ESPN predictions: Who will win the 2018 U.S. Open?

The U.S. Open returns to a place in search of redemption. The last time the U.S. Open was at Shinnecock Hills, in 2004, things got out of hand, when the seventh green became nearly unplayable and the USGA had to take the blame. While the course and the USGA look to redeem themselves, the players come here in search of a major. Some seeking their first. Some seeking a return to glory. Some looking to add to already impressive trophy cases.

Our experts went with names we're sure you'll recognize.

Matt Barrie
U.S. Open champion: Dustin Johnson
Winning score: 6 under
Why he'll win: We're starting to see peak Dustin Johnson again after retaking the world No. 1 ranking following his win this past week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. This tournament will always fit his skill set. He missed the cut last year at Erin Hills. Shinnecock is going to pay for it.

Michael Collins
U.S. Open champion: Dustin Johnson
Winning score: 4 under
Why he'll win: Taking back the world No. 1 ranking is something Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day all failed to accomplish. You know why? Because they wanted it too badly. DJ doesn't seem to care much about it and only wants to win tournaments. Actually, it seems like he doesn't even care that much about winning tournaments, but that's also why he does win so much. It's also why he can block all the noise about how "no one has ever won the U.S. Open the week after winning" out of his head.

Michael Eaves
U.S. Open champion: Jason Day
Winning score: 7 under
Why he'll win: This year's setup at Shinnecock will definitely favor the big hitters. Day is one of the longest hitters on tour, and he currently leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting. The second major of the year is his for the taking.

Bob Harig
U.S. Open champion: Justin Rose
Winning score: 6 under
Why he'll win: Somehow Rose manages to stay under the radar despite being ranked third in the world. The 2013 U.S. Open champion has been one of the game's most solid players over the past six months, and just followed up a win at the Fort Worth Invitational with a tie for sixth at the Memorial. He also has the length and precision to excel at Shinnecock, which should demand both.

Ian O'Connor
U.S. Open champion: Rickie Fowler
Winning score: 4 under
Why he'll win: Fowler finally responded to the Sunday pressure in a major at Augusta, making birdie to force eventual Masters champion Patrick Reed to make par on the 72nd hole to win. Fowler says he's ready to finally win a big one -- and I believe him. His recent engagement to his girlfriend, Allison Stokke, should put him in a great frame of mind.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz
U.S. Open champion: Justin Thomas
Winning score: even par
Why he'll win: He has the length and the demeanor. And being part of one of the circus groups ... sorry, marquee groups ... with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson over the first two days won't matter to him.

Marty Smith
U.S. Open champion: Rory McIlroy
Winning Score: 3 under
Why he'll win: Shinnecock Hills is notoriously unforgiving. It has hosted three U.S. Open championships in the past three-plus decades. Just three players total shot under par. Driving the ball with length -- and more importantly, accuracy, both McIlroy strengths -- will be critical. These are small greens. You don't want to waste strokes chasing them. Experts tell me this, almost universally: McIlroy's A-game is better than everyone else's A-game. When all else is equal, and everyone shows up to ball, McIlroy is the best in the world. He'll need to show it this weekend.

Kevin Van Valkenburg
U.S. Open champion: Justin Thomas
Winning score: 3 under
Why he'll win: Thomas' game sets up perfectly for Shinnecock. He hits it long and straight off the tee, hits his irons a mile high, can make enough birdies to overcome the inevitable stretch of bogeys and has a simmering intensity that runs hot but never really boils over. Even though he lost the No. 1 ranking to Dustin Johnson this week, I'm still convinced Thomas is the game's best player. This is his chance to make that argument stick.