Featured Groups: U.S. Open
June 11, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- June 11, 2018
- Rory McIlroy has top-10 finishes in his last two starts. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
The storylines are plentiful as the U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock Hills for the first time in 14 years and the fifth time overall.
Phil Mickelson, who will turn 48 on Saturday, will play after a one-year absence to attend his oldest daughter’s high school graduation. He’ll attempt to win the one major that has famously eluded him for the career grand slam.
Dustin Johnson is back to being No. 1 in the world after a brief absence, his easy, six-stroke victory at the FedEx St. Jude Classic punctuated by a walk-off eagle at the last hole.
Rory McIlroy, a four-time major winner, is looking to reestablish himself as a major champion, as are Jason Day and Tiger Woods, who will mark the 10-year anniversary of his near-mythic ’08 U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pines. Meanwhile, Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas and a strangely quiet Jordan Spieth will aim for their second major title in less than 12 months.
Brooks Koepka, the defending champion, is back from a wrist injury and comes into this week in peak form after a T11 at THE PLAYERS Championship and runner-up finish at the Fort Worth Invitational. He tied for 30th at the FedEx St. Jude.
Shinnecock Hills (7,440 yards, par 70) is a different animal than it was in 2004, with the course longer but more forgiving, the fairway widths at 41 yards compared to 26 when Retief Goosen edged Mickelson for the title. Goosen didn’t get out of sectional qualifying this time around, but there will be 19 amateurs in the field, the most since 1981.
TELEVISION: Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1), 4-7:30 p.m. (FOX). Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1), 4-7:30 p.m. (FOX). Saturday, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. (FOX). Sunday, 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. (FOX).
RADIO: Thursday-Sunday, Noon-8 p.m. ET (SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and FOX Sports on SiriusXM).
LIVE STREAMING (usopen.com): Thursday: Featured Group channel 1 (Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka; Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm, Rafa Cabrera Bello), 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. ET. Featured Group channel 2 (Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson; Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods), 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. ET. Featured Holes channel (Nos. 7, 9, 11), 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. ET.
Friday: Featured Group channel 1 (TBA), 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. ET. Featured Group channel 2 (Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods; Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson), 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. ET. Featured Holes channel (Nos. 7, 9, 11), 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. ET.
Saturday: Featured Group channel 1 (TBA), 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. ET. Featured Holes channel (Nos. 7, 9, 11), 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. ET.
Sunday: Featured Group channel 1 (TBA), 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. ET. Featured Holes channel (Nos. 7, 9, 11), 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. ET.
(Note: All times Eastern; FedExCup ranking in parentheses.)
Rory McIlroy (31), Jordan Spieth (32), Phil Mickelson (6)
Two guys who have won the U.S. Open and FedExCup; one guy who hasn’t but is in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Mickelson is coming off a final-round 65 and a T12 finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and a T13 at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. He notched one of his six runner-up finishes in the last Shinnecock U.S. Open, in ’04. Spieth is coming off a missed cut at the Memorial, and is 190th in Strokes Gained: Putting. McIlroy has top-10 finishes in his last two starts, the Memorial and the European Tour’s BMW Championship, and won this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.
Thursday: 8:02 a.m. off 10
Friday: 1:47 p.m. off 1
Justin Thomas (1), Dustin Johnson (2), Tiger Woods (55)
Two guys who just swapped spots in the Official World Golf Ranking, and one who spent a long time at No. 1. Thomas and Johnson were kids the last time the U.S. Open visited Shinnecock, but Woods, 42, tied for 17th. He has played well from tee to green but struggled with the putter at the Memorial (T23) and didn’t finish off rounds at THE PLAYERS (T11). Johnson might be the hottest golfer after his dominant FedEx St. Jude Classic win, while Thomas, the defending FedExCup champ and leader again so far this season, hasn’t been too bad himself.
Thursday: 1:47 p.m. off 1
Friday: 8:02 a.m. off 10
Henrik Stenson (40), Adam Scott (93), Martin Kaymer (211)
This threesome has won a combined career Grand Slam, with PGA Championship and U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer doing most of the work. He’s slipped a little of late, as has Scott, who had to survive sectional qualifying to keep his majors streak alive at Shinnecock Hills. His 67 straight major championship starts date back to 2001, an incredible run that is second only to fellow Masters champion Sergio Garcia (75). Stenson played well at the FedEx St. Jude in Memphis but faded with a final-round 71 to finish T26.
Thursday: 1:47 p.m. off 10
Friday: 8:02 a.m. off 1
Zach Johnson (63), Charl Schwartzel (71), Patrick Reed (6)
Three green jacket winners. Johnson, 42, is looking to end a run of uninspired play that has seen him finish T40 at the Memorial and miss the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational. He finished T48 at the ’04 U.S. Open at Shinnecock. Schwartzel was an encouraging T2 at THE PLAYERS Championship but is coming off a 78-75 weekend at the FedEx St. Jude. Reed, who won the Masters two months ago, looks to get back to his winning ways after a T29 at the Memorial.
Thursday: 7:51 a.m. off 10
Friday: 1:36 p.m. off 1
Hideki Matsuyama (75), Marc Leishman (20), Rickie Fowler (14)
Three of the best players never to win a major. Yet. Matsuyama, who missed time earlier this season with a wrist injury, is coming off a T13 at the Memorial and would be Japan’s first men’s major winner. Leishman was runner-up at the recent AT&T Byron Nelson at new tournament host Trinity Forest. Fowler, who finished solo second at the Masters, says he’s ready to be a major champion and will be playing for the first time since he got engaged last week.
Thursday: 8:13 a.m. off 10
Friday: 1:58 p.m. off 1
Sergio Garcia (106), Jon Rahm (10), Rafa Cabrera Bello (53)
The Spanish Armada includes one of the most dangerous players in the field in Rahm, who finished T5 at the recent Fort Worth Invitational and was fourth at the Masters. Cabrera Bello has top-five finishes in two World Golf Championships events so far this season, at WGC-Mexico Championship (T3) and at WGC-HSBC Champions (T5). Garcia has struggled of late but is perhaps still catching up on sleep after he and his wife, Angela, recently had a baby girl. He tied for 20th at the ’04 U.S. Open despite a final-round 80.
Thursday: 1:14 p.m. off 1
Friday: 7:29 a.m. off 10