The year’s 3rd major kicks off this week, June 13-16, at the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links. You won’t find a stronger field as golf’s greats look for glory, with the likes of Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson all looking for the win. However, most eyes will be on Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka. Koepka is looking to become a 3 time consecutive winner for the first time since Willie Anderson in a run from 1903-1905. And with Koepka winning 4 of the last 8 majors, he has proved that he is always a contender. On the other hand, Mickelson has finished 2nd at a record 6 U.S. Opens and needs this win to complete his career grand slam. Mickelson will take heart from his 5 PGA Tour wins at Pebble Beach, including this year’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Fans everywhere will be watching to see if “Lefty” can finally overcome his U.S. Open hoodoo.
The U.S. Open is the second oldest major championship after the British Open, founded by the United States Golfers Association (USGA) in 1895. The first tournament was played at the 9-hole Newport Country Club in Rhode Island, where only 11 golfers contested the single day stroke play event. In the end, it was Newport’s local pro, the Englishman Horace Rawlins, who etched his name in the history books as the first U.S. Open champion. British golfers, buoyed by their country’s longer golfing traditions, dominated the early Opens, and an American wouldn’t win until 1911. The 1911 U.S. Open would end with American John McDermott winning an 18-hole playoff to claim the title. McDermott was a bit of a prodigy, and his 1911 win as a 19 year old makes him the youngest U.S. Open champion.
The tournament has seen many notable moments, including the 1933 victory by insurance salesman John Goodman. Goodman is the last amateur to win a major championship, a record unlikely ever to be beaten. The tournament has been won by many of the game’s greatest players, including Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. More recent champions include Tom Watson, Curtis Strange, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson.
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Long considered one of (if not the) best public courses in the world, Pebble Beach celebrates its 100th year by hosting the U.S. Open. The original course was designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant and hugs the rocky coastline of California’s Monterey Peninsula. The course has been extended and updated a few times in its history, most recently in a 2016 renovation by Thad Layton and Arnold Palmer. Pebble Beach has hosted PGA Tour events since the 1940s, notably the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am that has occurred annually since 1947. The course has also hosted the U.S. Open 5 times in the past and is slated to host for the 7th time in 2027. The course has been altered by the USGA to provide a sterner test, as is usual for the U.S. Open. In fact, the U.S. Open has become infamous in creating courses that have the world’s best professionals struggling for par. This is achieved by shortening the grass on the greens while reducing their size to create abnormally small and fast greens, as well as narrowing fairways and allowing much longer rough than is typically seen on the PGA Tour. The rough is sometimes referred to as “Open rough”, often with a note of irritation from golfers. The result is the sternest test of golf seen on the PGA Tour.
With tickets to the tournament rounds sold out, most fans will be catching the tournament on television courtesy of FOX Sports 1 and FOX. The first two rounds are available Thursday and Friday starting 12:30-7:30pm ET on FOX Sports 1 before switching to FOX from 7:30-10:30pm ET. Saturday coverage will be from noon-10pm ET on FOX while Sunday coverage is 2-10pm ET on FOX. Radio coverage is available on both PGA Tour Radio and FOX Sports on SiriusXM. Live streaming of the tournament is being provided by USGA of featured groups and holes at this link.