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Who’s going to win the US Open at Erin Hills? Here are the five favorites

AP

It’s been exactly 25 years since the U.S. Open played rounds at par 72.

Since then, the United States Golf Association has found ways to expand layouts while shrinking par – including the 2015 national open at Chambers Bay, which played as a par 70 despite being the longest course in U.S. Open history.

This week, that all changes.

Erin Hills is too long to mess with – and that includes messing with four massively-long par-5 holes.

Given that – plus all the forgiving fairways – Erin Hills appears to favor a long hitter who can carry all sorts of trouble.

Here are five who should fare well this week:

DUSTIN JOHNSON

His smooth, effortless power should translate well here. He can carry bunkers 300 yards off the tee that all but a handful in the field cannot. Plus, there are other reasons he is the favorite: He is the defending champion and No. 1 player in the world.

JORDAN SPIETH

Here is to breaking up the fraternity of off-the-grid bombers. He might not have the length to reach all the par 5s, but the Texas native has shown he knows how to get around a major layout as well as anybody. He won at Chambers Bay in 2015, and has that look in his eye this week.

RORY McILROY

Much like Johnson, facing a big lot under soft conditions fit McIlroy’s strengths to a ‘T’. Plus, expectations for the four-time major winner are lowered after being sidelined by a rib injury. When he feels free to go after it, very few, if any, better at attacking a course.

JON RAHM

It would surprise nobody if the big-hitting rookie from Spain came away with the big prize this week. He is tied with Justin Thomas for most top-10 finishes (seven) on the PGA Tour, including a win at the Farmers Insurance Open. It’s scary how many times he’s knocked on the door at big events.

THOMAS PIETERS

It is hard to fathom that he’s played on a European Ryder Cup team before playing in a U.S. Open. But that is the case, and the Belgian is another long hitter who isn’t afraid of the big moment – he was 4-1 in the Ryder Cup last fall, and tied for fourth at the Masters in April.

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