Preview: A Classic Return for the 118th United States Open Championship

A leaderboard is seen during a practice round ahead of the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. on Monday, June 11, 2018. (Copyright USGA/Jeff Haynes)

The United States Open Championship is the oldest flavour of vanilla in golf. That not meant to be derogatory, in fact, its more of a compliment.

Vanilla is distinctive; even the least nuanced of taste buds can recognize its profile. It’s dependable, has universal appeal, and we like it just as it is.

All equally applies to the United States Open Championship. In the last few years, at sites like Chambers Bay and Erin Hills, the powers that be at the USGA have tried to alter the recipe, but to limited success.

When most think of the National Championship on the United States, we immediately recall traditional northeastern layouts – stately, nuanced, and hard. Really, really hard.

That’s what we expect each year on Father’s day weekend, and this year we get it back. In spades.

But let’s just hope the host club, the vaunted Shinnecock Hills Golf Club plays more as it was designed by the people who shaped it rather than as contrived by a guest tournament committee.

The latter was the case in 2004 and the result was a beautiful lady in a bad prom dress. There was no need for the extra frills as the course got away from the powers that be in the final round of the United States Open that year. It resulted in a last day scoring average of just over 78.7 with nobody breaking par and Retief Goosen’s survival victory forgotten in the debacle of a golf course gone sideways. The 7th green was nearly unplayable due to the firmness and slope, with less than 20% of the field able to hit it on Sunday and requiring the USGA to water it BETWEEN groups.

The hope by all is that one of the country’s finest layouts can stand on it’s own this week, even with a design now enhanced by some 444 more yards than the one the players faced in ’04.

2004 U.S. OPEN

Retief Goosen used just 11 putts over the final nine holes and withstood a challenge from Phil Mickelson to win his second U.S. Open title, by two strokes, with a 4-under-par 276. Goosen began the final round with a two-shot lead over Mickelson and Ernie Els. It became a two-man race when Els fell off the pace early. Goosen led by three after he birdied the 11th and Mickelson bogeyed the 12th just ahead. But Mickelson would birdie three of the next four holes to take a momentary one-stroke lead as he headed to the 17th tee. Goosen joined Mickelson at 4 under par when he also birdied the par-5 16th. But Mickelson three-putted the par-3 17 for a double bogey and Goosen safely made par on the final two holes. His final-round 1-over 71 was the second-best score of the day.

The Canadians

The Canadians are slated to contend for the United States Open Championship. Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C, qualified based on his World Ranking while two Ontario, Mackenzie Hughes (Dundas, Ontario) and amateur Garrett Rank (Elmira, Ontario) advanced via Sectional Qualifying.

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118th U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP – FACT SHEET

June 14-17, 2018, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y.

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PAR AND YARDAGE

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club will be set up at 7,440 yards and will play to a par of 35-35—70. The yardage for each round of the championship will vary due to course setup and conditions.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club Hole By Hole
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
Par 4 3 4 4 5 4 3 4 4 35
Yardage 399 252 500 475 589 491 189 439 485 3,819
Hole 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Total
Par 4 3 4 4 4 4 5 3 4 35
Yardage 415 159 469 374 519 409 616 175 485 3,621

ARCHITECTS                           

Willie Davis completed the first 12 holes in 1891 and head professional Willie Dunn contributed six holes by 1894. The path of the railroad line forced the club to acquire land north of the clubhouse, where, from 1916-17, Charles Blair Macdonald fashioned six new holes for play. William Flynn then constructed 12 new holes and largely altered Macdonald’s layout from 1929 to 1931. The clubhouse, built in 1892, underwent a major restoration in 2016 but remains substantially the same as a century ago.

COURSE RATING         

Based on the course setup for the championship, the USGA Course Rating™ is 76.9 and the Slope Rating® is 146.

WHO CAN ENTER                   

The championship is open to any professional golfer and any amateur golfer with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 1.4. The deadline for entries was Wednesday, April 25.

ENTRIES

In 2018, the USGA accepted 9,049 entries, the eighth-highest total in U.S. Open history. The record of 10,127 entries was set in 2014. There were 9,882 entries filed in 2015.

LOCAL QUALIFYING   

Local qualifying, played over 18 holes, was conducted at 112 sites in the U.S. between April 30-May 17. Qualifying was held in 45 U.S. states and Canada. Florida hosted 15 local qualifiers, while California was second with 14.

SECTIONAL QUALIFYING        

Sectional qualifying, played over 36 holes, was conducted at two international sites on May 21 (Japan) and June 4 (England) as well as 10 U.S. sites on Monday, June 4.

CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD           

The starting field of 156 golfers will be cut after 36 holes to the low 60 scorers (and ties).

SCHEDULE OF PLAY                

Eighteen holes of stroke play are scheduled each day from June 14 (Thursday) through June 17(Sunday). In the event of a tie after 72 holes, a two-hole aggregate playoff will take place following the completion of Sunday’s final round.

2017 CHAMPION
Brooks Koepka, one of the biggest hitters in the game, brought the longest U.S. Open to its knees to produce a four-stroke victory over 54-hole leader Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama. Koepka, who started the final round one shot behind Harman, fired a 5-under-par 67 – his third sub-70 round of the championship. His 72-hole total of 16-under 272 was four strokes shy of the record registered by Rory McIlory in 2011 at par-71 Congressional Country Club, in Bethesda, Md., and it tied the Northern Irishman’s mark in relation to par. He also became the seventh consecutive first-time major champion and the third American in a row to win the U.S. Open. It was all part of a record-setting week at Erin Hills, the first course to host a U.S. Open in Wisconsin. Koepka’s impeccable ball-striking led to 17 of 18 greens hit, and his three consecutive birdies from Nos. 14-16, including a 17-foot putt on the par-3 16th, helped him pull away from the field.

PLAYERS IN FIELD WITH MOST U.S. OPEN APPEARANCES (2017 included): Phil Mickelson (26), Ernie Els (25), Jim Furyk (23), Steve Stricker (20), Tiger Woods (19), Sergio Garcia (18), Adam Scott (16), Matt Kuchar (15), Paul Casey (14) and Zach Johnson (14).

ACTIVE CONSECUTIVE U.S. OPEN APPEARANCES (2017 included): Ernie Els (25), Jim Furyk (22), Adam Scott (16), Sergio Garcia (18), Zach Johnson (14), Dustin Johnson (10), Martin Kaymer (10) and Matt Kuchar (10).

TITLE DEFENSE

Since 1991, five champions have finished better than 15th in trying to defend their U.S. Open crowns. Tiger Woods tied for sixth in 2009 after capturing his third Open title at Torrey Pines the previous year. Woods also tied for 12th in 2001 after winning his first U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Retief Goosen tied for 11th in 2005 following his second U.S. Open championship victory, at Shinnecock Hills. Graeme McDowell tied for 14th the year after winning the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Justin Rose tied for 12th in 2014 following his victory at Merion Golf Club in 2013. Eight champions missed the cut the next year during this period, including Dustin Johnson in 2017.

WHAT THE WINNER RECEIVES

Among the benefits enjoyed by the U.S. Open winner are:

  • A U.S. Open exemption for the next 10 years
  • An invitation to the next five Masters Tournaments
  • An invitation to the next five Open Championships, conducted by The R&A
  • An invitation to the next five PGA Championships
  • An invitation to the next five Players Championships
  • Exempt status on the PGA Tour for five years            

QUALIFYING FOR THE OTHER MAJORS
The top 10 finishers (and ties) are exempt for the following year’s U.S. Open. The top four finishers (and ties) are invited to next year’s Masters Tournament.

HISTORY

This is the 118th U.S. Open Championship. The U.S. Open, which was first played in 1895, was not contested for two years (1917-1918) during World War I and for four years (1942-1945) during World War II. The youngest winner of the U.S. Open is 19-year-old John McDermott, who won in 1911; he is among nine players age 21 or younger who have won the U.S. Open. The oldest winner is Hale Irwin, who was 45 and playing on a special exemption when he won his third U.S. Open title in 1990. Irwin also won in 1974 and 1979.

There are four four-time U.S. Open winners: Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905), amateur Bob Jones (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930), Ben Hogan (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953), and Jack Nicklaus (1962, 1967, 1972, 1980).

Only six players have won the Masters and U.S. Open titles in the same year: Craig Wood (1941), Ben Hogan (1951, 1953), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus (1972), Tiger Woods (2002) and Jordan Spieth (2015).

PURSE

The 2017 purse was $12 million; the winner earned $2.16 million.

SHINNECOCK HILLS NOTES

►Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is the lone course to have hosted the U.S. Open in three different centuries

►Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, founded in 1891, is the oldest incorporated golf club in the United States

►Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is one of the five founding member clubs of the USGA, which was established in 1894 and conducted its first championships in 1895

►In 1896, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club hosted the second U.S. Open (35 total players) and second U.S. Amateur (58 total players)

►In 1995, the Centennial U.S. Open was played at Shinnecock Hills and won by Corey Pavin

►The 118th U.S. Open is the ninth USGA championship to be conducted at the club

►The 2018 U.S. Open will be the 10th played on Long Island and fifth at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

►Shinnecock Hills Golf Club will also host the 2026 U.S. Open

USGA CHAMPIONSHIPS AT SHINNECOCK HILLS

1896 U.S. Amateur: H.J. Whigham d. J.G. Thorp, 8 and 7

1896 U.S. Open: James Foulis by three strokes over Horace Rawlins, 152-155

1900 U.S. Women’s Amateur: Frances C. Griscom d. Margaret Curtis, 6 and 5

1967 U.S. Senior Amateur: Ray Palmer d. Walter D. Bronson, 3 and 2

1977 Walker Cup Match: USA d. Great Britain & Ireland, 16-8

1986 U.S. Open: Raymond Floyd by two strokes over Lanny Wadkins, Chip Beck, 279-281

1995 U.S. Open: Corey Pavin by two strokes over Greg Norman, 280-282

2004 U.S. Open: Retief Goosen by two strokes over Phil Mickelson, 276-278

U.S. OPENS ON LONG ISLAND (champion in parenthesis)

1896 U.S. Open, Shinnecock Hills G.C., Southampton, N.Y. (James Foulis)

1902 U.S. Open, Garden City (N.Y.) G.C. (Laurence Auchterlonie)

1923 U.S. Open, Inwood (N.Y.) C.C. (a-Robert T. Jones Jr.)

1932 U.S. Open, Fresh Meadow C.C., Flushing, N.Y. (Gene Sarazen)

1986 U.S. Open, Shinnecock Hills G.C., Southampton, N.Y. (Raymond Floyd)

1995 U.S. Open, Shinnecock Hills G.C., Southampton, N.Y. (Corey Pavin)

2004 U.S. Open, Shinnecock Hills G.C., Southampton, N.Y. (Retief Goosen)

2002 U.S. Open, Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Farmingdale, N.Y. (Tiger Woods)

2009 U.S. Open, Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Farmingdale, N.Y. (Lucas Glover)

MOST USGA CHAMPIONSHIPS HOSTED BY A CLUB (through 2017 season)

18          Merion G.C., Ardmore, Pa.

16          The Country Club, Brookline, Mass.

16          Oakmont (Pa.) C.C.

15           Baltusrol G.C., Springfield, N.J.

12           Winged Foot G.C., Mamaroneck, N.Y.

11           Chicago G.C., Wheaton, Ill.

11           Oakland Hills C.C., Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

11           Pebble Beach (Calif.) G.L.

10          The Olympic Club, San Francisco, Calif.

9            Cherry Hills C.C., Cherry Hills Village, Colo

9            Southern Hills C.C., Tulsa, Okla.

9            Pinehurst R. & C.C., Village of Pinehurst, N.C.

8            Hazeltine National G.C., Chaska, Minn.

8            The Homestead, Hot Springs, Va.

8            Prairie Dunes C.C., Hutchinson, Kan.

8            Sea Island G.C., St. Simons Island, Ga.

8            Shinnecock Hills G.C., Southampton, N.Y.

2018 U.S. Open Players Who Competed in 2004 U.S. Open (20 as of June 7): Eric Axley (MC), Aaron Baddeley (MC), Paul Casey (MC), Ernie Els (T-9), Jim Furyk (T-48), Sergio Garcia (T-20), Brian Gay (MC), Bill Haas (T-40), Charles Howell (T-36), Zach Johnson (T-48), Phil Mickelson (2), Pat Perez (T-40), Kenny Perry (MC), Ian Poulter (MC), Chez Reavie (T-62), Justin Rose (MC), Adam Scott (MC), Steve Stricker (MC), Bubba Watson (MC), Tiger Woods (T-17).

2018 U.S. Open Players Who Competed in 1995 U.S. Open (5 as of June 7): Ernie Els (MC), Phil Mickelson (T-4), Kenny Perry (MC), Steve Stricker (T-13), Tiger Woods (WD).

FUTURE U.S. OPENS               

June 13-16, 2019: Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links

June 18-21, 2020: Winged Foot Golf Club (West Course), Mamaroneck, N.Y.

June 17-20, 2021: Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course), San Diego, Calif.

June 16-19, 2022: The Country Club, Brookline, Mass.

June 15-18, 2023: Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club (North Course)

June 13-16, 2024: Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Village of Pinehurst, N.C.

June 12-15, 2025: Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club

June 18-21, 2026: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y.

June 17-20, 2027: Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links

LONGEST U.S. OPEN COURSES

7,845 yards, Erin Hills, first round, Erin, Wis., 2017

7,839 yards, Erin Hills, second round, Erin, Wis., 2017
7,818 yards, Erin Hills, third round, Erin, Wis., 2017

7,721 yards, Erin Hills, fourth round, Erin, Wis., 2017

7,695 yards, Chambers Bay, second round, University Place, Wash., 2015

7,637 yards, Chambers Bay, third round, University Place, Wash., 2015

7,603 yards, Torrey Pines G.C. (South Course), second round, San Diego, Calif., 2008

7,514 yards, Congressional C.C. (Blue Course), first round, Bethesda, Md., 2011

7,497 yards, Chambers Bay, first round, University Place, Wash., 2015

7,476 yards, Torrey Pines G.C. (South Course), first round, San Diego, Calif., 2008

LONGEST PAR 3s IN U.S. OPEN HISTORY

300 yards, 8th, fourth round, Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2007

299 yards, 8th, fourth round, Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2016

281 yards, 8th, second round, Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2007

281 yards, 8th, second round, Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2016

279 yards, 8th, third round, Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2007

266 yards, 3rd, fourth round, Merion G.C. (East Course), Ardmore, Pa., 2013

261 yards, 8th, first round, Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2007

258 yards, 8th, first round, Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2016

256 yards, 3rd, third round, The Olympic Club (Lake Course), San Francisco, Calif., 2012

254 yards, 17th, third round, Merion G.C. (East Course), Ardmore, Pa., 2013

LONGEST PAR 4s IN U.S. OPEN HISTORY

551 yards, 13th, second round, Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash., 2015

544 yards, 11th, second round, Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash., 2015

542 yards, 4th, third round, Pinehurst R. & C.C. (Course No. 2), Village of Pinehurst, N.C., 2014

541 yards, 11th, first round, Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash., 2015

541 yards, 11th, fourth round, Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash., 2015

534 yards, 14th, third round, Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash., 2015

533 yards, 13th, third round, Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash., 2015

530 yards, 11th, third round, Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash., 2015

528 yards, 4th, fourth round, Pinehurst R. & C.C. (Course No. 2), Village of Pinehurst, N.C., 2014

528 yards, 14th, first round, Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash., 2015

LONGEST PAR 5s IN U.S. OPEN HISTORY

684 yards, 12th, first round, Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2016

681 yards, 18th, fourth round, Erin Hills, Erin, Wis., 2017

676 yards, 18th, second round, Erin Hills, Erin, Wis., 2017

674 yards, 12th, third round, Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2016

671 yards, 16th, third round, The Olympic Club (Lake Course), San Francisco, Calif., 2012

667 yards, 12th, first round, Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2007

667 yards, 12th, second round, at Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2007

667 yards, 12th, fourth round, Oakmont (Pa.) C.C., 2007

667 yards, 18th, third round, Erin Hills, Erin, Wis., 2017

660 yards, 16th, first round, The Olympic Club (Lake Course), San Francisco, Calif., 2012

THE LAST TIME IT HAPPENED AT THE U.S. OPEN

Martin Kaymer: last international winner (2014)

Curtis Strange: last to defend title (1989)

Francis Ouimet: last winner in his first attempt (1913)

Webb Simpson: last winner in his second attempt (2012)

Martin Kaymer: last start-to-finish winner with no ties (2014)

Jordan Spieth.: last winner to birdie the 72nd hole to win by one stroke (2015)

Dustin Johnson: last winner to birdie the 72nd hole (2016)

Tiger Woods: last winner to birdie the 72nd hole to force a playoff (2008)

Geoff Ogilvy: last winner without a round in the 60s (2006)

Rory McIlroy: last winner with all rounds in the 60s (2011)

Brooks Koepka: last winner between ages 20-29 (27 in 2017)

Dustin Johnson: last winner between ages 30-39 (31 in 2016)

Payne Stewart: last winner age 40 and higher (42 in 1999)

Dustin Johnson: last defending champion to miss the cut (2017)

Hale Irwin: last winner who received a special exemption (1990)

Lucas Glover: last winner to come through sectional qualifying (2009)

Orville Moody: last winner to come through local and sectional qualifying (1969)

John Goodman: last amateur winner (1933)

TELEVISION COVERAGE

The U.S. Open will receive more than 45 hours of network coverage on Fox and FS1. The “Epics” film series will be part of U.S. Open coverage. “Tiger and Rocco” features the dramatic Monday playoff between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate to determine the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Beginning in 2018, Rolex will be the exclusive presenting partner of coverage for eight USGA championships, including the final hour of Sunday’s U.S. Open coverage. Rolex’s commitment will allow an uninterrupted broadcast of these championships.

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