The world’s best golfers head to Southampton, New York this week for the year’s second Major championship. Brooks Koepka defends his title in the 118th U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
US Open Preview, TV Times
The second Major of the year will be decided at historic Shinnecock Hills this week where the world’s best players tee it up in search of glory in the U.S. Open.
World Number 1 Dustin Johnson will be looking to win his national title for a second time and is looking to become the first player ever to win the U.S. Open having won the week before. He will face an extremely strong field that includes World Number 2 Justin Thomas and Number 3 Justin Rose. Between them, the trio have secured 16 victories worldwide over the last 18 months.
There are some great groups to look out for in the first two rounds: Rory McIlroy will tee it up with Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson; Justin Rose plays with Louis Oosthuizen and Jimmy Walker and there’s an all-Spanish group featuring Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello. But the real marquee grouping is that of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods. The world’s top-two ranked players together with the three-time champion.
14 players earned their place at Shinnecock Hills through the European leg of Sectional Qualifying at Walton Heath. Those who made it through that route included Andrew “Beef” Johnston, Matthew Southgate, Richie Ramsay and Thorbjorn Olesen.
For a long period in the latter part of the 20th century, the U.S. Open was dominated by home players but, since the turn of this century, the roll of winners has a more international feel: South Africa’s Retief Goosen won twice in 2001 and 2004, Michael Campbell of New Zealand won in 2005, Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy in 2006 followed by Angel Cabrera of Argentina in 2007. At Pebble Beach in 2010 Graeme McDowell became the first European since Tony Jacklin in 1970 to take the title. Since then, three have been three more European winners – Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy.
The U.S has started to grab a stranglehold on the event again in recent years though: Jordan Spieth won in 2015 at Chambers Bay and then Dustin Johnson triumphed at Oakmont in 2016. Last season, Brooks Koepka was the champion at Erin Hills, where he finished four clear of Hideki Mastuyama and Brian Harman.
Shinnecock Hills is one of the USA’s most historic golf clubs and courses. The club dates from 1890 and the course is just a couple of years younger. The layout was redesigned in 1931 by William Flynn and, although it has been considerably lengthened (a further 400+ yards since 2004), Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw began work in 2012 to restore the playing characteristics of Flynn’s re-design. It’s a beautiful track with widened fairways crossing undulating, natural terrain.
The club first welcomed the U.S. Open in 1896 when James Foulis of Scotland was the winner, it was 100 years before the event returned when Ray Floyd was champion in 1896. Corey Pavin won at Shinnecock in 1995 and Retief Goosen was the most recent U.S. Open winner over the layout in 2004.
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In that event, warm and breezy conditions made the course exceptionally difficult on the Sunday with the greens near unplayable owing to their speed. The average score for the day was almost 79, displaying the quality of Goosen’s closing 71.
The weather looks set fair and the only challenge from the elements should be moderate sea breezes.
Venue: Shinnecock Hills GC, Southampton, New York
Date: Jun 14-17
Course stats: par 70, 7,440 yards
Defending champion: Brooks Koepka (-16)
How to watch the U.S. Open
Wednesday 13 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Mix from 8pm (On the range)
Thursday 14 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 4.30m. Featured Groups on Sky Sports Golf from 1.30pm
Friday 15 – Sky Sports Golf from 4.30pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 6pm. Featured Groups on Sky Sports Golf from 12pm
Saturday 16 – Sky Sports Golf from 4.30pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 6pm
Sunday 17 – Sky Sports Golf from 4.30pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 6.30pm
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the U.S. Open?
Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £7.99 you can get a day pass if you wish to watch one of the rounds or, for just £12.99, you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.
Players to watch:
Phil Mickelson – He’s enjoying a renaissance this year and is looking to finally claim a U.S. Open title. Lefty played at Shinnecock Hills in 2004 and is one of only five players in the field who also competed here back in 1995.
Tommy Fleetwood – The Englishman was fourth in last year’s U.S. Open and he has the scoring game suited to the test posed by the year’s second Major.
Louis Oosthuizen – A great ball striker and an excellent scrambler, Oosthuizen has finished in the top-15 five times in his last seven starts this year. He was tied 2nd in the 2015 U.S. Open.
Key holes – The closing three: The 16th is a par-5 of 616 yards, 74 yards longer than in 2004. Despite its length, the longer hitters will look to reach this hole in two if they can find the fairway and the hole should offer up birdie chances.
The par-3 17th measures just 180 yards but finding the green will be tough with a prevailing crosswind from left to right.
The home hole is a long par-4 of 485 yards (35 longer than 14 years ago.) The tee shot is somewhat blind and players will aim for the right side of the fairway to approach the testing green. Par on this tough closer will be hard won.