The 118th U.S. Open tees off Thursday at Shinnecock Hills, boasting the strongest field that America’s Greatest Tournament has had in years. Here’s everything you need to know to prepare.
When’s it on television?
You can watch streaming coverage on the U.S. Open website and app. As for TV coverage, here you go. All times Eastern:
Thursday: 9:30-4:30, FS1; 4:30-7:30 Fox
Friday: 10:00-4:30, FS1; 4:30-7:30 Fox
Saturday: 11:00-7:30, Fox
Sunday: 10:00-7:00, Fox
When do the big names tee off?
Here’s a complete listing of tee times. With all due respect to all the 156 golfers in the field, here are the tee times for the top dogs:
• Justin Rose (7:29 a.m.)
• Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka (7:40 a.m.)
• Patrick Reed (7:51 a.m.)
• Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson (8:02 a.m.)
• Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm (1:14 p.m.)
• Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods (1:47 p.m.)
What’s the story with Shinnecock Hills?
Shinnecock has hosted four previous U.S. Opens, most recently in 2004 when Retief Goosen swooped in and grabbed the fumbled trophy out of Phil Mickelson’s hands. Dating to 1891, the club claims to be the oldest in the United States, with what it says is the oldest clubhouse in the country. That means that the course has undergone multiple upgrades to keep up with changing technologies, and now sits at a championship length of 7,445 yards and a par of 35-35-70.
The 2004 Open suffered mightily from dried greens that made putting nearly impossible; expect the USGA to try everything possible to avoid that embarrassing spectacle. The course is long and narrow, with the expected punitive U.S. Open rough, as well as tightly mown skirts that will send wayward shots rolling a long, long way in the wrong direction. The USGA struggles to find that balance between testing golfers and brutalizing them, and we’ll see soon enough which way it fell this year.
Who’s going to win?
This U.S. Open looks to be a test of a range of golf skills, from accuracy off the tee to creativity on approach to precision with the putter. That puts players like Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Justin Rose at the top of likely-to-win charts. Jordan Spieth’s putter can get hot at any time, and if it does, he’ll steamroll the field. Rory McIlroy, now seven years removed from his U.S. Open triumph at Congressional, has had a sneaky-good season, Masters frustrations aside. Also look out for defending champion Brooks Koepka and Hideki Matsuyama, both of whom are playing well coming into the tournament.
Of course this means someone will have the tournament of their life and shatter all narratives, but hey, that’s what makes the U.S. Open great.
Can Tiger Woods win?
Ah, there’s the ever-present question. Woods looks the part of a potential major champion, but he doesn’t exactly play like one. Ten years removed from his last major win, having suffered a Greek tragedy’s worth of pain and drama since then, Woods is trying to claim his 15th major. It’ll be a tough grind; Woods doesn’t seem to have the ability to bring the total package to the course these days, and he’s facing a pack of rivals tougher than any he faced during the meat of his career. If he can putt well and drive well and keep out of the rough and maybe get a good break or two, he’ll be around on the weekend. Any more than that is probably too much to hope.
Can Phil Mickelson close the deal on the career Grand Slam?
Definitely! Maybe! Doubtfully! Who knows? Lefty is well past his prime, but he’s definitely got the good-once-as-I-ever-was vibe out there. Mickelson is the Golf Gods’ chew toy, a guy who’s gotten close enough to stare into the U.S. Open trophy six times but never come away with the one win that would complete his career. He’s played well at Shinnecock, placing second and T4 at the two U.S. Opens he’s played here, so there’s hope that he can strategize his way around the course. That’ll be his best option, since the odds of him throttling the likes of DJ, JT and the rest are vanishingly small. But if it happens, it’ll be one of the great moments in golf history … and that, like so much else in this U.S. Open, is why we’ll watch.
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