US Open 2017: Daniil Medvedev goes for first appearance at 17

Analysis Sport’s most famous tournament is now 17 years old and for the first time over the past decade it has a full-time former world number one player in its field. The next major…

US Open 2017: Daniil Medvedev goes for first appearance at 17

Analysis

Sport’s most famous tournament is now 17 years old and for the first time over the past decade it has a full-time former world number one player in its field.

The next major gets under way in New York on 29 June and it can be a career lifeline. Only five wins and ties for Seve Ballesteros’ victory in 1979 made it into the Hall of Fame.

Thirteen of the 45 players in the draw had reached the final last year and eight have come close, including British Open winner Henrik Stenson, who won at Oakmont in 2015.

Here, BBC Sport’s Harry Slater looks at the possibility of Russian Olympic silver medallist Daniil Medvedev getting into the field.

Club level

The US Open is the most difficult tournament of the four major championships to get into, with 31 players having reached the top 60 in the world rankings on Wednesday but only four currently inside the top-100.

“Four isn’t very many,” admitted Li Haotong of China, ranked 91, “but it’s still a possibility. The top 100 will be shorter than the rest of the players in the field.”

Medvedev could still climb into the top 50 – and make his first appearance at the US Open – after only 64 events.

Having won the recent Australian Open warm-up in Perth, the 24-year-old Latvian won his first European Tour title earlier this year in Croatia, moving up to ninth in the world rankings.

He recorded his second Masters appearance with a tie for 19th at Augusta in April.

He has won two titles in his career, with the first at the Duesseldorf Open in August 2015.

Medvedev’s tournament at the Australian Open helped him surpass Milos Raonic for the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Confidence and recent performances

Despite changing coaches since February, Medvedev’s best finish since the Australian Open is a tie for second at the French Open in May.

On the other hand, Li has a win, two second places and three firsts in nine attempts at the US Open in the past seven years.

Li beat Roger Federer to win the China Open final last month

“I like to play very close to the top 100, I like to have a chance to be in the best-ball in the US Open,” Li said.

“I have come close to the top-100 five times and I am doing my best to be in there.”

Possible route into the top 100

In 2017, Medvedev won three of his eight full European Tour events and won two third-place finishes and two fourth places.

On the strength of his recent form, he could get into the top-30 for the US Open.

He beat Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open to move to 36th in the rankings.

The double in Dusseldorf left him at 10th in the world.

With him needing to jump to 50th in order to make the US Open, he could go up to 82nd in the world ranking if he wins the French Open this week and comes third in Rome or Hamburg.

If he was to reach the top-50 on Sunday he would leapfrog Seve Ballesteros into second place in the all-time lists for most US Open matches played, and second for most rounds played.

If he was to finish third, he would overtake Fred Couples to place fourth in overall number of rounds played, to move up to third for rounds played.

Or it might be to figure as part of a play-off to decide who gets into the field for the prestigious tournament.

On the other hand, Li could finish in the top-10 and then only reach 61st – making it a 19th US Open.

Worryingly for Li is that he will not play in next week’s US PGA and therefore only six tournaments to reach the next level.

The next best chances of playing for a place in the top-100 come at the Players Championship, or the first two legs of the FedEx Cup play-offs in October.

Winning the first leg at The Northern Trust will put a cap on opportunities for three events in Canada and Boston.

“I’m excited that I get to have another opportunity, because last year I didn’t have the chance at all,” Li said.

“So I’m happy this year I can have a chance to play another tournament.”

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