One of golf’s best majors, the U.S. Open, is here, but it is certainly being overshadowed by bigger golf news. LIV golf, a Saudi-Arabian backed league, is poaching many big names from the PGA. While LIV players who qualified for the 2022 U.S. Open might be able to play this weekend, the long-term ramifications are still to be determined.
So far Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, and Ian Poulter are among some of the big names that have left for LIV. There could be more on the way with reports that Rickie Fowler, Matthew Wolf, and Pat Perez could leave the Tour as well.
So, what does this mean for the U.S. Open? Well, there will be a lot of distractions. The PGA has announced that they are suspending all players that have decided to play in LIV. Some of them have resigned their tour cards while others like Mickelson say they will still compete in Majors. The issue is that the PGA can bar him from doing just that and a legal fight could very well ensue.
As excited as I am for this golf major, there are still many things that are unknown as to who will be playing in it and what reception they may receive from fans who feel like this is pulling the sport apart.
All of that is the unknown. However, there are plenty of things that we do know, and we can discuss that. For starters, this U.S. Open will be played at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. The course has hosted three U.S. Opens prior to this year, with the last coming in 1988 when Curtis Strange took home the trophy. He won $180,000 that year while this year’s winner will receive over $2.2 million.
Whoever wins is going to need to hit fairways off the tee with consistency and be around the green in two shots. The course in Brookline is no joke, playing as one of the tougher on the U.S. Open circuit. There are talks of the bunkers being one of the most difficult aspects of the course this year, with greenskeepers taking pride in higher scores at major tournaments.
Heading into the weekend, the betting favorite is Scottie Scheffler at 11-1. He is the hottest golfer on the planet, recently winning the Masters Tournament along with three other wins in 2022. He finished second just a few weeks ago at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Scheffler’s highest finish in the U.S. Open is T-7 which he recorded in 2021.
A popular pick to bring home the trophy is Jon Rahm, the defending champion from last year’s U.S. Open, his only Major win. Rahm had scuffled early in the year, but he did get a win at the Mexico Open at the beginning of May. He is the second betting favorite in the tournament.
Many of golf’s biggest stars will still be on display in Massachusetts, but there is no doubt that much of the talk for the 2022 U.S. Open will still revolve around the ones who aren’t there.