The new points system for these 10-year trends previews has worked pretty well so far.
No.1 ranked Rory McIlroy finished runner-up at the US Masters while the US PGA playoff was fought out by two players who both ranked in the top eight points scorers - Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris.
Trends have their limitations, of course, but they can add an extra layer of confidence to a punt or point you in the right direction.
For example, the trends said the US PGA was a great major for Americans in their 20s.
Playoff pair Thomas and Zalatoris both met that criteria, as did Cameron Young who tied for third.
And so to this one, the 2022 US Open. Firstly, I'll say for a trend to be worthy of the tag, it has to have happened at least seven times in the last 10 years. Anything less than 70% isn't strong enough.
I've listed 10 categories which reflect that: World Ranking, Nationality, Age, US Open Form, US Open Experience, Recent Majors Form, Major Winner, Current Form, Course Fit and Week Before.
The maximum score is 77 and a few weren't far off it. All will be revealed later but, for now, here's a look at each category.
Let's use this category to explain the points system. The key is frequency. So, in this article, it's how many times something has happened in the last 10 years of the US Open. Looking at world rankings, all of the last 10 winners were ranked inside the top 30 in the OWGR. That's a full house so those in that category this year score 10pts. Naturally, it's 0pts for all those outside the world's top 30 as no US Open winners have been ranked 31st or higher over the last 10 years. That leads to the following scores:
Ranked in world's top 30 = 10pts
Ranked 31st or higher = 0pts
This has been a good tournament for home American players. The lure of winning their national Open has been strong and US golfers have been successful in seven of the last 10 editions. Again, using frequency, it's 7pts for all American players teeing it up this week and 3pts for non-Americans.
American = 7pts
Non-American = 3pts
The average age for a US Open winner over the last 10 years is 28.2. That's over seven years younger than the average age of an Open Championship winner across the same period. In other words, if you fancy an older winner of a Major, it's best to wait until St Andrews next month.
With that average in mind, I'm going to tweak the methodology I've used previously in this category. Although seven of the last 10 winners of the US Open were in their 20s it seems unfair to award a bunch of points to someone aged 21 but hardly anything to someone who has just turned 30. The latter is far closer to that average age of 28.2.
So I'll instead award most points to players nearer the 10-year average (let's round it to 28). Those up to five years either side of 28 score 8pts while those beyond those parameters score just 2pts. That seems fair given that eight of the last 10 winners were aged between 23 and 33. The exceptions were 21-year-old Jordan Spieth and 35-year-old Gary Woodland.
Aged 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 = 8pts
Aged 22 or under/34 or over = 2pts
US Open Form
All the last 10 US Open winners had already posted a top 25 in the event. That included Rahm, who had finished third at Pebble Beach in 2019.
It's a simple one then. Maximum points for those that have managed a top 25 previously but nothing for those who haven't.
Top 25 in a US Open = 10pts
No top 25 in a US Open = 0pts
US Open Experience
Webb Simpson won the US Open at Olympic Club on just his second start in the US Open. However, that is extremely rare.
Conversely, it hasn't been a good tournament for those who have played in it many times.
The sweet spot in terms of past appearances is three to eight inclusive. That applies to each of the last nine winners.
Played from three to eight previous US Opens = 9pts
Played in one, two or over eight US Opens = 1pt
Recent Majors Form
Past US Open winners haven't come out of thin air; they've advertised their credentials with a strong performance in a recent Major.
Rahm had finished eighth and fifth in his previous two and that added to past trends. Overall, the numbers are strong: eight of the last 10 winners had posted a top 10 in at least one of their previous two Majors.
Top 10 in one of their last two Majors = 8pts
No top 10 in last two Majors = 2pts
Although having a strong run in a recent Major is seen as a big plus, is it an advantage to have won one already?
History says not. Five of the last six US Open champions hadn't won a Major before and, over our study period, seven of the last 10 were Majorless going into the week.
Won a Major = 3pts
Not won a Major = 7pts
Common sense says you don't go into the US Open searching for your 'A' game. And there is decent evidence that you have to be in good nick to meet the demands of a testing US Open track.
That's shown by seven of the last 10 winners posting a top 15 in one or both of their previous two starts.
Three hadn't though and Webb Simpson had missed his two previous cuts before lifting the trophy in 2012 so those without stellar form still score some points here.
Top 15 in one of two previous starts = 7pts
No top 15 in one of two previous starts = 3pts
With the tournament moving around, we don't have the benefit of course form to work with. But there are certainly some trends that emerge when looking back at the last 10 years.
Gradually in that run it became clear that bigger hitters were starting to dominate. But a little nuance needs adding here. Those long drivers weren't just spraying it everywhere; many were also hitting it both long and fairly straight.
On the way to the title, eight of the last 10 winners ranked in the top 15 for Driving Distance but eight were also in the top 32 for Driving Accuracy.
Of course, that's how they performed that particular week but to back up the idea that a US Open winner needs to be a good driver is the stat that 8 of the 10 ranked in the top 30% for Total Driving in the season of their win.
Rahm topped the Total Driving (a mix of Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy) charts last season while Gary Woodland was 2nd in Total Driving for 2019, the year he won at Pebble Beach.
Note: to be in the top 30% for Total Driving means a place in the top 60 on the current rankings.
Top 30% in current Total Driving stats = 8pts
Not in top 30% of Total Driving stats = 2pts
Is it a smart idea to play the week before what many regard as the most gruelling tournament of the season?
Some might say it's best to stay tournament sharp by teeing it up the week before; others may say it's better to go in fresh. In addition, the latter could add that having the week off would allow players to get to the tournament site earlier which is especially helpful if it's an unfamiliar course.
The stats say it's better to have had the previous week off. That applied to each of the last three US Open winners and seven of the last 10.
Had previous week off = 7pts
Played previous week = 3pts
And that's all 10 categories complete. So...
The Top Points Scorers
The scores are in and - drumroll - these are the top 16 in the rankings:
73 Sungjae Im
71 Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, Matt Fitzpatrick
69 Scottie Scheffler, Daniel Berger
69 Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas
67 Joaquin Niemann
65 Max Homa
63 Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Smith, Viktor Hovland
61 Jon Rahm, Sam Burns, Tony Finau
Well, well, well, those are somewhat unexpected results.
Looking at Sungjae Im, he's in the top 25 in the world rankings (22nd), is the right age (24), has a top 25 in a US Open (22nd at Winged Foot), has played in the event three times previously, has a top 10 in one of his last two Majors (T8th at the US Masters), hasn't won a Major, has a top 15 in one of his last two starts (T10th at Memorial), is in the top 30 for Total Driving (11th) and isn't playing this week's Canadian Open.
Matt Fitzpatrick would need a top 15 in Canada to keep his tally of 71pts. He missed the cut at Memorial last week so back-to-back failures to make the top 15 would drop him back 6pts to 65.
No-one high up the points charts playing in Canada could add to their tally.
As for Im, he's currently 66/1 on the Sportsbook (1/5 Odds, 6 Places) which looks a healthy price. Those place terms will get more generous this weekend but the price may shrink a little of course.
As for those other 70+ scorers, Schauffele is 20/1, Zalatoris 25/1 and Fitzpatrick 28/1.
Im's first win was in the Honda Classic. Maybe that bodes well when looking down the list of past winners at PGA National.
Starting from 1992, Corey Pavin, Fred Couples, Nick Price, Mark O'Meara, Mark Calcavecchia, Vijay Singh, Justin Leonard, Todd Hamilton, Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els, YE Yang, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Justin Thomas are all Major winners that have also won the Honda.