Often referred to as the hardest championship amongst the golfing Majors, the United States Open is perhaps the truest test of true mettle and patience. The 124th edition returns to Shinnecock Hills, on Long Island, New York, after a gap of fourteen years. South African Retief Goosen was crowned champion here in 2004 when he overcame a determined Phil Mickelson to lift the sterling silver trophy for the second time. It was also the site of the famous David and Goliath like battle between Corey Pavin and Greg Norman where the former prevailed by two shots after a brilliant approach shot on the last hole.
Shinnecock Hills is an original member of the USGA and hosts the US Open for the fifth time. This year it is set up in the usual US Open style with thick rough lining up the narrow fairways on this 7445 yard par-70 Willie Davis design. The course also boasts of having the oldest clubhouse in the Unites States and was also the first club to allow lady members on its premises.
The championship has also inspired many a Hollywood film like Kevin Costner’s Tin Cup and Disney’s The Greatest Game Ever Played. Tin Cup is a story of a struggling former golf pro, who makes a stunning comeback in the US Open only to dramatically throw it all away on the last hole. Many top PGA Tour stars like Fred Couples, Corey Pavin and Peter Jacobsen made guest appearances in the movie. The role of young amateur champion Francis Ouimet, who won in 1913 at Brookline, is played to perfection by Shia La Beauf in The Greatest Game. Ouimet overcame legends like Harry Vardon and Ted Ray to lift the trophy. The youngest winner, however, was John McDermott in 1911 who was all of nineteen years and ten months!
Defending champion Brooks Koepka will be in the field along with three-time US Open Champion Tiger Woods. Tiger will be hoping to challenge for the title as his form seems to have returned as he continues his pursuit of the Jack Nicklaus’ record of eighteen major championships.
The hopes of our nation rest on the young shoulders of Shubhanker Sharma who has had a phenomenal year already and is riding on a string of strong performances on the PGA Tour. He teed off at 5.54 PM IST along with Thorbjørn Olesen and Patrick Rodgers, and is at 1 Over through 9 holes as we write. Justin Rose just rescued par with a great shot from the sand on the 13th.
We look forward to the action through the weekend!