talks incessantly about his/her own game, offering excuses and narrating shots even as you’re standing there watching them yourself. That gets old fast. Temper tantrums can be off putting too. But those are so pathetic that they can be funny, so at least they have some entertainment value. 

Wall: When someone talks to my ball as it’s in the air. Please stop yelling for it to “get down” or “come back.” It’s not going to listen to you. Silence is always preferred.

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