US Open heads to Boston amid revolutionary battle in golf


By DOUG FERGUSON - AP Golf Writer



FILE - Jon Rahm, of Spain, kisses the champions trophy for photographers after the final round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Sunday, June 20, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. Golf has been moving toward youth for some time now, and the recent majors are an example. The last four major champions are in their 20s, dating to defending U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm, who was 26 when he won at Torrey Pines last year. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

FILE - Jon Rahm, of Spain, kisses the champions trophy for photographers after the final round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Sunday, June 20, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. Golf has been moving toward youth for some time now, and the recent majors are an example. The last four major champions are in their 20s, dating to defending U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm, who was 26 when he won at Torrey Pines last year. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)


FILE - The clubhouse at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. is shown Sept. 23, 1997. The U.S. Open returns to its roots at The Country Club, a location steeped in history. (Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via AP, File)


Phil Mickelson of the United States watches the flight of his ball after playing off the 4th tee during the first round of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club in St. Albans, England, Thursday, June 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)


US Open Facts, Figures

BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) — Facts and figures for the 122nd U.S. Open golf championship:

Dates: June 16-19.

Site: The Country Club.

Length: 7,264 yards.

Par: 70.

Cut: Top 60 and ties.

Playoff (if necessary): Two-hole aggregate immediately after 72 holes are completed.

Field: 156 players (15 amateurs).

Purse: TBA. Last year: $12.5 million.

Defending champion: Jon Rahm.

Last year: Jon Rahm won his first major at Torrey Pines and became the first player to birdie the last two holes to win by the U.S. Open by one shot. He was one shot behind when he made birdie putts of 25 feet on the 17th and 18 feet on the final hole. The victory came two weeks after Rahm had a six-shot lead through 54 holes at the Memorial and had to withdraw because of a positive COVID-19 test. Louis Oosthuizen, who drove into a canyon on the 17th hole and made bogey, was runner-up for the sixth time in a major.

Last U.S. Open at The Country Club: Curtis Strange won the first of back-to-back U.S. Open titles by beating Nick Faldo in a playoff in 1988.

Last big event at The Country Club: Justin Leonard made a 45-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole and the Americans rallied from a 10-6 deficit to win the 1999 Ryder Cup over Europe.

U.S. Open champions at The Country Club: Curtis Strange (1988), Julius Boros (1963), Francis Ouimet (1913).

Tiger tales: Tiger Woods has decided not to play this year to rest his injured right leg. He has missed five of the last 10 U.S. Opens.

Grand slam: Phil Mickelson needs to win the U.S. Open for the career Grand Slam. In his previous seven tries at the career slam, he has not finished in the top 25.

Saudi implications: Former U.S. Open champions Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer, Mickelson and Sergio Garcia are among 12 players in the U.S. Open who were in England the previous week for the inaugural Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational.

Key statistic: Players in their 20s have won five of the last six majors. The exception was Phil Mickelson (50) at the PGA Championship last year.

Noteworthy: The U.S. Open has not been decided in a playoff since 2008, the longest stretch of the four majors. The three previous U.S. Opens at Brookline were all decided by a playoff.

Quoteworthy: “The salvaging of rounds, the grind and the patience, it’s truly a week you have to be in it or the golf course will overtake you.” — Justin Thomas on the U.S. Open.

Television (all times EDT): Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (USA Network), 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (NBC), 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (USA Network); Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (USA Network), 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (NBC); Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. (NBC); Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. (NBC).

Streaming: (all times EDT): Thursday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Peacock); Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to noon (Peacock).

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More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The U.S. Open returns to its roots at The Country Club, a location steeped in history.

It is one of the five founding clubs of the U.S. Golf Association. Its first U.S. Open in 1913 is what first put golf on the front pages of American newspapers when 20-year-old amateur Francis Ouimet took down a pair of British titans.

Beyond the ropes, it’s worth nothing the Boston area was the birthplace of the Revolutionary War, only fitting for these times.

That’s what it feels like golf is going through at the moment.

More than a dozen PGA Tour players, a few big names that include a trio of U.S. Open champions, are defecting to a Saudi-funded rival league and the PGA Tour is telling them they are no longer welcome. The battle lines are unlike anything this genteel game has experienced in its 162-year history.

And it’s enough to steal some of the attention away from the U.S. Open, the second-oldest championship known as the toughest test in golf.

“It’s a weird time in professional golf,” Rory McIlroy said. “And I said it a couple weeks ago, we’re just going to see how this season plays out.”

The U.S. Open is in Brookline, Massachusetts, for the fourth time on June 16-19, and it already features a few subplots that could be considered surprising.

Tiger Woods will be sitting this one out.

After making the cut in the Masters and the PGA Championship, Woods decided his right leg that was battered from a February 2021 car crash needs more time to heal and strengthen. He wants to be ready for the British Open next month at St. Andrews.

Phil Mickelson will be playing a major for the first time this year.

Lefty was recovering from a foot-in-mouth injury from published comments about the Saudi league that managed to offend both sides. He said he wasn’t ready to play the Masters or the PGA Championship, making his return at the LIV Golf Invitational outside London.

The USGA takes the name of its championship —“Open” — seriously enough to honor any player who earned his way into the field.

“Should a player who had earned his way into the 2022 U.S. Open, via our published field criteria, be pulled out of the field as a result of his decision to play in another event? And we ultimately decided that they should not,” the USGA said in a statement.

Fourteen players who qualified for the Open were in the first LIV Golf event, a group that includes past champions Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell.

Mickelson, most famously, never has won the U.S. Open. Imagine if he were to finally win the major that has haunted him throughout his career, those record six runner-up finishes keeping him from the career Grand Slam.

“I don’t know how others will receive it but I would be quite favorable with it,” Mickelson said.

How others would perceive it is to be determined. For years among the most popular figures in golf, Mickelson has been viewed as the chief recruiter for Greg Norman and his LIV Golf series that has paid enormous sums just for players to sign up.

Mickelson would know from experience how passionate a Boston crowd can be.

He is among three players in the U.S. Open — Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk are the others — who were part of the Ryder Cup in 1999 known as the “Battle at Brookline.” The Americans rallied from a 10-6 deficit before a crowd that gave Europe an earful. Colin Montgomerie was called either “Mrs. Doubtfire” or “Tuna” because of his vague resemblance to former New England Patriots coach Bill Parcells.

It will be Mickelson’s first time playing on American soil since Jan. 28 when he missed the cut at Torrey Pines, and the reception could be far different from 2007 when he won the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston.

“Northeast fans are passionate and vocal,” Justin Thomas said. “Stuff you wouldn’t hear at Memphis or Greensboro, you’re going to hear it in Boston. I remember playing with Tiger at Shinnecock and people were yelling at him about his yacht.”

As for that pursuit of the career slam, Mickelson has had seven cracks at the U.S. Open since he picked up the third leg at Muirfield in the 2013 British Open. He has yet to finish among the top 25 in any of them, and turning 52 on the day of the opening round isn’t making it any easier.

Golf has been moving toward youth for some time now, and the recent majors are an example. The last four major champions are in their 20s, dating to defending U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm, who was 26 when he won at Torrey Pines last year.

Eight of the top 10 players in the world ranking are under 30, with the exceptions 30-year-old Patrick Cantlay (No. 3) and 33-year-old McIlroy (No. 7).

Young and old, major champions and amateur qualifiers, all face a test that is expected to be a traditional U.S. Open with thick, dense rough, narrow fairways, firm greens and no shortage of aggravation.

“A war of attrition,” McIlroy said.

He won his U.S. Open on a rain-softened course at Congressional, setting the 72-hole scoring record at 268 for an eight-shot victory. He has missed four U.S. Open cuts since then, but has three straight finishes in the top 10.

“I feel I’ve become better over the years,” McIlroy said of the U.S. Open grind. “It was something I hated earlier on in my career. My first real U.S. Open was Pebble Beach (2010) and I missed the cut by miles. The U.S. Open more times than not doesn’t let you be creative because it doesn’t give you a chance.”

The last U.S. Open at Brookline was in 1988, won by Curtis Strange. Only two players from the top 20 in the world (Billy Horschel and Johnson) were even born then. But if they don’t know The Country Club, most are plenty familiar with the test that awaits.

“A U.S. Open golf course not only tests you physically but mentally,” said Furyk, who will be playing it for the 26th time and won in 2003. “It’s real easy to break in that event.”

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More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

FILE – Jon Rahm, of Spain, kisses the champions trophy for photographers after the final round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Sunday, June 20, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. Golf has been moving toward youth for some time now, and the recent majors are an example. The last four major champions are in their 20s, dating to defending U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm, who was 26 when he won at Torrey Pines last year. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/06/web1_129043405-6a4fb5384e644ceb9a10a52b92ee4c63.jpgFILE – Jon Rahm, of Spain, kisses the champions trophy for photographers after the final round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Sunday, June 20, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. Golf has been moving toward youth for some time now, and the recent majors are an example. The last four major champions are in their 20s, dating to defending U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm, who was 26 when he won at Torrey Pines last year. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

FILE – The clubhouse at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. is shown Sept. 23, 1997. The U.S. Open returns to its roots at The Country Club, a location steeped in history. (Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via AP, File)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/06/web1_129043405-e14aea476bc448dfbc5c9bacbdc13d95.jpgFILE – The clubhouse at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. is shown Sept. 23, 1997. The U.S. Open returns to its roots at The Country Club, a location steeped in history. (Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via AP, File)

Phil Mickelson of the United States watches the flight of his ball after playing off the 4th tee during the first round of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club in St. Albans, England, Thursday, June 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/06/web1_129043405-e4b34198589d4a4db5da8a6f49899e5b.jpgPhil Mickelson of the United States watches the flight of his ball after playing off the 4th tee during the first round of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club in St. Albans, England, Thursday, June 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

By DOUG FERGUSON

AP Golf Writer

US Open Facts, Figures

BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) — Facts and figures for the 122nd U.S. Open golf championship:

Dates: June 16-19.

Site: The Country Club.

Length: 7,264 yards.

Par: 70.

Cut: Top 60 and ties.

Playoff (if necessary): Two-hole aggregate immediately after 72 holes are completed.

Field: 156 players (15 amateurs).

Purse: TBA. Last year: $12.5 million.

Defending champion: Jon Rahm.

Last year: Jon Rahm won his first major at Torrey Pines and became the first player to birdie the last two holes to win by the U.S. Open by one shot. He was one shot behind when he made birdie putts of 25 feet on the 17th and 18 feet on the final hole. The victory came two weeks after Rahm had a six-shot lead through 54 holes at the Memorial and had to withdraw because of a positive COVID-19 test. Louis Oosthuizen, who drove into a canyon on the 17th hole and made bogey, was runner-up for the sixth time in a major.

Last U.S. Open at The Country Club: Curtis Strange won the first of back-to-back U.S. Open titles by beating Nick Faldo in a playoff in 1988.

Last big event at The Country Club: Justin Leonard made a 45-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole and the Americans rallied from a 10-6 deficit to win the 1999 Ryder Cup over Europe.

U.S. Open champions at The Country Club: Curtis Strange (1988), Julius Boros (1963), Francis Ouimet (1913).

Tiger tales: Tiger Woods has decided not to play this year to rest his injured right leg. He has missed five of the last 10 U.S. Opens.

Grand slam: Phil Mickelson needs to win the U.S. Open for the career Grand Slam. In his previous seven tries at the career slam, he has not finished in the top 25.

Saudi implications: Former U.S. Open champions Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer, Mickelson and Sergio Garcia are among 12 players in the U.S. Open who were in England the previous week for the inaugural Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational.

Key statistic: Players in their 20s have won five of the last six majors. The exception was Phil Mickelson (50) at the PGA Championship last year.

Noteworthy: The U.S. Open has not been decided in a playoff since 2008, the longest stretch of the four majors. The three previous U.S. Opens at Brookline were all decided by a playoff.

Quoteworthy: “The salvaging of rounds, the grind and the patience, it’s truly a week you have to be in it or the golf course will overtake you.” — Justin Thomas on the U.S. Open.

Television (all times EDT): Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (USA Network), 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (NBC), 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (USA Network); Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (USA Network), 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (NBC); Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. (NBC); Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. (NBC).

Streaming: (all times EDT): Thursday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Peacock); Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to noon (Peacock).

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More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports