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US Open ultimate guide: Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, LIV Golf hopes and more from Pinehurst

Scottie Scheffler arrives as favourite for US Open victory; Wyndham Clark returns as defending champion, while Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau are among those chasing major victory; Watch live on Thursday from 12.30pm on Sky Sports Golf

Credit - AP Photo/Getty

Will Scottie Scheffler continue his winning streak? Can Rory McIlroy end his major drought? What can we expect from Tiger Woods? Could we get another first-time winner? Storylines to follow at the US Open...

Will Scheffler continue his dominant streak?

Scottie Scheffler heading into a major as the overwhelming favourite has become standard practice in recent seasons, with this week's event no different after five wins in his last eight PGA Tour starts.

Scheffler had already won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players, The Masters and the RBC Heritage this season to extend his advantage at the top of the world rankings, then held onto a one-shot win at The Memorial Tournament on Sunday despite being nowhere near his brilliant best.

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Highlights from the final day of The Memorial Tournament from Dublin, Ohio

The world No 1 lacked the tee-to-green consistency we've been accustomed to on the final day at Muirfield Village, with his putting also not as prolific as we've seen this season, but Scheffler still had enough without his A-game to hold off a star-studded leaderboard and add another title.

Scheffler has posted top-seven finishes in his last three US Open appearances and has contended in virtually every event he has teed it up in over the past three years, not missing a cut since August 2022, so it would be little surprise if he was to end the week as a three-time major champion.

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Paul McGinley sings Scottie Scheffler's praises following his victory at The Memorial tournament

Can Mcllroy end his major drought?

Rory McIlroy is already a three-time winner this season, having successfully defended his title at January's Hero Dubai Desert Classic before ending an inconsistent run on the PGA Tour with victories at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the Wells Fargo Championship.

The next challenge, as it has been over the past decade, is building on a positive season by registering an elusive fifth major victory and first - remarkably - since the 2014 PGA Championship.

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Wayne 'Radar' Riley looks back at Rory McIlroy's win at Valhalla in 2014 at the PGA Championship, his last major triumph

McIlroy has had 20 top-10s in majors since that success at Valhalla without reaching the winner's circle, including each of his five US Open appearances, with the 35-year-old now looking to go one better than last year's runner-up finish in Los Angeles.

Strong performances at the RBC Canadian Open and for three rounds of the Memorial Tournament will give McIlroy encouragement heading to Pinehurst. He has previously spoken about a major win being the 'final piece of the puzzle' - could this be the week it finally happens?

Live US Open Golf

Thursday 13th June 12:30pm

Will we see another first-time major winner?

Since Tiger Woods' dramatic success at Torrey Pines in 2008, 12 of the next 15 US Opens - including each of the last five editions - have produced a maiden major champion, with plenty in this week's field hopeful of continuing that streak.

Wyndham Clark maintained the first-time winner's theme with his one-shot win last year, following on from Matt Fitzpatrick, Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau and Gary Woodland, while Xander Schauffele claimed his maiden major title at the PGA Championship last month.

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Highlights of the final round from the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club

FedExCup champion Viktor Hovland challenged Schauffele that week and has showed signs of a return to form, having struggled during the early part of the campaign, with the Norwegian among those chasing a breakthrough major success.

Sahith Theegala, Byeong Hun An and Ludvig Åberg have all impressed on the PGA Tour this season without victory, sitting inside the top-10 in the FedExCup standings, while Tommy Fleetwood is a two-time major runner-up and another contender for a maiden major.

Could we see a back-to-back major champion?

Brooks Koepka is the last player to successfully defend a major title, something he has done twice, with Wyndham Clark now having the chance to become just the fourth player this century to win back-to-back editions of the same major.

Clark won a weather-affected AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this season and added back-to-back runner-up finishes in his next two starts, although the world No 4 has missed the cut in the first two majors of the year and struggled at the Memorial Tournament last week.

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Highlights of the final round from the 123rd US Open as Wyndham Clark held off Rory McIlroy to claim his first major win

Koepka was also the last men's golfer to win multiple majors in a calendar year, with Schauffele hoping to join that group after ending his run of major near-misses with a record-breaking victory at Valhalla last month.

Schauffele boasts a remarkable US Open record, having finished no worse than 14th in his previous seven appearances, while six top-10 finishes in his last seven PGA Tour starts suggests the world No 2 is likely contender once again.

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Speaking on the Sky Sports Golf Podcast, Anthony Wall and Gary Murphy say that 'clarity' helped Xander Schauffele beat his rivals to win the PGA Championship

How about a LIV Golf major success?

Bryson DeChambeau came agonisingly close to making it back-to-back PGA Championship winners from the LIV Golf League, finishing runner-up to Schauffele, with the 2020 US Open champion a popular pick to add a second major title this week.

DeChambeau was also one of three LIV Golf players to finish inside the top-10 at The Masters earlier this season, while former US Open champions Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka have both won LIV Golf events this year and Cameron Smith has finished runner-up in two of them.

LIV Golf's Martin Kaymer claimed a wire-to-wire victory the last time the US Open was held at Pinehurst No 2 in 2014, with the German making his major return having seen his Cleeks GC side claim their first team victory on Sunday in Houston.

Former US Open champion Rahm had to withdraw mid-tournament from the Houston event last week due to a foot injury and has also now pulled out of this week's event, leaving 12 LIV Golf players scheduled to feature in North Carolina.

What can we expect from Woods?

Woods is in unfamiliar territory this week, with the former world No 1 needing a special exemption from the USGA to feature after failing to automatically qualify for a major for the first time as a professional.

The three-time US Open champion has missed the event the previous three years due to injury, with Woods' limited schedule in recent seasons hampering his ambitious hopes of still being able to contend in majors.

PINEHURST, NORTH CAROLINA - JUNE 09:  Tiger Woods smiles on the range during practice for the U.S. Open on the No. 2 Course at Pinehurst Resort on June 9, 2024, in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)
Image: Tiger Woods was seen practicing on Sunday at Pinehurst ahead of the US Open

Woods cited mistakes and a lack of tournament preparation for his missed cut at the PGA Championship last month - following on from finishing last of those who made the weekend at The Masters - and has completed all 72 holes of a tournament just three times since November 2020.

He believes he still has the game to contend, but simply reaching the weekend and finishing all four rounds would be a big step in the right direction. The interest in Woods will always be there, while him being healthy enough to tee it up is something we can't take for granted.

Who will win the US Open? Watch throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 12.30pm on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the US Open and more with NOW.

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