The US Open JASON Day spearheads an Australian contingent featuring a couple of major championship bolters in the 117th US Open beginning Thursday night (AEST).
World No.3 Day is joined by established stars Adam Scott and Marc Leishman at Erin Hills but surprise qualifiers Wade Ormsby and Nick Flanagan add an element of intrigue to the Aussie charge.
World No.1 and defending champion Dustin Johnson is favourite at the daunting layout in Wisconsin but picking a winner has been near-impossible in recent majors, with first-timers claiming the past six. Here’s everything you need to know.
HOW TO WATCH
The 2017 US Open will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Australia with coverage beginning on Fox Sports Channel 501 from 3am Friday morning AEST.
Foxsports.com.au will also feature live streams and scores throughout the tournament.
THE COURSE & TOURNAMENT DETAILS
117th U.S. Open golf championship
June 15-18, Erin Hill Golf Club, Wisconsin
Wisconsin developer Robert Lang was behind the building of a public golf course on pure pastureland with hopes of attracting the U.S. Open.
The course about 65km miles northwest of Milwaukee was designed by Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten.
It opened in 2006 and was awarded the U.S. Open four years later, one year after Lang had to sell the course. It has the appearance of links golf, with rolling terrain and no trees, surrounded by wetlands and a river. It will be the second time in three years that the U.S. Open is held on a public golf course.
Length: 7,741 yards (7078 metres)
Par: 72 (36-36).
Cut: Top 60 players and ties.
Playoff (if necessary): 18 holes on June 19.
Field: 156 players.
Purse: $US12 million ($A16 million)
Dustin Johnson won his first major championship by closing with a 1-under 69 for a three-shot victory at Oakmont. The final round was complicated by Johnson’s golf ball moving on the fifth green, and the USGA telling him on the 12th tee that he may – or may not – be penalized. Johnson played the last seven holes not knowing the score, making the one-shot penalty he ultimately was assessed a moot point.
Age: 29 World Ranking: 3 Worldwide wins: 11 Best in a Major: Win (2015 PGA Championship) US Opens Played: 6 (6 cuts made) Best US Open: 2nd (2011, 2013) Odds: $15
Why he can win: Day has four top-10 finishes in the past five US Opens, the most of any golfer in that span. Also has runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2013.
Why he might not: The knee-high primary rough at debutante venue Erin Hills. Ranked 145th this season for driving accuracy, his world-class short game won’t be enough on its own.
Age: 36 World Ranking: 12 Worldwide wins: 26 Best in a Major: Win (2013 Masters) US Opens Played: 15 (9 cuts made) Best US Open: T4 (2015) Odds: $31 Why he can win: Has top-10s in the two biggest events this year (Masters and Players Championship). Coming off a tie for 10th at last week’s St Jude Classic. Why he might not: Ball-striking. As one of the world’s best ball-strikers, Scott’s long game has been slightly off this season; he ranks 130th for driving accuracy and 36th for greens in regulation.
Age: 33 World Ranking: 35 Worldwide wins: 3 Best in a Major: T2 (2015 British Open) US Opens Played: 5 (2 cuts made).
Best US Open: T18 (2016) Odds: $81 Why he can win: In career-best form. Has a victory (Arnold Palmer Invitational) among three top-10s and nine top-25s this season. Ranks 24th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained off the tee and 32nd in putting.
Why he might not: Leishman’s form at US Open’s past has been disappointing. He’s made the cut just twice in five visits.
Age: 37 World Ranking: 452 Worldwide wins: 1 Best in a Major: debut US Opens Played: 0 Best US Open: debut Odds: $500 Why he can win: Is one of the European Tour’s most consistent in driving accuracy and putting, ranking 55th and 36th, respectively.
Why he might not: After 16 years as a professional, the 2017 US Open is Ormsby’s major championship debut. Experience is everything at the majors.
Age: 33 World Ranking: 1927 Worldwide wins: 4 (Web.com Tour) Best in a Major: 23 (2005 British Open) US Opens Played: 1 Best US Open: missed cut (2004) Odds: $1001 Why he can win: Rediscovered some of his best golf at last week’s US Open qualifier. Takes a carefree attitude into the US Open, 13 years since he last played the event.
Why he might not: Has had a horror run of injuries, which has seen him play just two Web.com Tour events in the past two years. Hasn’t played a major since the 2005 British Open.
THE TOP CONTENDERS
DUSTIN JOHNSON (USA)
Age: 32 World Ranking: 1 Worldwide wins: 15 Best in a Major: Win (2016 US Open) US Opens Played: 9 (8 cuts made) Best US Open: T2 (2015) Odds: $8.50
Why he can win: He’s the defending champion and world No.1. Johnson got the major monkey off his back at last year’s US Open. Has added five victories since, including three WGCs.
Why he might not: Recent form. Since withdrawing injured from the Masters, DJ hasn’t bagged a top-10 and missed the cut in his last start.
JORDAN SPIETH (USA)
Age: 23 World Ranking: 5 Worldwide wins: 11 (including) two Australian Opens Best in a Major: Win (2015 Masters, 2015 US Open) US Opens Played: 5 (4 cuts made) Best US Open: Win (2015) Odds: $13 Why he can win: The 2015 US Open and Masters winner is in hot form in 2017, bagging a victory, a second and a third place among six top-10s from 14 events this season.
Why he might not: The driver. Erin Hills measures 7,100 metres with brutal fescue rough. Spieth ranks 86th in driving distance and 123rd in driving accuracy. His US Open title defence ended with a disappointing 37th last year.
RORY McILROY (NIR)
Age: 27 World Ranking: 2 Worldwide wins: 22 Best in a Major: 4 Wins (2011 US Open, 2012, 2014 PGA Championship; 2014 British Open) US Opens Played: 8 (5 cuts made) Best US Open: Win (2011) Odds: $8 Why he can win: Has won the US Open before and as one of the longest hitters on tour can handle the 7,100-metre Erin Hills course. Has four top-10s from six events in 2017, including the Masters.
Why he might not: Injury. McIlroy missed three events after the Players Championship with the rib injury he suffered in January flaring up again. Might not have the necessary rounds under his belt.
JON RAHM (ESP)
Age: 22 World Ranking: 10 Worldwide wins: 1 Best in a Major: T23 (2016 US Open, as an amateur) US Opens Played: 1 (1 cut made) Odds: $21
Why he can win – Jon Rahm has been one of the year’s hottest golfers. His 2017 season includes a maiden US PGA Tour win, two runner-ups and a third place.
Why he might not – Experience. The 22-year-old has only played in three major championships.
RICKIE FOWLER (USA)
Age: 28 World Ranking: 9 Worldwide wins: 7 Best in a Major: T2 (2014 US Open and British Open) US Opens Played: 9 (8 cuts made) Best US Open: T2 (2014) Odds: $21 Why he can win – Fowler has been in superb form this year, with a win, a runner- up and a third place among five top-10s. Has a second place at the US Open to fuel the confidence.
Why he might not – Breaking through. Fowler has played 29 majors without lifting the trophy, including five top-five results.
SERGIO GARCIA (ESP)
Age: 37 World Ranking: 7 Worldwide wins: 31 Best in a Major: Win (2017 Masters) US Opens Played: 17 (15 cuts made) Best US Open: T3 (2005) Odds: $26
Why he can win: Confidence. Sergio Garcia broke through to win his first major at the Masters in April, after a series of agonisingly close calls.
Why he might not: Hunger. Since shedding the ‘best player without a major’ tag, the Spaniard hasn’t finished inside the top-15 in his past three PGA Tour events.
ROUND ONE TEE TIMES (AEST)
Thursday, June 15
Hole No. 1 6:45am local (2145 AEST) – Jordan Niebrugge (USA) Talor Gooch (USA) Kevin Dougherty (USA)
21:56 – Andres Romero (ARG), Brice Garnett (USA), TBD
22:07 – Yusaku Miyazato (JPN) J.T. Poston (USA), Aaron Rai (ENG)
22:18 – David Lingmerth (SWE) Paul Dunne (IRL), Li Haotong (TPE)
22:29 – a-Stewart Hagestad (USA) Chez Reavie (USA), Gene Sauers (USA)
22:40 – Brandt Snedeker (USA), Alex Noren (SWE), Tyrrell Hatton (ENG)
22:51 – Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP), Thomas Pieters (BEL), Brooks Koepka (USA)
23:02 – Gary Woodland (USA), J.B. Holmes (USA), Jason Kokrak (USA)
23:13 – Russell Knox (SCO), a-Scott Gregory (ENG), Martin Laird (SCO)
23:24 – Kevin Kisner (USA), Billy Horschel (USA), Branden Grace (RSA)
23:35 – Webb Simpson (USA), Ernie Els (RSA), Lucas Glover (USA)
23:46 – Tyson Alexander (USA), Christopher Crawford (USA),Max Greyserman (USA)
23:57 – Matthew Campbell (USA), Garrett Osborn (USA), a-Walker Lee (USA)
12:30 pm (0330 Friday AEST) – Jack Maguire (USA), Corey Conners (CAN) Ben Kohles, Sea Island, Ga.
03:41 – Eddie Pepperell, England; Chan Kim (USA)
03:52 – Jhonattan Vegas (VEN), Yuta Ikeda (JPN), Sean O’Hair (USA)
04:03 – Andrew Johnston (ENG), Brian Stuard (USA), George Coetzee (RSA)
04:14 – Marc Leishman (AUS), Pat Perez (USA), Kim Si-Woo (KOR)
04:25 – Russell Henley (USA), a-Scottie Scheffler (USA), Harris English (USA)
04:36 – Bubba Watson (USA), Adam Scott (AUS), Sergio Garcia (ESP)
04:47 – Henrik Stenson (SWE), Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)
05:58 – Jimmy Walker (USA), Justin Thomas (USA), Paul Casey (ENG)
05:09 – Jason Day (AUS), Justin Rose (ENG), Rory McIlroy (NIR)
05:20 – Steve Stricker (USA), Stewart Cink (USA), Phil Mickelson (USA)
05:31 – Ryan Brehm (USA), John Oda (USA), Jonathan Randolph (USA)
05:42 – a-Mason Andersen (USA), Derek Barron (USA), Roman Robledo (USA)
Hole No. 10 6:45 am local (2145 AEST) – TBD, Ted Potter Jr (USA), Daniel Chopra (SWE)
21:56 – Shugo Imahira (JPN), TBD, Matthew Wallace (ENG)
22:07 – Charley Hoffman (USA), Jason Dufner (USA), Hideto Tanihara (JPN)
22:18 – Wang Jeung-Hun (KOR), Thomas Aiken (RSA), Bradley Dredge (WAL)
22:29 – a-Scott Harvey (USA), Jamie Lovemark (USA), Michael Putnam (USA)
22:40 – Brian Harman (USA), Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), Bud Cauley (USA)
22:51 – Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Rickie Fowler (USA), Jon Rahm (ESP)
23:02 – Lee Westwood (ENG), Ross Fisher (ENG), Graeme McDowell (NIR)
23:13 – Danny Willett (ENG), Zach Johnson (USA), Angel Cabrera (ARG)
23:24 – Matt Kuchar (USA), Francesco Molinari (ITA), Patrick Reed (USA)
23:35 – Martin Kaymer (GER), Jordan Spieth (USA), Dustin Johnson (USA)
23:46 – a-Joaquin Niemann (CHI), Stephan Jaeger (GER), Joel Stalter (LUX)
23:57 – Daniel Miernicki (USA), a-Sahith Theegala (USA), TBD
12:30pm local (0330 Friday AEST) – Wade Ormsby (AUS), Oliver Bekker (RSA), Kyle Thompson (USA)
03:41 – Brandon Stone (RSA) Troy Merritt (USA), TBD
03:52 – Satoshi Kodaira (JPN), Daniel Summerhays (USA), Alexander Levy (FRA)
04:03 – William McGirt (USA), Keegan Bradley (USA), Kevin Na (USA)
04:14 – a-Brad Dalke (USA), Wesley Bryan (USA), Brendan Steele (USA)
04:25 – Nick Flanagan (AUS), Richie Ramsay (SCO), Bryson DeChambeau (USA)
04:36 – Daniel Berger (USA), Roberto Castro (USA), Bill Haas (USA)
04:47 – Adam Hadwin (CAN), Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Pan Cheng-Tsung (TPE)
04:58 – Scott Piercy (USA), Shane Lowry (IRL), Jim Furyk (USA)
05:09 – Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG), Peter Uihlein (USA), An Byeong-Hun (KOR)
05:20 – Kevin Chappell (USA), a-Maverick McNealy (USA), Bernd Wiesberger (AUT)
05:31 – Xander Schauffele (USA), Trey Mullinax (USA), a-Cameron Champ (USA)
05:42 – Sam Ryder (USA), a-Alex Smalley (USA), Andy Pope (USA)