The First Look: U.S. Open
September 13, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Woodland duels Koepka in his breakthrough win, Woods' low of the week & Hovland breaks am record
The second event of 2020-21 sees the PGA TOUR head to New York for the first – of six – major championships of the season.
Newly minted FedExCup champion Dustin Johnson will look for his second major title, while five-time TOUR winner Gary Woodland defends from last June at Pebble Beach.
FIELD NOTES: With no qualifying events this year due to COVID-19, the U.S. Open field is comprised of golfers from all around the world via various qualifications and exemptions including both professionals and amateurs… Brooks Koepka, who won back-to-back U.S. Open titles in 2017 and 2018 and was runner up in 2019 announced he would not play this year due to injury… Dustin Johnson, the FedExCup champion, will make his 2020-21 debut… Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele are amongst the group looking for their first major championship titles… Gary Woodland got to hold onto his U.S. Open trophy from 2019 for three extra months given the COVID-19 schedule bump. He’ll defend his major in New York… Tiger Woods will make his season debut, looking for his first U.S. Open title since 2008… Roommates Will Zalatoris and Davis Riley (Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List) will be part of the 10-person contingent from the Korn Ferry Tour who earned spots.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 600 FedExCup points.
COURSE: Winged Foot Golf Club (West Course), par 70, 7,477 yards. Designed by famed architect A.W. Tillinghast, the iconic New York club opened in 1923. Gil Hanse renovated the West Course in 2017. Winged Foot has been a longtime major championship venue, known for its punishing rough and difficult greens. It last hosted the U.S. Open in 2006, where the winning score (Geoff Ogilvy) was 5-over. Winged Foot has hosted four other U.S. Open’s in the past along with the 1997 PGA Championship, won by Davis Love III. Multi-time PGA TOUR winner Ryan Moore won the 2004 U.S. Amateur contested at Winged Foot.
STORYLINES: Phil Mickelson returns to the site of some major heartbreak after a double bogey on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot in 2006 saw him fall out of the lead and end up a shot back of Ogilvy’s winning total. Fourteen years on, Mickelson has six runner ups but is still looking for his first U.S. Open title… Tiger Woods failed to advance to the TOUR Championship for the second season in a row, but is back in action at Winged Foot to start his 2020-21 campaign. Woods is looking for his 16th major title and record 83rd PGA TOUR win… There will be no fans on-site at Winged Foot as the world still navigates the COVID-19 pandemic… This is the sixth U.S. Open Winged Foot has hosted, and only once in the past has the winning score been under par… Collin Morikawa looks to win his second major in a row, although his PGA Championship victory came during the last PGA TOUR season.
72-HOLE RECORD: 268, Rory McIlroy (2011 at Congressional CC).
18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Johnny Miller (4th round, 1973 at Oakmont), Tom Weiskopf (1st round, 1980 at Baltusrol), Jack Nicklaus (1st round, 1980 at Baltusrol), Vijay Singh (2nd round, 2003 at Olympia Fields), Justin Thomas (3rd round, 2017 at Erin Hills), Tommy Fleetwood (4th round, 2018 at Shinnecock Hills).
LAST TIME: Last year at Pebble Beach Gary Woodland won his first major championship and in the process ended Brooks Koepka’s historic U.S. Open run. Woodland, who had won three times on the PGA TOUR prior to his major triumph, shot 13-under over four days in California to defeat Koepka, the runner-up, by three shots. Koepka was attempting to become the first golfer to win three U.S. Open titles in a row since 1905. Woodland, meanwhile, had never finished inside the top-20 at a U.S. Open. Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie, Xander Schauffele, and past FedExCup champion Justin Rose finished T3, six shots back.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television: Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (Golf Channel); 2 p.m.-5 p.m. (NBC); 5 p.m.-7 p.m. (Peacock). Friday, 7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. (Peacock); 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Golf Channel); 4 p.m.-7 p.m. (NBC). Saturday, 9 a.m.-11 a.m. (Peacock); 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. (Peacock), 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (Golf Channel), 12 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC).