h3. Phil Mickelson
Mickelson is likely to start as the favourite for the event given the question mark around the game of Tiger Woods, his own solid form of late, his record at Pebble Beach (3 wins) and his record at the US Open where he has been five times runner-up.
Mickelson's recent missed cut at the Colonial event was his first in more than twelve months but putting that aside his recent form has been very good. His last start 5th at the Memorial was good enough for him to start as the deserved favourite and perhaps win his first US Open title.
h3. Tiger Woods
Woods is again the great uncertainty. He played well enough at the recent Memorial, especially given the circumstances, and there was sufficient quality in much of his play that week for him to be a chance.
His lack of recent tournament play and overall sharpness however may yet work against him but he carries memories of an amazing 15 shot win the last time he played a US Open over this layout. You can never say never with this guy but a win would surprise.
h3. Lee Westwood
Westwood seems to be forever in the mix in the elite events now. His form in major championships in the last two years has been stunning and although he has yet to win one he must surely break through soon.
He is playing beautifully at present with seven top ten finishes in 2010 and it will be a surprise if he is not in the mix on Sunday.
h3. Jim Furyk
Furyk is a typical US Open type grinder and his record confirms that. A winner in 2003 and runner up on two other occasions, Furyk's no frills game tends to suit this championship.
Furyk has had several good finishes at Pebble Beach in the PGA Tour event there although it is a much different set up and time of year for the US Open.
h3. Luke Donald
Donald has found a rich vein of form of late, finishing runner up at the BMW PGA, winning in Madrid and finishing third in Wales two weeks ago.
He has had mixed results at Pebble Beach but he is probably close to the peak of his game and although he does not enjoy a good US Open record, he must be considered amongst what will be a strong British challenge.
h3. Steve Stricker
Stricker is not quite at the peak he was earlier in the season but he is not too far from it. He plays these type of events well and might be some sort of possibility.
He has seldom played Pebble Beach in tournament golf which could suggest it is not one of his favourite courses but he is such a good player now that he is likely to overcome that.
h3. Ernie Els
Els disappointed when he missed the cut at the Memorial but his form prior to that was generally very good with two PGA Tour wins in 2010. With two wins, one runner-up finish and a total of 14 made cuts in 17 US Open starts he deserves consideration.
h3. Paul Casey
Casey has not exactly set the world on fire in recent weeks and has a poor record in this event for a player of his standing in the game. He has missed the cut in both times to the AT&T event at Pebble beach so his chances to do not look good.
h3. Rory McIlroy
McIlroy has shown with his win at Quail Hollow and his 10th place last week at The Memorial that he can handle the best of courses well. He was a meritorious 10th in this event last year and showed when 3rd at the PGA Championship in 2009 that the absolute elite events are not beyond him. He will win majors in his career and although it might be a little early this year he should give a good account of himself.
h3. Martin Kaymer
Kaymer's game is a bit of a mystery at present. He played well enough at the recent Celtic Manor Wales Open but he is not in the sort of form that saw him winning and contending on a regular basis late last year and early in 2010. I can't get excited about his chances.
h3. Padraig Harrington
Harrington certainly has the game to win a US Open although just four top tens in eleven starts might suggest otherwise. He is a big event player now however with his three major championship titles and there is enough to like about his 6th place at the BMW PGA and his 7th place finish at Quail Hollow to suggest he could contend late into the weekend.
h3. Retief Goosen
Goosen is a proven two time winner of the US Open and prior to a hand injury a few weeks ago he was beginning to play well. This will be his second tournament back since Augusta having played the tournament in Memphis in the lead-up.
Without the injury he would have been considered as one of the leading chances. His form at the Memphis might provide a clue to his chances.
h3. Geoff Ogilvy
Ogilvy appeared to be returning to the form that won him the season opening SBS Championship and this event in 2006 when he finished with a final round of 64 at Colonial two weeks ago and then led after the opening round at the Memorial.
He faded to finish 41st at Muirfield Village so there is still a little doubt but there are signs that some good things are not too far away.
h3. Robert Allenby
Allenby is now the leading ranked Australian in world golf and before missing the cut at the Memorial he had finished runner-up at the Players Championship against a field the equal or better of this.
Allenby's record in major championships is abysmal and that is a hurdle he will need to overcome if he is to have any chance. In 56 major starts there have only been four top tens with a best of 7th. He is an improved player in 2010 however although winning a major is a big leap.
h3. Adam Scott
Scott gives the impression he is on the verge of something significant. His win in San Antonio was the result of a huge improvement on the greens and if he can carry that over to this week then he can do well.
Like Allenby his record in major championships is below that expected of a player his standing in the game but he should contend more often than he does.
h3. Lucas Glover
Glover has not been in great form of late but it is not much worse than was the case prior to his win at Bethpage last year. His recent third place finish at the Players gives his followers some hope of back to back wins.
h3. Long Odds Value
h3. Bo Van Pelt
Van Pelt managed to play his way into the tournament via Sectional qualifying earlier this week and has put together some great tournaments of late. Five top ten finishes in his last six starts against good fields and on good courses suggest he has a chance of another very good week.
h3. Ricky Barnes
Barnes finished runner up to Lucas Glover last year at Bethpage and there is no doubt whatsoever that he is in better form than was the case then. He recently finished third behind Rose at the Memorial, 7th at the Colonial, 5th at the Verizon Heritage and 10th at the Masters.
h3. Stewart Cink
Cink is almost the forgotten man in the event. He won the Open Championship last July and while he has not done a lot since he has put together a few better tournaments of late and has already displayed that a major is not beyond him.
h3. Charl Schwartzel
Schwartzel is a much improved player in 2010, putting together several very impressive tournaments in big events. He has been around tournament golf for ten years or so and only now appears to be playing at a level many expected earlier. He is a player capable of winning major in his career.