2021 US Open players by tier and picks
U.S. Open

2021 US Open players by tier and picks


The US Open returns to Torrey Pines -- the site of Tiger Woods’ memorable playoff win over Rocco Mediate in 2008. Torrey is a course that we see every year, but the rough will be thicker and players expect the course to play firmer and faster this week.

Jon Rahm enters the week as the betting favorite, fresh off a spectacular performance at The Memorial through 54 holes before being forced to withdraw due to COVID. After a week in isolation, Rahm is primed for a comeback and looking to win his first major title.

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau looks to defend his title at a course that should play similarly to Winged Foot last year. Xander Schauffele normally flies a bit under the radar, but he is in the spotlight this week as he tries to win his first major in his own backyard.

DraftKings created a new format this year where players do not have a salary but are instead divided into tiers with users picking one player from each tier.

The tiers are Tournament Favorite, Bomber, Ball Striker, Short Gamer, and Longshot.

2021 US Open DraftKings tiers picks

Tournament Favorite


  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Brooks Koepka
  • Jon Rahm
  • Dustin Johnson

The pick: Jon Rahm

Rahm was firing on all cylinders at The Memorial through 54 holes, and that form should carry over to Torrey Pines, where Rahm won his first Tour event in 2017. Ball-striking plays anywhere, but especially at a US Open, and few strike it better than Rahm. The Spaniard ranks second in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and 12th in Strokes Gained: Approach. He hits the fifth most greens on Tour and has the season’s lowest scoring average. Rahm has already racked up 10 top 10 finishes this season and looks to be in the mix again.



  • Viktor Hovland
  • Justin Thomas
  • Jordan Spieth
  • Xander Schauffele
  • Rory McIlroy

The Pick: Xander Schauffele

I thought long and hard about Hovland here, but I love the hometown kid this week. Schauffele has three second place finishes this season, including a T2 at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year. Schauffele ranks eighth on Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting and is clearly comfortable on poa annua greens. His other stats don’t jump out at you, but Schauffele’s well-rounded game is what makes him one of the most consistent players on Tour. Schauffele ranks in the top 25 in Strokes Gained: Approach and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green.

Ball Striker


  • Will Zalatoris
  • Tony Finau
  • Collin Morikawa
  • Patrick Cantlay
  • Patrick Reed

The Pick: Will Zalatoris

Zalatoris officially burst onto the scene with a second place finish at the Masters, but he has been in good form for much longer. The Wake Forest alum finished T6 at Winged Foot and finished T5 in Vegas last fall. He continued his success in major championships with a T8 finish at the PGA Championship. Zalatoris isn’t even a PGA Tour member, but he has already established himself as one of the world’s best ball strikers. Zalatoris hits it long and straight, ranking 41st in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 25th in Driving Distance. He also ranks 7th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. Zalatoris has lost strokes to the field on the greens this season, but if his putter gets hot, he can certainly contend.

Short Gamer


  • Webb Simpson
  • Daniel Berger
  • Tyrell Hatton
  • Paul Casey
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • Louis Oosthuizen

The Pick: Tyrell Hatton

Hatton is in great form coming off a T-2 finish at Congaree last week. Continuing a theme, Hatton is another guy who can flat out strike his golf ball. The Englishman ranks 21st in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach. On a golf course that will play 7685 yards, Hatton ranks 11th in proximity from 200-225 yards and third in proximity from 225-250 yards.

Long Shot:


  • Cameron Smith
  • Sam Burns
  • Adam Scott
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick
  • Max Homa
  • Shane Lowry
  • Phil Mickelson

The Pick: Sam Burns

Burns picked up his first PGA Tour win at the Valspar Championship and finished second at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Burns iron play and putting have been stellar this season as he ranks 15th and 25th in Strokes Gained: Approach and Strokes Gained: Putting respectively. On a course with thick rough throughout, Burns ranks 20th in rough proximity. He also ranks in the top 25 in both approaches from 200-225 yards and approaches from 225-250 yards. Burns also played well at Torrey Pines earlier this season, finishing T-18 at the Farmers Insurance Open.


About the author

Peter Santo

Peter Santo

Peter Santo is a golf writer and a graduate of Emerson College. He previously covered all sports for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and The Washington Times.

When not writing about or playing golf, he can often be found listening to or creating country music.

He can be reached by email at petersanto1129@gmail.com

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