This year's second major for the men is here with the U.S. Open this week at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. With the bulk of the game's top names having won at least once already this season, a top-heavy ranking might be expected. Given the history of underdog victories at the Lake Course, however, at least a few lesser-known names deserve consideration.
Take a look at our fantasy rankings for this week, then tweet out your picks using the hashtag #GCFantasy and send them to me @RyanBallengeeGC. Also be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Win McMurry.
1. Tiger Woods: A winner twice this season including two weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament, Woods is tied for the most PGA Tour wins in 2012. He finished T-18 at this venue 14 years ago and his improved confidence off the tee will be critical to his success this week.
2. Lee Westwood: Players do not win the week before the U.S. open, then do it again the next week. Lee Westwood, however, is poised to do just that after winning last week's Nordea Masters on the European Tour. Among the top three in the world from tee to green, Westwood will find lots of greens and hover around par better than most.
3. Rory McIlroy: The reigning U.S. Open champion may have found a watery grave at the 72nd hole in Memphis, but McIlroy proved he can bounce back from a minor rut. His high ball flight should help this week on firm greens.
4. Luke Donald: The world No. 1 will come in with a world of confidence, having beaten a world-class field at the BMW PGA Championship last month for his second worldwide win of 2012. His short-game prowess is a big asset this week, which can help him partially overcome occasionally lackluster driving accuracy.
5. Matt Kuchar: The Players winner was an amateur at Olympic in 1998, but finished T-14. He has been in the top 15 in each of the last two U.S. Opens, and his happy-go-lucky demeanor will help him as he grinds through the tough stretches.
6. Phil Mickelson: Mickelson is a five-time runner-up at the U.S. Open. He always seems to contend int he year's first two majors more frequently than anyone. Without cell phones in the gallery to bother him, Phil can make a statement with his play - not the lack of it.
7. Jim Furyk: With the scaling back of the graduated rough at the U.S. Open, Furyk's driving accuracy - ranked second on the PGA Tour - will be important this week. His lone major title came in this championship in 2003 at the similarly named Olympia Fields, albeit under different scoring conditions.
8. Jason Dufner: Dufner has won twice and finished second in his last four PGA Tour starts. That's reason enough to earn a spot in the ranking. The fact that he has seriously contended in the last two majors played is another.
9. Peter Hanson: The Swede had a chance at the Masters, finishing T-3. He has just a pair of finishes outside the top 15 this season in seven PGA Tour starts.
10. Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard has shown flashes of brilliance this season, but has not built upon his Spanish double-dip to end 2011. He finished T-3 last week, however, at the Nordea Masters. He was in contention at the U.S. Open last year before finishing T-7 at Congressional.
**Remember to join GC Fantasy expert Rob Bolton for a live chat 12:00p ET Wednesday at www.rotoworld.com**
Tune in to Golf Channel all week long for Live From: U.S. Open coverage.
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