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12D AGO

The First Look: 124th U.S. Open

7 Min Read

The First Look

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    Written by Adam Stanley @Adam_Stanley

    The third men’s major championship of the season comes to storied Pinehurst No. 2, with world No. 1 and FedExCup leader Scottie Scheffler looking to add to his PGA TOUR-leading five titles this season.

    Pinehurst will not feature any new tees or bunkers, but this will be the first U.S. Open in history to play on a version of Bermudagrass called Champion Ultradwarf. Bermudagrass provides better playing conditions for the resort throughout the year, but it also allows for more leeway in course conditioning for the U.S. Open – plus it thrives in the heat and humidity of the North Carolina summer, per the USGA.

    Traversing that grass will be a collection of the game’s best – along with the familiar, unfamiliar, and Cinderella qualifiers the U.S. Open is known for – who are all chasing Scheffler. He is coming off a victory at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday and is the first since Tom Watson in 1980 to come into a U.S. Open with five wins already on the season.

    (Scheffler also won the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, THE PLAYERS Championship, Masters Tournament, and the RBC Heritage earlier this season.)


    Scottie Scheffler’s efficiency from 125 to 150 yards sparks win at the Memorial


    Here’s everything you need to know as the TOUR returns to the North Carolina sandhills for the first time in a decade.

    FIELD NOTES: Scheffler (where else would we start?) will tee it up at his seventh U.S. Open. His best result came at Brookline in 2022 when he finished runner-up. He finished third last year at LACC… Tiger Woods returns to action after missing the cut at the PGA Championship. Woods got a special exemption from the USGA after his five-year exemption into the U.S. Open (after his win at the 2019 Masters) ended last year. This will be Woods’ first U.S. Open since 2020 at Winged Foot. He did not play the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in 2014 but was T3 in 1999 and second in 2005… Rory McIlroy has won twice already this season and finished runner-up at last year’s U.S. Open in L.A. Although McIlroy broke par just once at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014 he would go on to win the next two majors that season… Xander Schauffele got the major monkey off his back at the PGA Championship last month, winning his maiden major by one shot. This will be his eighth U.S. Open start. His best result is a T3 at Pebble Beach in 2019… Collin Morikawa is getting closer and closer to winning another big one. He was in the final group at both the Masters and the PGA Championship and comes into the week after a runner-up result to Scheffler at the Memorial… Wyndham Clark looks to become just the second golfer in 35 years to win the U.S. Open in back-to-back years. Clark won his first major (and second PGA TOUR event) at last year’s U.S. Open by one shot over McIlroy. He won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this season.


    Tiger Woods gets ready for U.S. Open on Sunday at Pinehurst


    OLYMPIC QUALIFYING: The U.S. Open is the final week for qualifying for the Olympic Golf competition in Paris. The top four Americans who would qualify are Scheffler, Schauffele, Clark and Morikawa.

    NOTABLE QUALIFIERS: Adam Scott will compete in his 92nd straight major championship – – and 23rd consecutive U.S. Open. It’s the second-longest streak in men’s professional golf history. Scott is ranked No. 61 in the Official World Golf Ranking and became exempt after the USGA removed the late Grayson Murray from the list for qualifying purposes… Matt Kuchar was medalist at The Bear’s Club in Florida. He is one of three golfers to have played the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst (he was a 20-year-old amateur at Georgia Tech) who is again in the field 25 years later… Tim Widing, who leads the Korn Ferry Tour Points list after back-to-back victories in April, will make his U.S. Open debut. Widing was tied for medalist honors in Maryland… Frankie Capan III was medalist in North Carolina and will tee it up at his second straight U.S. Open – but this will be his first since making headlines earlier this year on the Korn Ferry Tour with a 58 in the opening round of the Veritex Bank Championship. Capan won the 2017 U.S. Fourball at Pinehurst No. 2… The comeback continues for Harry Higgs, who won two events in a row (in playoffs) on the Korn Ferry Tour in May and earned a U.S. Open spot in a playoff in North Carolina… Michael McGowan, who is from Pinehurst and grew up just a few miles from the resort, earned his way into the field at the Dallas qualifier. This will be his PGA TOUR debut… Francesco Molinari (Dallas) and his brother Edoardo (England) both qualified. This is just Edoardo’s second major championship start since 2015… Colin Prater is a science teacher at Cheyenne Mountain High School (and coaches the golf team). The 29-year-old amateur fired rounds of 68-73 to earn one of two spots in Oregon.

    Highest-ranked players in the field
    World RankingFedExCup
    1. Scottie Scheffler1. Scottie Scheffler
    2. Xander Schauffele2. Xander Schauffele
    3. Rory McIlroy3. Rory McIlroy
    4. Wyndham Clark4. Collin Morikawa
    5. Viktor Hovland5. Wyndham Clark
    6. Ludvig Åberg6. Sahith Theegala
    7. Collin Morikawa7. Ludvig Åberg
    8. Jon Rahm8. Byeong Hun An
    9. Patrick Cantlay9. Hideki Matsuyama
    10. Max Homa10. Sepp Straka

    SIGNATURE EVENT STORYLINES: The next Signature Event on the PGA TOUR schedule is the Travelers Championship, the week after the U.S. Open… There are no updates from the Aon Swing 5 as the entrants to the Travelers were confirmed after the RBC Canadian Open (Robert MacIntyre, Davis Riley, Ben Griffin, Chris Gotterup, and Victor Perez)… The 10 names inside the Aon Next 10 remained the same from the RBC Canadian Open through the Memorial but with some movement: Christiaan Bezuidenhout (fourth at the Memorial) vaulted from No. 9 to No. 3, the biggest jump… Taylor Pendrith holds the No. 10 spot by just 45 points over Billy Horschel.


    Robert MacIntyre wins RBC Canadian Open


    COMCAST BUSINESS TOUR TOP 10 UPDATES: With his victory at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, Scheffler continued his dominance on top of the TOUR TOP 10. His fifth win of the season (and 12th top-10 finish in 13 events) saw Scheffler pass the 5,000-point mark for the season… Morikawa finished runner-up to Scheffler at the Memorial and moved from No. 6 to No. 4 in the standings… Sepp Straka made a tremendous leap in the standings after his T5 at the Memorial, moving from No. 22 to No. 10… Byeong Hun An dropped one spot to No. 8, but remains the only golfer to be ranked inside the TOUR TOP 10 every week so far this season.

    FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 750 FedExCup points.

    COURSE: Pinehurst (No. 2), par 70, 7,543 yards. The biggest change from 2014 to this year is the club switched to bermudagrass from bentgrass. This will be the first U.S. Open played on ‘Champion Ultradwarf Bermudagrass’ greens. In 2014 the waste areas were only about four years old; the sandy areas around the course are now much more robust with a decade of growth. The course was originally laid out in 1907; designer Donald Ross kept a close eye on things as he lived beside the third hole. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw restored the course in 2010 – the greens were taken back to their original dimensions and the sandhills now play a bigger part in the aesthetics. The undulating greens are the course’s primary defense, even for the game’s best. The fourth hole was previously played as a par 5 but will now play as a par 4 at 528 yards.

    72-HOLE RECORD: 268, Rory McIlroy (2011 at Congressional CC).

    18-HOLE RECORD: 62, Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele (Round 1, 2023 at Los Angeles Country Club).

    LAST TIME: Clark won his first major in his seventh major start and six weeks after breaking through for his first PGA TOUR title. Clark shot an even-par 70 in the final round at Los Angeles Country Club to hold off McIlroy and Scheffler, who finished second and third, respectively. Clark bogeyed Nos. 15 and 16 as he inched closer to the finish line, but McIlroy, who finished one shot back, made just one birdie Sunday (on the first hole) and couldn’t press Clark any further as the sun set in Hollywood.

    HOW TO FOLLOW

    NOTE: The USGA, who owns and operates the U.S. Open, controls all digital streaming and broadcast rights to this event. For more information on how to watch this week, please visit the U.S. Open’s website. PGA TOUR LIVE coverage will resume on Thursday, June 20 at the Travelers Championship.

    Television:

    • Thursday: 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (USA), 5-8 p.m. (Peacock)
    • Friday: 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (Peacock), 1-7 p.m. (NBC), 7-8 p.m. (Peacock)
    • Saturday: 10 a.m.-noon (USA), noon- 8 p.m. (NBC)
    • Sunday: 9 a.m.-noon (USA), noon-7 p.m. (NBC)

    Radio on SiriusXM 92/U.S. Open radio:

    • Thursday-Friday: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
    • Saturday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
    • Sunday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

    Streaming: Various via USOpen.com. Featured Holes and Featured Groups to be announced.

    For more live streaming information, click here for the official USGA Viewing Schedule.

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