It’s U.S. Open Week!

The 116th United States Open Championship will be held this week from June 16–19 at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.

U.S. Open Trophy

Television coverage: (All times Eastern)

June 16: First round, FS1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fox, 5-8 p.m.

June 17: Second round, FS1, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

June 18: Third round, Fox, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

June 19: Final round, Fox, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

June 20: Playoff (if necessary), Fox, noon to conclusion (18 holes)

 

As one of the world’s most anticipated tournaments many are placing their bets for this year’s winner, and at such an unforgiving course such as Oakmont there is a lot to consider when making your prediction for Sunday’s champion.

Here is some key insight into a few of the top players in this week’s field you may not want to overlook:

World No. 1 Jason Day has had seven tournament wins this past year. However, you may not want to forget that it was at last year’s U.S. Open where he suffered spells of vertigo after leading the field 54 holes in.  After an unfortunate collapse on the 9th hole during round 2 at Chambers Bay, and the condition again impacting him during round 3 on Saturday, Day ultimately fell out of the lead but still managed a top 10 finish with a final place of T9.

Defending Champion Jordan Spieth

We already know many will be pulling for Jordan Spieth, after all he has finished in the top 5 in his last five major starts. He is also the Open’s defending champion with his win last year marking  him the youngest man to win both the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year. Additionally, I think we all would be happy to see him rebound from his Masters collapse last April.  

Fan-favorite Phil Mickelson has had six runner-up finishes at this tournament but has never won. Mickelson even acknowledged this after finishing second at the FedEx St. Jude Classic on Sunday stating, "It almost feels like U.S. Open came a week early to finish another second place". He turns 46 today during round one. The last tournament win he needs to complete a Grand Slam would sure be an awesome birthday gift.

There is definitely no shortage of talent in this week’s field and it will certainly be an exciting week to watch the players compete for the win. The champion though will receive much more than just another U.S. Open Trophy, but with this tournament’s countless unforgettable moments it will also be a chance for a new story to be written in golf history.

Some of my favorites include:

2008 at Torrey Pines when my (and the rest of the world’s) then idol Tiger Woods holed an amazing birdie putt on the 72nd hole to tie veteran Rocco Mediate and force an additional 18-hole playoff was definitely a memorable moment. Viewers watched anxiously as the pair played until the 90th hole as admirable Woods limped through the tournament with an injured knee yet still was able to pull off a miraculous win.

Payne Stewart Satue

And who could forget arguably the most remarkable U.S. Open moment in 1999 at Pinehurst? One of the most heartwarming tales in the history of the sport was when underdog Payne Stewart held a one-shot lead over Phil Mickelson into the final hole of the tournament. Phil, whose phenomenal career was just on the brink of taking off, wore a beeper the entire round in case his wife Amy went into labor with their first child (Amanda was born the next day). On number 18 Stewart hit a poor tee shot and layed his second shot up leaving him a 15-footer to avoid a playoff and more importantly gain the win. He stroked it perfectly and the ball disappeared into the bottom of the cup. Payne’s second U.S. Open title however preceded tragedy as he died in a plane crash just a few months later. A bronze statue of Stewart celebrating his winning putt at Pinehurst No.2 Course overlooks its 18th green still today.

 


Jennel Alexander

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