US Open 2018: While the Masters may get the hype and the glory, the U.S. Open is the most demanding golf tournament of the year.
Expect the best players in the world to have plenty of difficulty when they tee off at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, for the first round Thursday. The tournament is scheduled to conclude Sunday, barring any long weather delays.
The U.S. Open is known for its narrow fairways and punishing rough, and it figures to be as tough as ever this year. One of the reasons for that is the relatively easy time golfers had in the 2017 event at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.
The tract was wide open, and players did not face the demanding tee shots they usually see at the US Open 2018. Brooks Koepka, one of the strongest bombers on the tour, won that event with a score of 16 under par, and seven golfers were 10-under or better.
The United States Golf Association wants the tournament to bring out the best in the 156 competitors.
“The US Open 2018 really is, we consider, golf’s ultimate test, and accuracy needed to play a bigger role in that,” said Mike Davis, the USGA chief executive, per Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press (h/t Columbus Dispatch).
Phil Mickelson said Shinnecock Hills looks like it has been prepared well and the golfers will face a strong and fair test.
“Skill is brought into play with the short game there,” Mickelson said. “I think that it will reward the best player as opposed to having luck be a big element on some of the bounces in the fairway, bounces around the green, how it comes out of the rough.”
The tournament will feature several glamorous pairings, and the spotlight will shine brightest on Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods. Those three will tee off at 1:47 p.m. ET Thursday and 8:02 a.m. Friday.
Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth will tee off at 8:02 a.m. Thursday and 1:47 p.m. Friday, while Rickie Folwer, Hideki Matsuyama and Marc Leishman will follow that group at 8:13 a.m. Thursday and and 1:58 p.m. Friday.
Here’s a look at all the tee times, courtesy of the Golf Channel:
Thursday, June 14, hole #1 / Friday, June 15, hole #10
6:45 a.m. / 12:30 p.m. Harold Varner, Gastonia, N.C.; TBD; Matthieu Pavon, France
6:56 a.m. / 12:41 p.m. Michael Putnam, University Place, Wash.; Scott Gregory, England; Will Zalatoris, Plano, Texas
7:07 a.m. / 12:52 p.m. Brendan Steele, Idyllwild, Calif.; Chesson Hadley, Raleigh, N.C.; (a) Harry Ellis, England
7:18 a.m. / 1:03 p.m. Jhonattan Vegas, Venezuela; Dylan Frittelli, South Africa; (a) Doug Ghim, Arlington Heights, Ill.
7:29 a.m. / 1:14 p.m. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa; Jimmy Walker, Boerne, Texas; Justin Rose, England
7:40 a.m. / 1:25 p.m. Bubba Watson, Bagdad, Fla.; Jason Day, Australia; Brooks Koepka, West Palm Beach, Fla.
7:51 a.m. / 1:36 p.m. Tyrrell Hatton, England; Danny Willett, England; Ian Poulter, England
8:02 a.m. / 1:47 p.m. Kevin Chappell, Fresno, Calif.; Andrew Johnston, England; Daniel Berger, Jupiter, Fla.
8:13 a.m. / 1:58 p.m. Bryson DeChambeau, Clovis, Calif.; Matthew Fitzpatrick, England; Matt Kuchar, Sea Island, Ga.
8:24 a.m. / 2:09 p.m. Thorbjorn Olesen, Denmark; Shubhankar Sharma, India; Patrick Rodgers, Avon, Ind.
8:35 a.m. / 2:20 p.m. Lanto Griffin, Blacksburg, Va.; Tom Lewis, England; (a) Jacob Bergeron, Slidell, La.
8:46 a.m. / 2:31 p.m. (a) Kristoffer Reitan, Norway; (a) Luis Gagne, Costa Rica; Cole Miller, New Tripoli, Pa.
8:57 a.m. / 2:42 p.m. Mickey DeMorat, Merritt Island, Fla.; (a) Tyler Strafaci, Davie, Fla.; Calum Hill, Scotland