After weeks of folie à deux in the world of golf, the world’s finest players return to the US as the USGA’s US Open returns to Brookline, Massachusetts for the first time since 1988.
The Country Club is known for being one of the oldest in the United States, being set-up as part of the five ‘Founding Fathers’ of the USGA, and many will remember the 1999 Ryder Cup, or the ‘Battle of Brookline’ as it went on to be known.
Team USA were victorious on that occasion, overcoming a four point deficit on a Sunday known for a raucous crowd that took it a little bit too far at times but helped the Ryder Cup maintain its magic. This time, we return to Brookline with the Europeans in better form.
Where: The Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts, USA
When: June 16th, 2022 - June 20th, 2022
Prize Money: $12.5 million purse. The winner receives $2.25 million
How To Watch: Sky Sports Golf & Main Event will be covering all four days of action in the North East and luckily, as it’s on the East coast, the time difference won’t be too jarring. Coverage on Thursday and Friday begins from 1pm to midnight. Saturday's schedule starts at 4pm, lasting until 8:30pm, while Sunday will be 2pm-midnight.
Highlights will also be available on the Sky Sports app, BBC Sport website and US Open YouTube channel.
The Course: Being one of the USGA’s ‘Founding Fathers’, bringing golf to the masses in Boston when it was previously illegal, its holes retain yesteryear’s charm. The signature seventh hole, which will be the sixth on the composite course layout, is the oldest on the property, hosting a raised double plateau green with bunkers on either side. It’s basically the length of a pitch and putt hole but the pin placement will be key to challenging players this weekend with an overcooked wedge potentially leaving them off the side of the green. Notable members of the club include Tom Brady and spouse, Gisele Bündchen.
Defending Champion: Jon Rahm powered to victory at Torrey Pines last year, playing superb golf in tough conditions to finish six under, one ahead of Louis Oosthuizen in second. It came down to the final hole, with Rahm making an 18-foot downhill putt on the final hole of the tournament for the winning birdie, and became the first person to win the US Open by a shot with two birdies in the final two holes.
This year, Rahmbo’s entering as the second best player in the world behind Scottie Scheffler, a similar position to last year before he took the top spot with a win in San Diego. So far this season, the Spaniard has won at the Mexican Open in May, after numerous near-misses including a 33 under par finish at the Tournament of Champions, one behind Cameron Smith, and finishing a T3rd at the Farmers Insurance Open, losing out on the playoff between Luke List and Will Zalatoris by one shot.
Last year, he finished in the top ten of all four majors, and only outside the top five once, but is yet to find the same vein of form this year, finishing T27 and T48 at the Masters and PGA respectively.
Who’s Playing: Well in case you didn’t know, the US Open is not a PGA Tour event as it is run by the United States Golf Association, therefore the LIV Golf defectors are still eligible to play in the event. Key players on the tour right now that are expected to play include Rory McIlroy, fresh off a win in Canada. Justin Thomas will remain among the favourites after his PGA Championship play-off victory, Masters champion and world number one Scottie Scheffler will be there, as will Jon Rahm.
Some other friendly faces in Sam Burns (three wins this season), Will Zalatoris (runner-up at PGA Champ) and Shane Lowry (2019 Open Champion, T3 at 2022 Masters) will also be in attendance. In terms of European stars, look no further than Matt Fitzpatrick; he had six top-ten finishes on the PGA Tour in 2021, a top five PGA Championship finish as well as already tasting victory at The Country Club back in 2013 when he won the US Amateur - he could be destined for victory this weekend.
People who are not there include Tiger Woods, who announced that he would be using this time to recover from his rounds at The Masters, saving himself for the British Open at St Andrews.
In terms of a feel good story, 57-year-old Fran Quinn made it through to the US Open in the local qualifiers, beating the number one junior in the country, a former US amateur champion and a former US junior champion on the way. The last time he played in the US Open was 2014 and before that was 1996, where he was on and off the PGA and Nationwide Tours as a journeyman.
Odds: Rory McIlroy is the favourite going into this, sitting at 10/1 above Justin Thomas at 12/1 and Scottie Scheffler at 14/1. Given the experience he has on the course, Matt Fitzpatrick is a handsome 25/1 and the so-far impressive Sam Burns is the same.
Justin Rose’s exceptional round at the Canadian Open could be tempting some into backing him each way at 45/1, with £10 guaranteeing £80 profit if he finishes in the top ten, and a total of £560 return if he wins.
First Round: 11:45am - 1am, Thursday 16th June
Second Round: 11:45am - 1am, Friday 17th June
Third Round: 3pm - 1am, Saturday 18th June
Final Round: 2pm - 12am, Sunday 19th June
*18+ | BeGambleAware