Who can win the U.S. Open? Ranking all 156 golfers in the field

PINEHURST, N.C. -- The U.S. Open is returning to Pinehurst No. 2 in the sandhills region of North Carolina for the first time in 10 years, and near the 25th anniversary of the late Payne Stewart's unforgettable victory over Phil Mickelson in 1999.

A statue of Stewart's famous pose after his winning putt on the 72nd hole to beat Mickelson by one stroke will greet fans this week at the Pinehurst No. 2 clubhouse. The winning putt came four months before Stewart and three other passengers died in a plane crash, along with the two pilots, on Oct. 25, 1999.

The memory of Stewart's win will make the 124th U.S. Open, which begins Thursday, even more special. It will be the 1,000th championship event staged by the United States Golf Association, which moved much of its headquarters to Pinehurst No. 2, including a new equipment-testing facility, museum and visitor center. Pinehurst No. 2 will host the U.S. Open again in 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047.

World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler is an overwhelming betting favorite to capture his third major championship victory on what is expected to be the most difficult setup of the season.

Here's a look at the field, including the contenders, sleepers, qualifiers and amateurs:

Jump to a section:
The guy everyone is chasing
Players who can win
If everything goes right
Hey, miracles happen
Happy to make the cut

Tier I: The guy everyone is chasing